Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sex Joke

I laughed when I read these portions from the book Almost French by Sarah Turnbull.

Would like to share with the readers - hehe

Excerpt: After we've finished eating, Frederic pats his coat pocket, his eyes skimming the room, searching for something. This is a familiar routine. I now know that when Frederic told me in Bucharest he was 'maniac' he meant he was obsessively tidy. Keeping everything in perfect order - shirts stacked in a colour-coded pile, the bed neatly made each morning- is his way of restraining his natural disorderliness. But it's as though he's still surprised by his tidy habits. Frederic can never recall the thoughtful places where he puts things away.

I think I know what he's looking for - one of his pipes. "Tu veus une pipe?" I ask.

It takes less than a split second to realise that my question is not quite right. Not right at all, in fact, judging by the four male faces which freeze in surprise before cracking into hooting, helpless laughter. Without even meaning to, I have been fabulously funny. This is my first joke in French - the first time since my arrival that I've managed to make an entire table laugh - and it seems a bit unfair that I don't get it.

"Where can I find an Australian girlfriend?" wheezes one guest, appreciatively.

The French language is full of double entendre. Although toilet humour is considered poor taste in France, sex-related witticisms are acceptable in virtually any social setting. Sustaining linguistic volleys of naughty innuendo is a national sport. Sometimes these word games are subtle and sophisticated. But often the banter is ribald and silly - a bit like Frederic's joke about peeing off the Pont des Arts. 'Pipe' is the sort of word which ping-pongs across dinner tables. Although it shares the innocent English meaning, in French it also has a more risque definition. Had I said ta pipe - your pipe - it might not have been so funny. But as it is, I have just offered Frederic a blow job :)

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