Once upon a time I thought I was Gabe Kotter. Either him or that teacher on "Head of the Class," Dr. Samuels was it? Which is to say that I taught English composition to college freshmen and fancied myself a laid-back middle-aged liberal man with too much hair when really I was a twenty-something girl who wore poly-blend sundresses over t-shirts too small, desperately hoping that nobody would call my bluff.
As part of my role of Cool Teacher That The Kids Relate To (probably because I was only a few years older than they were), I used to play music in class and tell the students to free-write: George Winston (the girls wrote contemplative pieces about "there" boyfriends back home), Bob Marley (one boy took the opportunity to write me an invitation to a party that Friday), Fishbone (who knew 18 year olds could be so angry?). And then came the day I brought in my Serge Gainsbourg tape and played them this little ditty featuring Jane Birkin replete in Euro why-can't-I-be-that-effortlessly-mignon-ness. So that night? As I watched "Party of Five" while marking complete on their free-writes? That night, I read 29 papers of soft-core porn about sex, sighs and oh my god the sinking of flesh into flesh made my red pen blush beet and no. No, I did not go to any parties and stopped right there with moi non plus, the following week choosing instead to focus on the difference between its and it's because for the love of Milton there has never been and never will be an its'.
I am not a teacher anymore, but I do still adore this song. And Serge Gainsbourg. The phrase jolie-laide, but even more the french idiom il y a du monde au balcon which literally translates to "there is a crowd on the balcony" but is used to refer to a large-breasted woman. There you go: I would like you to work that phrase into conversation today. So I guess, in a way, I am still a teacher even if I never did look good in a corduroy sportscoat with patches on each elbow.
Extra Credit: Translate the following phrase both literally and idiomatically: Je m'en bats les couilles. Happy Monday!