Why I want to be called Pauline
Well, I would have gone back to about a month before my birth, and made my mum change her mind about changing her mind about my name.
I was going to be called Pauline and not Fran until just before I was born. Then she reconsidered.
Why would I rather be called Pauline?
1. My husband is called Paul. I wanted us to be Paul and Pauline, or Pauline and Paul. So, whenever people phoned, I could have pretended I didn't understand who they wanted. And when they asked me, 'Is Paul in?' I could have said, 'Is Pauline what? What are you trying to say?' And when they asked Paul, 'Is Pauline in?' he could have said, 'Since when did you develop a stutter?' I know this all seems very banal, but one is so in need of entertainment when one's normal evening activities include a game called 'Let's Listen to Classic FM and Pretend to be Octagenarians'.
2. If called Pauline, I would have had great fun looking for husbands with more interesting surnames such as Yourweight, Yourleg, Asillyface or Amuscleinyourthigh. How cool would that be?
3. I would have had more days off work pretending to have arthritis in my leg joints, just so I could get my husband to phone up for me and say 'Pauline's poorly knee'. It has such a RING to it.
4. I could have revelled in the fact that, in conversations with my female friends in which we're all complaining about our husbands, people could say to me, 'But that's appalling of Paul, Pauline' and I could have said, 'Oh, that's such a comfort! Please say it again. And again.' And they would feel they had to, because I seemed distressed. (If any of my friends was one of those frothy people who collect spittle at the lips, I may not have tried this out with her.)
5. I would have had the option to keep changing my mind about how I wanted my name pronounced and stressed (not a current option, except for a couple of people in the South of England who have always called me Frarn, not being able to cope with the flat a). One day I could have been PauLINE, saying the 'p' very quickly and holding on to the LEEEEEEEN bit. This sounds a little Continental in style, and would have been handy for sounding elegant on fat days. Another day I could have said PAULine, with the emphasis on the first syllable. This would have been useful when I was cross, as it sounds more authoritative. ('This is PAULine ringing. I have a BONE to pick with YOU.' If I was using PaulINE that day, it wouldn't have done as well at all. 'This is PauLINE ringing. I ... er ... I ... well .... okay, let's forget it.')
6. I would rather have had two syllables than one. My surname is only one syllable, too, so HOW BORING IS THAT? My name is done with very quickly and although I wouldn't want to go so far as Rachmaninov or Potherington-Smythe, it's not good for one's spirits to know that, when people are discussing you, you can be got over with in a couple of beats so they can move on to someone else. Even if I were called, 'Pauline Potherington', for example, they would have to dwell on me for a good few seconds and then in that time something nice might occur to them to say, like, 'Now we're talking about her, don't you think she looks fantastic for her age?' With only two syllables in my whole name, they can just say, 'Oh. Her.' and move on.
And now I'll move on, and let you get on with doing something worthwhile, rather than reading this guff.