Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

My Name is Muriel And I am not related to your great-grandmother
Picture by Alejandra Mioral, MUAH by Anastasia parquet

If one day you meet me in London, don’t be surprised if I say that my name is Julia. I really wished I had changed my name to Julia when we moved here. No, honestly. Because every time I say that my name is Muriel, here is the reaction I get:
” Oh really? My great-great-grandmother used to be a Muriel too. She had a sister called Mildred who remained a spinster all her life. They lived together after the death of my great-great-grandfather. They both died in 1925, a week apart. Can you believe it?”
Great. You have just made my day.
A former British colleague even took it one step further when, after a couple of pints, he told me that he couldn’t date a Muriel because it was the name of his gran. He couldn’t sleep with a woman who had the same name than his beloved gran, right?

Good thing I didn’t fancy him one bit. Seriously, how dare he?

His name was Alastair, which I must admit I found a bit snobby. Actually, initially I couldn’t get his name right, and thought he was the ‘Up-the-Stairs’ guy. I realised a bit later that he wasn’t the guy up the stairs, but that his first name was Alastair. Life is a big misunderstanding. At least I kept my mouth shut (until now, that is). Vengeance is a dish best served cold. Cheers to you, Alastair!

To top it up, I hate the way people call me MEOWrial over here. First of all, because it sounds a bit like a meowing cat, and also because in French you stress the second syllable, not the first one. It is muriEL, not MEOWrial. 
This means that, when I go to Starbucks or when I am asked for my name, I say Julia. Julia is so much easier, right? Well, so I thought. But this morning, when I said that my name was Julia, they wrote Jules.
I can’t win. 

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I really didn’t think Muriel was a name used in the UK! To be honest, every time I hear “Muriel”, it makes me think of the movie by that name, not a grand-mother!

    • Great…Even better…Now I can’t stop thinking of Toni Collette in Muriel’s wedding…

  • In Manila, my friends and I used to go to a Starbucks notorious for not hearing your correct name. So one time when I went, I said my name was Goldilocks…of maybe Baby Bear. I forget now…haha! Seriously though, I’ve always been curious. How do you properly say your name? Is it with a short or long ‘U’? ‘Cos in the Philippines, we would say it with a short ‘U’, almost like moor-yel, instead of myur-yel.

  • Haha love this! Muriel sounds better with a French accent but I love it, anyway I’m a Julia and still people call me Julie or worse… Celia! I mean I like Celia, but… X

  • Anonymous

    This made me laugh out loud literally, you know when we type lol, well this was a true lol moment, the “up the stairs guy” reference was so witty and clever, gorgeous post!
    Mackenzie Glanville.

  • Haha! Just so you know… I ‘love’ Muriel 🙂

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  • dth

    Same in every country. Here in France i have to pronounce my name in an ‘Allo ´Allo style for me ro be understood.
    Me: j’ai fait Un reservation, Mr Hayes
    Me: Mr Ay-yA-Z
    Resto: ah oui, Mr Ay-yA-Z