The language(s) of love (or not)

Speaking the language(s) of love (or not)Imagine, somewhere in this globalized world, two men sitting on a park bench.

Soon they’re talking about their lives, and one of them starts to reminisce about his lost love.

Can you follow the story?


I met a piece of the moon, and my eyes were stolen.

You were struck by a thunderbolt?

Oh, yes. What curves, and me without brakes!

Was she a monkey face?

She had the waist of an elegant lion.

So you asked her out?

Of course! We went to get the moths off, and we really had our atoms hooked together. She was like hibiscus rising out of water. During a buckle polish, we started drinking the lip. She gave me a little tooth gift.

Sounds like you were sweet potato with her.

I was completely asphyxiated with my half orange! I scorched my own body! All I could think about was hanging myself. Soon we were distributing cardamoms and saying the seven utterances.

Matricide, eh? What was it like to be under a bonnet?

We lived like a maggot in bacon at first. The War Department could make the chickens laugh — I was always distorting my stomach skin. But it didn’t last. We were like a dog and a monkey. I was buying dragon fodder almost every day, and she was always playing the insulted liver sausage.

You were under the wife’s buttocks.

Totally. But she was bitten by the spider. And then an autumn breeze began to blow. People were puffing up cheeks. One day an old woman came up to me and whispered, “You have a pretty green hat.” I drank a mouthful of blood when I learned I had horns. Within weeks, I took a rake.

You certainly brewed the dirt from her fingernails and drank it.

My friend, you hit not the eyebrow, but right in the eye.

 *  *  *

This love story is made up of idioms from around the world. (My little contribution to Valentine’s Day :wink:) I got these from I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears, by Jag Bhalla, the kind of book you can lose an entire afternoon reading. (Why do you think today’s post is so late?) Here are the translations:

Piece of the moon: a lovely or handsome person (Hindi)
To get one’s eyes stolen: to be dazzled (Japanese)

To be struck by a thunderbolt: instant attraction (French)

What curves, and me without brakes: street compliment (Spanish, Latin America)

To be a monkey face: to be cute (Spanish, Mexico)

Having the waist of an elegant lion: an attractive woman (Hindi)

Get the moths off: to dance (Spanish, Mexico)
Have one’s atoms hooked together: really hit it off (French)
Like hibiscus rising out of water: grace of a woman (Chinese)
Buckle polish: slow dance (Spanish, Venezuela)
Drinking the lip: kiss (Hindi)
Tooth-gift: a love bite (Hindi)

To be sweet potato with: to be madly in love with (Spanish, Costa Rica)

To be asphyxiated: to be madly in love with (Spanish, Dominican Republic)
Half orange: sweetheart, soul mate (Spanish, Latin America)
To scorch one’s own body: to be consumed with love (Japanese)
To hang oneself: to get married (Spanish, Mexico)
To distribute cardamoms: to invite to a marriage (Hindi)
The seven utterances: the marriage vows (Hindi)

Matricide: marriage (Spanish, Costa Rica)
eh?: I just threw that one in because I feel very Canadian today
To be under a bonnet: to be married (German)

Like a maggot in bacon: very happy (German)
War Department: wife (Spanish, Mexico)
To make the chickens laugh: to be hilarious (Russian)
To distort one’s stomach skin: to die laughing (Japanese)
To be like a dog and a monkey: to be on bad terms (Japanese)
Dragon fodder: the gift a man gives to apologize to his wife (German)
To play the insulted liver sausage: to sulk (German)

To be under the wife’s buttocks: to be henpecked (Japanese)

Bitten by the spider: fickle or flirtatious (Spanish, Chile)
An autumn breeze begins to blow: a mutual cooling of love (Japanese)
To puff up cheeks: to gossip (Spain, Chile)
You have a pretty green hat: your wife is unfaithful (Chinese)
To drink a mouthful of blood: to have a bitter or humiliating experience (Hindi)
To have horns: to have an unfaithful wife (Italian)
To take a rake: to be dumped (French)

To brew the dirt from someone’s fingernails and drink it: to learn a bitter lesson from someone (Japanese)

To hit not the eyebrow, but right in the eye: to hit the nail on the head (Russian)


About Maria

I'm a Canadian repatriate, former expat spouse, mother to two TCKs (and one yellow Lab), mentor to new immigrants, writer, reader, world traveller (grounded for now). I write about expat/repat issues and am still trying to figure out my place in the world.
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7 Responses to The language(s) of love (or not)

  1. jilldomschot says:

    I love Spanish, Spain, and the Latin American countries, but I’ve long thought they have strange notions of love. But I do hope they are all violently happy. 😉 Great post.

  2. expatlogue says:

    For once Maria, I’m speechless!

  3. Judy says:

    Very clever, although I must admit my first reaction was “what on earth is she smoking?” You are such a word nerd 🙂

  4. debdundas says:

    Thank you for going to so much work to give us all a laugh! Nicely done.

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