Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Translation Tips: "Tired" = "Total fucking shit" in French.

Typical weekly conversation:

Me: Hello! How are you?

Worthless French sack of impoliteness: Hi there! I'm fantastic! [insert reason why their life is unbefuckinglievably amazingly perfect here]. How are you

Me: Good, good. [insert typical I-Don't-know-you blah-blahing].

Tactless froggy douche-lord: Oh... Good. (Looks at me with disappointment complete with forehead crinkle.) Are you ok? (Starts studying my face like it just gave birth to twins.)

Me: ...yes? Why? Is there something in my teeth? (A pimple winking at you? Is a rogue alien-blob-like booger throbbing in one of my nostrils, preparing a mucus invasion of your home on planet indiscretion?)

Palpably uncomfortable foreign penis-hat: No, no. (Sympathetically pats my shoulder, to console me before doling out a death sentence.)

It's just that... your eyes are... "exploded". (Yes. That's the REAL word they use. I guess "Puffy" was too warm and fuzzy. In the French language, my eyes "EXPLODE" out of my visage.)

(Awkward pause.) You look so.. Tired?!"

Please note that the word "tired" is said as if I just finished climbing a mountain and or fighting a war, or raising a two-year old or something else that will suck the life out of you.

Show me an expat that has not heard these words, and I'll show you a person who has:

A) never ever had swollen eyes due to fatigue, and is probably addicted to Botox,

Or

B) already scared the pants (and/or leggings) off their entourage after some other maniacally insensitive comment about their person.

Everyone. Has. Been. There.

And you're not out of the woods yet. The french have zero qualms about asking if you're preggo. (So a "you look like shit" with a side of "and you gained weight"... YAY!). I've been asked this numerous times. The jury will please note that I am not fat. They just ask. It's weird.

There is one other thing, but in my nearly 5yrs, I've only heard it once... once! "T'as bonne mine!" = "OMFG GTFO you look almost NORMAL!!". Yah. Once. (sigh)

I love that they can get away with this though. It completely astounds me. Imagine if an American came up to me (who was not a close friend or relative, because we're more forgiving of them, I think), and said "OMG. Wow you look REALLY TIRED."

Don't even try and tell me you wouldn't be all, "DUDE?! WTF?!!!". Cuz, I know you would. YOU know you would too. Let's get real here people. The French are funny about frankness and we forgive them a lot of it.

Suggestion: Next time someone says you look fatigued, tell them their ass looks unusually large. Ask if it might be swollen. Find out if they have hemorrhoids. Encourage them to see a doctor. You are, after all, only worried about their well being.

Edit: ps - I don't mind this coming from family or friends... it's the strangers who annoy the bajeezus out of me.

8 comments:

  1. OMG!!! I thought it was just me who got that! Thank you for this unbelievably hilarious blog. I laughed so hard, and then read it aloud to my (french) boyfriend.

    But I think it's more a french woman thing non? It's more common to get this from une française than a français, I would think.

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  2. I agree with PreteMoiParis.

    Hilarious!

    And I agree it seems more like a française thing. What I keep wondering is, why in the hell are les françaises so bitchy? I do not understand. And I would *love* to meet some that are not this way. Surely they must exist...

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  3. I love the clichés I read here :-(

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  4. @Karen, I know many who aren't that way -- I'll introduce you! They def do exist!

    @Anon, yes yes, I knew I was going to displease some frenchies with this one. Being critical is dangerous territory - but, this had to be said! Cliché or no, it's happened to me more times than I can count. So... I must draw one of two conclusions:
    - either I just look so horrible that my american counter-parts are too afraid to even mention it
    or
    - the french population can be rather indiscreet about physical appearances.

    It's a cultural difference I tolerate, since lord knows, Americans have our fair share of downfalls. (I won't go into the invention of hammer pants or McDonalds.)

    Hope you keep reading anyway!

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  5. It's funny 'cause it's true. This is annoying even to me, a dude who has tried very hard to cultivate a "tired" look (actually, I was going for world-weary but missed). I should note that I got this a couple times in Russia--now there's a country with tact. Not just "you look tired" but also "you look unhappy" which I tried at first to deny and then unsuccessfully tried to explain was a direct result of being told I looked tired. Another communication bungled abroad... Great blog here, btw!

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  6. My neighbor just said the same thing to me last week and I was totally offended. lol
    I thought I looked just fine!

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  7. @Nathan... siiiiigh, happens to the best of us. Glad you enjoyed :) PS - you look depressed.

    @Loulou I think it's a right of passage. Everyone has to hear it at some point, it's like prom -- you don't really want to go through it, but it gives you a good story.

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  8. I was smiling while reading this because some of my co-workers and I would have lengthy discussions over the "you look tired=look like shit" comments people would randomly make back in NY. And how they're never well received. And lovely this carries over to France too. People just suck. My smile turned into me spitting out my wine on the computer screen while reading the last line. So thanks for that! Hilarious and if anyone asks if I'm tired, I'm torn between making a ridiculous comment about hot sex that lasted all night, asking them if they're tired or just punching them in the face and walking away. But maybe I'll inquire about the hemorrhoids instead. ;-) Loved this post

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