Now we all get given a name when we are born. Some are considered common, not in the tacky sense, but in the way that they are recognised easily.
I was tagged with the name Arlene. Throughout my younger years I never considered it to be a problem for me. Whilst I was taunted with the song "Come on Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners, I never realised until my late teens that it was Eileen that they were singing about and not Arlene. Therefore, will this knowledge I corrected people, who would point at me singing and jumping around like crazy people and then they would stand corrected.
Now I move onto my twenties and more so the recent past of my early thirties. When I introduce myself I am greeted with either a "Hello, that's an unusual name" or "Sorry what's your name" and then this is where the confusion starts and sadly never ends. Ive been called a number of things, all polite, well as far as I'm aware. These range from Eileen, Elaine, Iris, Olly, Aileen and the list is endless. So for a number of years I have always corrected these people when they do call me something other than Arlene. The conversation can go something like this...
"Hi I'm Arlene"
"I'm sorry, whats your name"
" No, Arrllleeennnee"
"O I do apologise, did you say Iris?"
"No I said Arlene, as in Marlene and drop the M"
"O, Arlene (long pause) nice to meet you"
After the bating back and forth with my name, when they do eventually get it...it kinda kills the actually introduction and then there is an air of embarrassment, on their part of course.
Recently, I had the most bizarre conversation as I introduced myself to a gentleman on the telephone...it went something like this...
"OK, can I take your name please?"
"Yes, its Arlene"
"Can you spell that for me?"
"Yep, its A r l e n e"
"OK got it, that's pronounced Eileen"
"No it's not, its pronounced Arlene"
"No I can assure you that its pronounced Eileen"
"Urm (getting slightly annoyed now)...I'm gonna have to beg to differ there as its been my name for some thirty odd years now and its always been Arlene and in fact I have never been corrected before now."
"Well, OK but its how Eileen is spelt"
"O OK, I will contact my Mum and tell her that the daughter she named, some thirty odd years ago, well....she didn't do I good job with the pronunciation of it as its wrong."
Needless to say that with this not being the best start to a conversation, we did what we had to do and the call ended.
Now I'm not sure what lesson can be learnt from this. I would say not to name your child with a name that they will struggle with. However, then I think NO WAY...you go name your child with whatever you want, within reason though as you have to remember they are stuck with it for a long time.
The question that I often ask myself is that if I wasn't called Arlene, what name would I have? Well the answer is simple...I wouldn't have it any other way!