Le Prénom

Sometimes destiny plays funny jokes on us. When I was born, my parents had a penchant for French names. And so it was that they named me “Jeanine”, a perfectly respectable and some might even say likeable name in South America. Who could have known that the little girl from Uruguay, a tiny country known only to those who like football, watch the Simpsons or care about the legalisation of marijuana, would grow up and marry a Frenchman? I soon discovered that Jeanine was not so fashionable in France, and so it was that the difficult journey of coming to terms with my first name began. I was hoping when I moved to Paris that it may be considered “vintage”, the elegant kind poised to make a glorious comeback in our children’s generation. Alas, it was not to be. Jeanine is so outdated, not even the French know how to spell it. Those who did not snigger in disbelief took great pleasure in telling me that Jeanine was their late grandmother’s best friend’s name. So I started referring to myself as “DJeanine”, advocating my identity as a foreigner. But as time went on and my accent turned into an intonation that the French could no longer identify, I decided it was also time for me to reclaim my pride. So yes, my name is Jeanine, I am not 95, but I’m certain your grandmother’s best friend was a graceful, sophisticated lady.

 

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