I have a few friends who are currently choosing baby names, so the topic has been on my mind lately.
Not long after I met P, he told me that his favourite name for a girl was Gladys. As soon as he announced this, the trace on my internal incompatibility sensor was jolted into action and jumped right off the screen: in a split second I realised just how deep some cultural differences might run. For him, Gladys (or rather Gladees, for that is how it is pronounced in French) called up images of trendy little girls but for me — and the entire English-speaking world — it meant old ladies who smelled of mothballs and pan drops.
When I was sifting through the detritus in the attic for that vide grenier a couple of weeks ago, I came across a page that I'd pulled out of my old filofax in 2002. It was a list of alternative names that I had come up with for the baby girl gestating in my tummy that year.
I offer it up to any of you who may be having babies this year - unless of course you're more of a Gladys sort of person, in which case I suggest you just skip the pram and go straight for the zimmer frame.
(Oh, and it isn't on the list but we called her Éloïse, in the end. Certainly not Eulalia — what was I thinking?)