French Kissing, Trees, Gays and Knaidels
Well, it looks like I missed all the excitement in Istanbul having left the city just two days before the riot police used tear gas at Taksim Square to dispel hundreds of people protesting against the demolition of trees in a park to make way for a new shopping center. Those Turks are starting to resemble the French!…and I don’t blame them after having seen how much product is for sale in the Turkish city compared to how few trees there are!
Friends who stayed on after we left got caught in the commotion, fleeing from the tear gas, not the protest, which began very peacefully. And while we were visiting the city where ‘east meets west’ last week, the French were out once again protesting the recent pro same-sex marriage legislation with even more zeal than before — hundreds of thousands turned up to wave their blue and pink flags which ultimately became violent hurling glass bottles, smoke bombs and sound grenades. Almost 300 people were arrested as a result.
Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau) to tie the proverbial knot. She’s the leader of the anti-gay marriage movement — a comedian-turned-political-activist and close friend of National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen.They’re not going to let go of their cause just like the Turks won’t let go of their trees (and their cause), but the ideas are diametrically opposed. One group WANTS to let trees have a life and the other group DOESN’T WANT gays to have one. Pretty sad…but, I had to chuckle at “Frigide Barjot’s” message of ‘best wishes of commitment, loyalty and happiness’ to France’s first gay couple (
And while Madame Barjot is campaigning AGAINST love, the French have finally come up with a word for what we call the “French Kiss.” We Anglophones have Frenchified so many things, like “French Toast” (Pain Perdu), “French Fries” (frites), “French Manicure” (La French Manucure), etc., etc., including what may be the country’s “most popular export” — the French Kiss.
They’ve never called it anything special — it just was…a kiss, “un bisou”…until now. Added to the Petit Robert 2014 dictionary, about to hit the bookstores this week, is “galocher” — to kiss with tongues.
According to hearsay, World War I soldiers brought the term “French Kiss” back from their sexual adventures in France. Does that mean Americans didn’t practice French kissing before that? And now the slang for it, “galocher” has become official. I’m so glad to have this opportunity to improve my French vocabulary! I wonder what Madame Barjot would have to say about newlyweds Vincent and Bruno “galoching?”
On the subject of language (if not love), Yiddish has not only officially made English language dictionaries, but has worked its way into America’s National Spelling Bee! The winner of this year’s bee (Arvind Mahankali, an Indian-American kid from Queens) clinched the prize when he spelled “knaidel” correctly.
Do you even know what a knaidel is? And do you know how to spell it? I bet even Leo Rosten (author of The Joys of Yiddish) would argue this point!
Wiktionary.org claims it’s a dumpling and can be spelled “knaidel,” “knaidl,” “knaydl,” “knödel” and I’ll bet there are 10 other ways to spell it and still be correct. I always knew it as “knaidelach” — a dumpling in soup my grandmother made, usually during Passover. (Hers were so hard, we called them “hockey pucks!”)
Anyway, if you want to chuckle, read Daniel Gross’ article in The Daily Beast.
And then try practicing “galoching” while eating “knaidels” and protesting whatever it is you want to be for or against!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
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P.P.S. The University of Southern California’s “The Poet in Paris” Program, directed by my friend, poet and part-time Paris resident, Cecilia Woloch, will be celebrating poetry and Paris with a fabulous reading by thirteen talented and spirited creative writing students featuring works written over their month-long stay in Paris. The celebration is on Friday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Le Café Rouge, 32, rue de Picardie, 75003, Métro Arts et Métiers or Temple. Entrance is free but there is a one-drink minimum for audience members.