Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Great Phrase: To be the milk


I generally give the Spanish people/culture/language a hard time in these virtual pages, but they have been known to do and say extraordinary things like coming up with saying that someone or something “is the milk.”

ser la leche [sehr lah leh-cheh] 1. loc. verb. vulg. Ser extraordinario. Este chico es la leche, siempre se queda dormido [colloquial verbal expression. To be extraordinary. “This kid is incredible; he’s always falling asleep.”]

The example provided by the Real Academia Española (the OED of Spanish) gives you a sense of how it can be used in a variety of ways, from genuine incredulity to ironic detachment. Like most expressions, there isn’t any one translation that really captures what is expressed, but let me throw some examples at you.

Things which are the milk

  • Lance Armstrong (both before and after his recent revelations)
  • The Duke boys
They just are.

They just are.

Things which are not the milk

  • Hamsters
  • Fran Drescher
Milk not The-Nanny

I honestly couldn’t think of anything worse.

Things which may or may not be the milk, depending on your feelings

  • U2
  • The Hobbit
I say no but other opinions are available.

I say no to Tolkien but other opinions are available.

Got it? Good. Start referring to things as the milk and see how your respective dairy level rises accordingly. And please let me know what you deign to be the milk!

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

9 thoughts on “Great Phrase: To be the milk

  1. A new Spanish phrase – thanks! In German, the equivalent is “der Hammer” (the hammer) :)

    • Every time I learn something new about German, my reaction is always “Of course they say it that way. That’s totally German.” This was no different. I may have to combine both and be like, “This is der MilchHammer!”

  2. I so want to use this expression

  3. My mother-in-law sounds like Fran Drescher. It’s not the milk.

    • Wow, I’m really sorry. Even knowing that she was in SPINAL TAP isn’t enough to make up for everything else about FD.

      At least it looks like your in-laws live in Florida so you have a nice place to visit. (I’m trying to put a positive spin on things…)

  4. Oh, I’m totally going to try to make “to be the milk” happen. Even though I will inevitably fail like Gretchen Weiners did in Mean Girls.

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