The Cock of the Virgin

Last night, we went to one of the richest areas in Paris to have dinner with The Frenchman’s father, whom we call Papa Loup (that is, Papa Wolf). He was a very successful engineer in his day who worked on such high-level projects as the TGV, many highways, and Charles de Gaulle airport. Like The Frenchman, he is a Knight but he’s also a member of The Legion of Honor. Still, he manages to be very silly and fun. I met the remaining relatives there for dinner, including The Frenchman’s darling step sister, her gorgeous daughter and The Frenchman’s nephew who is living upstairs as he attends the University of Paris.

We were eating dinner and chatting when the subject of astrology came up. The young folk were asking all the questions. “Tell me about Scorpio. Tell me about Libra.” And finally, “Tell me about Virgo.”

In French, Virgo is “Vierge” (pronounced vee-air-zhe). I started in my best French to describe “Vierge” but accidentally pronounced it as “verge” (vair-zhe). As soon as I said it, The Frenchman and his nephew smiled. Everyone else politely listened. But after a moment, The Frenchman could no longer keep the joke to himself.

“Cherie,” he said, “verge in French means ‘cock’.”

I felt a deep flush in my forehead and cheeks, and burst out laughing. At that moment, everyone felt comfortable enough to laugh. “Excusez-moi,” I said, and made like I was crawling under the table. They all assured me no harm was done and that it was all part of learning the language.

So, yes, on one hand I embarrassed myself silly in front of Papa Loup. But, heh, I know “cock” now. Look out!

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