Le cul entre les deux chaises

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

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Cutting cheese in French

TerryTateThe Empire Magazine podcast turned me on to an old series of Reebok ads called “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker” (compilation). The shorts are about an American football (handegg) player who works in a cubicle farm, intimidating workers into being more productive. They are crazy funny. Two particular highlights for me included

This ain’t your home so don’t use the speakerphone.

You can’t cut the cheese wherever you please.

This last line reminded me of a day in my French class in high school, when someone passed gas and another person mumbled, in the way that one does, “Who cut the cheese?” Our teacher looked up from his desk and addressed the person who’d spoken, reminding him that in French class, we speak en français, so my classmate cleared his throat and loudly asked, “Qui-as couper le fromage?

And the whole class roared with laughter while our teacher blushed. Be careful what you wish for.

For the record

In English, you fart. In French on pète. In Spanish, tiras/hechas un pedo. There’s a funny discussion here on colloquial ways to say “cut the cheese” in French. I find all these kinds of exchanges so amusing since they’re basically what I imagine conversations with aliens would sound like.