Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Scatological References

OK, this is a weird subject, but it's come up numerous times since I started living in France. I didn't notice it at first. After all, Americans say Shit with remarkable ease. But, do we decline it?

It took my Italian girlfriend to point out the French obsession with (pardon my French) la merde, i.e. shit. So, enjoying a drink at a café not far from school we started making a list.

This weekend while I was enjoying a lunch of outdoor grilled sausages, lamb, salads and melon, I shared these observations with my French women friends. They laughed and suggested I write about it. So, with their approval, I hereby begin a list of scatological French comments. Note, all that I'm putting here heavily pepper common everyday conversation. Yes, there are those who are a bit more careful and who do not curse or use vulgar references, but ohhhh the vast majority do seem to, particularly in Parisian offices...

This is not an exhaustive list, and all contributions are most welcome!

Merde (simple, used extensively, with historical resonance) - Shit
ça m'emmerde - That shits upon me
quel tas de merde! - what a pile of shit
ça me fait chier - That makes me shit
c'est chiant - it's shitty
c'est à chier - it's not worth shit
la chiotte - a vulgar reference to the wc
peter les plombs -- fart lead -- meaning to lose your temper and have a hissy fit
je me suis fait enculer - I just got fucked over (but in this case, I'm afraid it went up the butt)
trou de cul - ass hole; but also a dingy, out-of-the-way, pathetic destination.
une fessée - a spanking
le tire-fesses -- the butt pull or, rather, the ski lift
où je pose mes fesses? - where should I put my butt? i.e. where should I sit?
j'ai quelqu'un sur mes fesses (or, sur mon cul)-- I've someone on my ass, i.e. someone is tailgating me
serre tes fesses! -tighten your butt cheeks, or hold on, this could get scary.

Then, there's a reference to value and expense:

ça coûte la peau des fesses d'un bébé - it is as expensive as the flesh of a baby's butt.

In general, you'll find the most variety and creativity when the French are indulging in the art of complaining -- Something that they truly excel in as a people. In fact, if you don't complain, many will worry that something is quite wrong with you. Perhaps you even have a "favouille qui mange ton jugement." -- (is a crab eating your brain?)

Francesca assures me that the Italians just don't include such a plethora of vulgar variations. I wonder why?

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