Brilliant, import-worthy sexual terms from Italian, Dutch, Japanese and more.
Earlier this year, I bought a book called The Meaning of Tingo which discusses strange and extraordinary words and phrases from around the world. I remember thinking it could make for some interesting lists back when I bought it. Anyway, stuff came up (I guess) and I never actually opened it.
Today I was working at my desk and spilled a little bit of water near my computer. I panicked and lunged at the glass to pick it up. In the process I shook my desk, which shook the shelf of books that sit on the top of my desk hutch. And what book should fall right in front of my keyboard?
An old book about how to make it in stand-up comedy. Ahh, but when I wiped up the water and then went to put the stand-up book away, The Meaning of Tingo was right next to it. I plucked it off the shelf, flipped through a few pages, and immediately realized it really was going to provide good material for this website. Which brings us to today’s list.
Come to think of it, rather than tell that rambling anecdote, I probably just could’ve said, “These are funny idioms from other languages about dating and sex. Enjoy.” Oh well. I am who I am.
1 | Cavoli riscaldati
Italian for attempting to restart a previously failed relationship (literal: reheated cabbage)
I think “reheated cabbage” perfectly sums up getting back together with someone. The cabbage tastes much worse than it did when it was fresh cabbage… and as soon as you take one bite that’s a little bit sour, suddenly you remember exactly why you stopped eating that cabbage in the first place.
2 | Queesting
Dutch for allowing a lover to come under the covers for intimate conversation
It’s strange — I’m much more familiar with another, more popular practice that has to do with the Dutch and having your significant other under the covers.
3 | aki ga tatsu
Japanese for falling out of love (literal: the autumn breeze begins to blow)
There’s something so formally poetic about Japanese. These kinds of phrases put all of their awkward translations into much better context. (I once did a list on the 11 Worst Japanese-To-English Translations In Nintendo History. Knowing that they describe falling out of love as “the autumn breeze begins to blow” adds a bit more context to “This story is happy end” and “A winner is you.”)
4 | Bakku-shan
Japanese for a woman who appears attractive from behind but not the front (literal: beautiful back)
This term is heavily featured in the music of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s non-union Japanese equivalent, Emperor Mix-Good-Yes.
5 | avoir la moule qui baille
French for to be horny (literal: to have a yawning mussel)
I mean, that’s just incredible crude. Although “yawning mussel” is much more descriptive than “whispering eye” or “clown pocket.”
6 | batuta ni Drakula
Tagalog for a powerful penis (literal: Dracula’s nightstick)
I never really thought of Dracula as being a sexual icon (nor as a nightwatchman?) but I guess 25 million Filipinos can’t be wrong. On the evil creature sexual rankings, I’d think that Dracula finishes somewhere in the third quartile, way behind Frankenstein and the Yeti, far ahead of the Mummy, and probably around the same as the Loch Ness Monster.
7 | commencer a rendre la monnaie
French for an older prostitute (literal: when she started, she didn’t have to make change for the money she received)
According to the movie Orgazmo — which is a documentary and totally factually accurate, of course — as porn stars become older, in order to make the same money they used to, they have to start doing weirder and weirder stuff. Which is why you rarely see any fresh-off-the-corn-field 18-year-old porn starlets debuting in octopus-oriented films.
8 | dejar con el paquete
Spanish for abandoning a woman you’ve knocked up (literal: to drop with the parcel)
Yep, this feels right there in line with the Spanish stereotypes. The only better way to cap it off would be a phrase describing that abandoned woman taking a swing at the guy… missing… but still having him flop to the ground and roll around like he’d been shot.
9 | voir les anges
French for orgasm (literal: to see angels)
Is it really possible to see angels with one eye half-closed and the other one slightly crossed? Or maybe that’s the secret way to see angels. Kind of the spiritu-sexual equivalent of finding Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters.
10 | senzuri
Japanese for male masturbation (literal: a thousand rubs)
11 | shiko shiko manzuri
Japanese for female masturbation (literal: ten thousand rubs)
And just like that, the Japanese have summed up human sexuality.