Bitch on the Blog

June 20, 2010


Filed under: Communication,Human condition,language — bitchontheblog @ 02:22

Leaving aside that my memory is phenomenal I called Nick’s partner Jenny.

“Jenny” is a mute point in this household. In the days when I still dropped off and collected Apple of my Eye at the school gate  I’d call all other mothers ‘Jenny’, unless I remembered their real name. Yet, as bets go it was safe. Apple of my Eye, being a natural at maths and statistics,  once remarked that my approach verged on the ridiculous, nay, the downright lazy. Always one to keep up with the latest lingo I replied: “Whatever”. I don’t often employ glee but couldn’t help it when getting my own back  next day when the mother of a new friend of my son  introduced herself to me as – well, you know what. I could have kissed her. I got miles of ammunition out of that one.

One of  my sisters has a different and real problem: Both her mother and her mother-in-law are called Ursula, both her sister (that’s me – in case you can’t follow the family tree) and her sister-in-law are called Ursula. So for her, in moments of absentmindedness and to be on the safe side, she calls everyone ‘Ursula’. (My mother tends to call me Charlotte which is the name of her sister and one of my nieces.) Naturally, given my streak of snobbery and arrogance, I am not best pleased how many people there are in the father/motherland called Ursula: One of the reasons I moved to England – not only do the British pronounce my name so very effectively and  differently (as do the French) but – being rare – it has a certain cachet. The biscuit was taken when one of my short term bosses kept calling me ‘Ingrid’. Which, incidentally, is one of my middle names. If any of you start addressing me as Ingrid I shall ignore you forthwith. Don’t even think about it. 

So glad I am not a Betty. I hate Betty. Which is of course just an abbreviation of a perfectly good name. Why are the British given to shorten even the shortest of names? Parents do not sweat over their darling’s name to find that Michael becomes Mike, David becomes Dave, Robert becomes Bob is your uncle,  and William miraculously turns into Bill. A friend of mine is a Bobby (Robin). That’s my beloved English for you. No wonder it rains when it pours.

Since I have reputation for cloaking myself in mystery I won’t reveal what one of my friends calls me so very affectionately; since no one else has thought of it it’s rather special to me. Father of my son agreed – not that he had a choice – to a name for our offspring with virtually no chance of anyone shortening it. And no, we did not christen him Max. Neither did we give him a middle name. Much to my son’s English grandfather’s grievance. An English officer and the middle classes stand on at least three initials.

How did I get onto this subject in the middle of the night? Jennies have a lot to answer for.



1 Comment »

  1. Ursula, having a Latin root, I might be tempted to take my life in my hands and call you Teddy…however that is a shortened version of Edward which is not really appropriate. Edwina? Nooo I don’t think so.

    I certainly agree with you about Dave…. people always seem to lengthen the ‘a’ and put an almost nasal whine into it…awful…..

    I tend to call all dogs I meet “Fido” in the forlorn hope that one will answer to its name and greet me as a long lost friend.

    Comment by magpie11 — June 20, 2010 @ 22:54 | Reply

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