Froggian Slip

For some strange reason, I seem to be an expert at Freudian slips. As if my subconscious took over my mouth and reminded me how foolish I can be/sound sometimes. I really hate those moments, they last for a few seconds but can be served back at you several years later.


For example, at the age of 22 I moved to Sweden. A few months after I had moved, I travelled back to France to visit friends and family. One day at a party, I was asked a question by a friend: Why did you move to Sweden? I wanted to answer “because I’ve always wanted to go there and also to get work experience“. Instead I said “because I’ve always wanted to go there and also to get sexual experience“. Unfortunately for me, the latter was the real reason and everybody knew it. My friends from that time still enjoy reminding me of this Freudian slip many years later. At every party, in front of everybody, you can be sure that the story is going to be told. People I didn’t even know asked me once whether I was the famous friend who went to Sweden to get laid…


There is another type of Freudian slip. The ones you encounter when you juggle with different languages everyday. Languages that include a good deal of “false friends” ie words that sound the same but do not mean the same thing, French and English being the epitomy of such concept. This morning, for example, I arrived late at a meeting with two English-speaking colleagues. I entered the office and quickly apologized for being late (en retard) by saying how sorry I was for being so retarded.


Finally, you have the situation slips. The things that you can only say to your friends and family but that come out when you talk to someone you don’t know in a rather formal situation. For example, when I was a teenager, I would frequently call my teachers “Mom” or “Dad”, quite an embarrassing situation when you are a teenager although I know it often happened to other classmates. But when you start calling your boyfriend “Mom” then things start to get worrying.


Or the day I called the tax office, ended the conversation with a dry civil servant with an automatic and natural “bisous à bientôt”, hung up and died.


17 Responses

  1. Ha! I’m sure you made that civil servant’s day.

  2. One time we were at the in-laws’ for lunch, watching the news as usual, and there was a story about President Putine. Of course, at the time I didn’t know the French put that little E on the end of his name so I tried to start a conversation about him, using the Anglo spelling but with a French accent. I think my mother in law actually turned purple.

  3. Isn’t the only reason to go to Sweden to get sexual experience? And if anyone calls you “retarded”, I will punch them in the nez. My only question is: why, oh why, am I not on your “met them and loved them” list?

    Bisous à bientôt!

  4. Freudian slips… I’m quite qood at them too.

    My most famous one : “Je te prends au pied du mur”, which is a mix of “au pied de la lettre” (to take something literally) and “mettre quelqu’un au pied du mur” (to get someone with his back to the wall). In the end, it came out as : “I’ll take you against the wall”.

    There was what seemed like a very long pause in the

  5. Glad you are back. You were missed.

  6. Hahahahaa, saying “Bisous, a bientot” to a civil servant! That’s definitely something!

  7. I often have to apologize for being retarded, I ended a phone conversation with our work accountant with an “I love you” – I had just gotten off the phone with my wife- Oh well. Why isn’t the bold soul on your “met them love them” list???

    Love and Kisses

  8. hűha! ez már valami

  9. Like this post, love the blog.

    I have a friend (and I really do mean friend, not secretly me) who once while congratulating someone got felictiations mixed up and wished him fellation. Yikes!

  10. That was me above!

  11. Ce post m’a bien fait rire….. bon, j’ai changé l’URL de mon blog : c’est maintenant Un petit malin a repris mon ancienne URL et écrit des conneries….. tragique quoi.

    A +

  12. Love that post !
    The same happens to me. Being multilingual is tragic some times 😉

  13. Adorable. I’m going to have to end all of my work calls with “Kisses” from now on. 🙂

  14. Merry Xmas Froggy !

  15. happy 2008 and gros bisous! 🙂 behave now! mwahaha

  16. did it work and did the civil servant slash several zeros off your impots? If so I will try it with mine when I submit my usual unlikely frais réel

  17. My worst faux ami was to translate preservative as preservatif.
    Then I had to explain to a French friend staying with us that he should be careful about saying he was ‘looking for a screw’. His expression was amazing when he understood what it could mean. He decided that the English must have a weird way of making love.
    Did you fulfil your aim of gaining experience in Sweden then?
    Someone I knew went to meet her boyfriend’s family and the father came to greet her wearing a wristwatch and welllie boots – nothing else. . . . . .

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