Why I want to be called Pauline

AbsurdOldBird has given me an award, and one of the things you have to do in order to take the award with a good conscience, is to explain what you'd change about your life if you could go back in time.

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.


  1. Totally with you Fran. I hate being called Anne... it is so abrupt. In fact our names are a bit like German commands.

    I always wanted to be a boy called Piers Torgan. Especially because it has comedy value if you say it quickly.

  2. Thanks for a bright spell in an otherwise dreary day. Or should I say, Ta Pauline?

  3. Well in spite of all that I much prefer Fran!

    My dad wanted to call me Janette. SO glad my mum wouldn't let him.

  4. Why don't you just add Pauline as a middle name? The all your ploblems would be solved!

  5. This post is a-pauline!

    I'm only sorry I didn't change my middle name to 'Trouble' when I was doing a Deed Poll change anyway!

  6. Or Petunia or Hermione or Catalina or Brunhilda .
    People would have a clear image of you before you'd even set foot in the door . Then , depending on the occasion , you could either play it to the hilt or surprise them .
    After all , why shouldn't a Brunhilda look at home in a hen night's getup , pink glittery teeshirt and furry bunny ears , clutching a Harvey Wallbanger and the nearest lampost ?

  7. Downside: some people "shorten" Pauline to Polly. Put the kettle on?

    'Nuff said.

  8. My daughter once stamped her foot at me for not calling her Alice, instead of Paula... You see the connection? LOL :)

  9. Thank you, I thought you'd never stop. So pauline your tummy and paulup your socks, Miss.

    Fran is not a name all on its own? Are you Fran-kenstein, by any chance, or
    Fran-cisca(n), Fran-kfurter,or how about Fran-kincense? Do let me know, otherwise I'll worry about it all evening, and then I'd miss Inspector Gently. You wouldn't want that on your conscience, would you?

  10. Too funny . . . I was just thankful not to marry someone with the last name Jelly! First and middle initials are K Y!!

  11. See I knew you'd be able to do this award justice!!

  12. Oh, but you must be really Frances? Frances Hill - time enough to think up a compliment, if only a brief one. My mum is called May Smith, which she doesn't approve of AT ALL for much the same reason of briefness as well as the commonness of Smith. Her maiden name, for which she still hankers after 64 years, was a decent Scottish bisyllabic one.

    Personally I would like to be called Isabelle, which I am, but only as a middle name. My first name goes well, I always thought as a child, with the surname Morton-Snorter. I have no idea from where I dreamed up this name. As you may have worked out, my maiden name was Smith, which I was happy to dispense with but not as happy as I would have been if it had been Morton-Snorter.

    Can you tell that I'm procrastinating? I really need to go and mark...

    Or I could sing you a little song. Tralala. Or would you like me to dance for you? No? Oh.

  13. LOL :)

    I kind of like Fran myself! :)

  14. Anne - I had to say it out loud, and then I realised!

    Martin - Ta Pauline indeed. Was the joke your real in tent?

    Karen - Janette is unusual. But you'd have been forever correcting people who wanted to call you Jeanette, surely.

    Alexandra - I think it's too late now. Having said that, it's not a bad idea. My middle name is Anne. It doesn't get any better ...

    Hm ... Broken Trouble Biro. Yep, it has a ring about it.

    SmitandSon - your image of Brunhilda was extremely visual and entertaining. Love the lamppost. Great touch.

    Steve - yes, please. Just a little milk. Oh, you mean ME?

    Jinksy - I do indeed. I do indeed.

    Friko - you guessed it. It's Frankenstein. Can you see why I wanted to be called Pauline?

    Dyche Designs - that was indeed a narrow escape.

    Val - thanks! All down to you. I wouldn't have thought of it if you hadn't inspired me with the idea.

    Isabelle - yes, you're right (but don't tell Friko - I've told her something different). But I haven't been Frances for donkey's years apart from to a very few relatives who persist. My only options there for silly names would have been meeting someone called OntheothersideoftheEnglishChannel and that's a bit limiting on the fun side of things.

    Jemi - That's kind. Thank you. I suppose you would, really, after being presented with all the silly things I would have done with Pauline.

  15. I rather like Fran myself, but this gave me quite a chuckle....All 4 of my Grandparents were named Frances or Francis....One grandmother went by Fran and it has a rather loving feel to me..

    Whereas Pauline was the girl who knocked a fly baseball into my eye in grade 1 and I have been nearly blind in that eye every since...

    Just my thoughts
    Thanks to Val for in the introduction!

  16. Fabulous! Can you imagine Paul and Pauline.

    I tell you, it's been hard being called Deborah. Although strangely, since I started writing, I find Deborah a better writer's name than 'Debbie.'


  17. Perhaps your mother was right Fran and thought you could never live up to the grand name of Pauline and also looked into the future and saw problems ahead when you married a Paul and opened each other's mail! By mistake of course.
    Regards P. Potherington-Smythe (Mrs)

  18. My my wanted to call me Zoe, so my Dad ran off and registered me as Jennifer before she was postnatally recovered enough to prevent it.

    I have married friends Nick and Nicky. Hours of fun? I'll let you decide.

  19. Appalling and Pauline have always gone together for me since my college days. Can't say why in case she sues.......
    Anna May x

  20. Piers Torgan? No, I give up. Do explain. I claim the handicap of a Scottish accent - is that why I don't understand? Or am I just dim?

  21. Hi Patricia! Nice to meet you. Thanks for coming over from Val's for a visit. Your story about the Pauline you knew made me laugh. That certainly wouldn't endear you to the name ...

    Deborah - Deborah sounds more like a novelist's name, that's for sure. And that's what you're going to be ...

    Linens and Royals ... never live up to the grand name of Pauline. I couldn't have put it better myself.

    Jenny - love that 'so my dad ran off and registered me as Jennifer'! I love the sound of your dad. A man of initiative!

    Anna May - do say, do say. Just between you and me, eh?

    Isabelle - it starts with Pierced. That's all I'm going to say. This is a family blog ....

  22. When I was about 12 (literally ages ago) I read a book called 'Merel bewaart een geheim', or it might have been one of the other 'Merel' books, and Merel had a best friend called Fran and she was the coolest girl. I then decided that should I ever have a daughter I'd call her Fran(cesca). Years later I decided to not have children. Fortunately for that Fran(cesca).
    But I still like the name Fran. So stop whining.

    Carolina (just one syllable too long)

  23. Carolina - I will stop. I promise. You sound very scary.


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