ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for January 15, 2008

IT’S ALL IN A NAME

It’s all in a name, or so they say, therefore you should be very careful when choosing names for your children, because, a bit like the expression, ‘be careful what you wish for because it might come true,’ the same applies to names, as people tend to live up to them.

Take me for instance, I am a prime example. My mother chose to call me Adrienne, because she hated nicknames and wrongly believed that my name could not be shortened – and look what happened. I used to make a joke about it and say, I don’t care what you call me as long as you don’t call me Ades – and now I still make a joke of it and say, well, I am only living up to my name, because not only can my Christian name be shortened to an anti-social disease, which I now have the misfortune to be on first name terms with, the Spanish word for AIDS is Sida – and my surname is Seed. Was someone trying to tell me something one wonders?

Although you can’t choose your surname, you can (and probably should) try to change it if at all possible if it has symptomatic connotations, to avoid the future pitfalls of trying to live up to it. Take Amy Winehouse for example, who knows, she may have turned out completely differently if her surname had been Greenhouse, in which case, instead of choosing the demon drink, she might have opted for tomatoes and not gone and dyed her hair blonde, which she definitely doesn’t suit.

If it’s true that people do live up to their names, then by rights, Stephen Fry should work in a chip shop, but then he must have some affiliation with the trade because he was on QI the other night talking about deep fried mars bars. According to Stephen Fry in regard to surnames, all the Nutters are found in Blackburn, the Willies in Taunton and the majority of Bottoms, as well as Swains (pronounced swines) in Huddersfield. I can personally vouch for this, as I once had the misfortune to be married to a man from Huddersfield and although he wasn’t called Swain, he should have been.

It is strange how surnames are often applicable, for instance, I was in Staples the other day getting some photocopies done and I fool you not, the man who served me, according to his name badge, was called Pamphlette – and this has to be more than mere coincidence, I was in Blackburn library today selecting some books and the man who checked them out for me was also called Pamphlette. Now either that Pamphlette chap puts it about a bit, or there is definite truth in the fact that it is all in a name. My cousin Barb, who is also renowned for her loud voice, works with a teacher called Mrs Laudun – try saying that with a Lancashire accent. Then there is that poor footballer called Waddle who hopefully doesn’t live up to his unfortunate surname on the pitch.

My first name has always given me problems, because back in those distant times when I was growing up, it was very unusual, if not unheard of, for a girl to be called Adrienne. Adrian was a boy’s name and as a rule a posh boy’s name, so everyone, unless they saw me of course, in which case hopefully they changed their minds, always thought I was a boy – or worse, a posh boy (as opposed to a posh spice) hence, when I joined a book club, I was sent, ‘Biggles the Pilot’ instead of, ‘In the Fifth at Mallory Towers’ – and I once rushed home from school with my girlfriends for my eagerly awaited birthday party, only to find my birthday cake surrounded by a blue ribbon and decorated with a row of skulking Red Indians, with in prime position, a cowboy in billowing chaps hurling a lasso.

I believe it is common practice for people to give their private parts pet names and I once had a boyfriend, who for some strange reason best known to himself, called his ‘Susan’. Maybe he was a staunch fan of Johnny Cash and had been listening to, ‘A boy named Sue’ and taken the message directly to his heart – or to his parts – or maybe he was just plain peculiar.

Does the same rule apply to places’ names one wonders, in which case best to avoid Lake Titicaca. My Spanish ‘partner’, who is called Luis, which always gets pronounced Louise in English, thus causing confused people to ask me, ‘How come you’ve got a boy’s name and he’s got a girl’s name?’ As anyone who knows anyone Spanish will know, ham or jamon is of very important national interest and therefore a subject for infinite discussion. On a recent visit to England, he became fascinated by the fact that lots of towns have the word ham in them – for instance, Birmingham, Lewisham, Nottingham, to name but a few. He became even more animada, as they say in Spain, to note the Royal connection to jamon, as in Buckingjamon Palace and Jamonpton court – not to mention the obsession the English have with small furry animals, such as the hamster, at the mention of which menu jokes about ‘melon and Palma hamster’, ‘cheese and hamster sandwiches’ etc. abounded. Further mirth followed, in relation to my Irishmen forebears, when we drove through a small town in Lancashire called Padiham – paddyjamon.

Anyway, if it’s all true and it really is all in a name, at least my surname isn’t Ramsbottom, or worse shufflebottom – although that might be easier to live up to – especially if you are a dog and you’ve got worms.