When buying a naughty breakfast snack this morning at the kiosk below my office, the lady serving me (in her 40’s, liberally made-up, raucous voice of a forty a day galloise smoker) called me ‘ma biche’, as usual. Literally: doe (a deer, a female deer…); but basically it’s like calling someone ‘pet’ in English.
And so I got to thinking about other common but rather odd terms of endearment in the French language.
My favourite has got to be ‘ma puce’, which translates as ‘my flea’. I don’t know about you, but if I could choose any member of the animal kingdom to describe someone I was rather fond of, a flea would not have been my first choice. Fleas are not cute, and definitely not cuddly. But I grant that the word sounds quite nice. Maybe that’s all it is.
If I had to choose a plant, or indeed a vegetable, to describe someone dear to me, likewise I doubt ‘my (little) cabbage’ would spring to mind, but in France ‘mon chou’ is another common affectionate name.
French ‘Mother in Law’ (because you don’t have to be married to have a MIL) calls the Tadpole ‘ma mie’, which is not a little confusing, as she calls herself ‘mamie’ (grandma)… If you were paying attention, you will recall that mie is the soft middle bit of a baguette, which the Frog scoops out and leaves in compressed balls on the dinner table.
What does the Frog call me?
That would be telling…
NB: Incidentally, the Frog will be forced to read all the comments in the ‘old maid’ post, plus his email (thanks Vit!) and I will keep you informed if there are any developments. I’m trying to persuade him to do a guest post at some point, but he says he wants me to build up some more vilainous traits in his character first. I’m not sure why.