Theater class is just over and I’m sitting in the Métro on my way home. A goodlooking Italian woman who wears a lot of black eye-liner sits opposite me. She happens to be one of the participants in my theater group. Her rolling r’s and her loud voice and melodious intonation put her in the center of attention of the whole train. She’s been in France for 5 months and is still working diligently on improving her French. She has therefore bought a colorful little note-book in which she jots down all the new words and expressions that she hears or learns. I ask her to show me her list as I’m dying to see what new words she has learnt.
Me: What is that word, raquin?
Her: Don’t you know it? My colleague taught it to me, it means “cheap”, as in “cheapskate cheap”. You can say je suis raquin.
She is proud to teach me a new word in my native language. But I’m puzzled. I have never this word before. I hesitate between blaming her for not hearing her colleague properly and blaming her colleague from coming from some very remote village in deep Belgium.
A woman who sits next to her and who’s apparently been listening to the whole conversation without being invited to, looks at me and moves her head from left to right meaning “no”, this word does not exist”. It makes me feel better as for a second I almost thought that might be a word I didn’t know.
Me: Are you sure? Because I’ve never heard this word before. Are you sure you don’t mean radin?
Her: No, no I’m sure, my colleague is French so she knows.
Have you ever thought that the first person who says something to you is always right and if someone says something different later, they’re necessarily wrong?
We continue looking at the list.
Me: And why did you need to learn the word prépuce*, if I may ask? to read the rest of this entry click
Her: Well, it means cheap too. Je suis prépuce.
I’m more and more puzzled.
Me: Really? But I haven’t heard this word used in this context before. Are you sure your French colleague likes you?
Her: Oh yes, we get along very well. French women are not as bad as they say, you know.
The woman who uninvitedly (is that a word?) supported me earlier got off three stations ago and is now replaced by a chic Japanese woman wearing a grunge Hello Kitty outfit. There is no support to be had there.
Her: She also taught me a very good expression, I know what it means but I’m not too sure whether I can use it with my friends and colleagues.
Me: Oh yes? (I fear the worst is yet to come) Which one?
Her: It means to be lucky, I think. It’s J’ai le cul bordé de mouille.
Unfortunately, she says it loudly, insisting on the m that starts the last word.
For the first time since Dalida died, my breath stops functioning for 10 seconds. Everybody around us is shitting their pants laughing and I start blushing as if it is all my fault.
If you are a French speaker, you’ll probably understand why I was breathless for a while there. If you don’t speak French or do not understand this expression and what her mistake meant, don’t count on me to translate it. I just won’t. But I encourage you to try it out on your French friends, see their reaction and tell us soon by leaving a comment right here.
*foreskin (but you probably knew that already…)
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