This past Thursday I went with my French class to see a French film. In French. With no subtitles. It was called Potiche, which I learned is a flower vase, but also means something like trophy wife or wall flower.
Don’t worry, I didn’t figure that one out on my own. If it weren’t for the contraband English version plot-summary that circulated amongst the students beforehand, I would have been utterly and completely lost. And probably asleep.
But since I had some context to work with, I actually found the movie pretty funny. It was full of sex jokes, cigarettes and one enormously grotesque Gerard Depardieu, so you know, just a typical French cinema experience. But the best part actually came after the film was over, when we were all standing outside the cinema underneath the promotional poster. It featured all the characters with different funny nicknames taped to their foreheads, like “mama’s boy” and “communist.” And then there was this one:
That one stumped us. So we asked our teacher to explain.
“Chipie? Eets like a beetch, but, you know, a nice one.”
We did not know. We asked her to please elaborate.
“You know, a nice beetch.”
Confused, we pushed further. Apparently it does really mean “b*tch,” but in a friendly way. Or perhaps more like a troublemaker. She explained it’s not a bad word. I explained that any kind of “b*tch” in english is necessarily a pretty bad word. And we left it at that.
So if anyone out there can more fully explain the nuances of chipie, I’d sure be glad to hear it. In the meantime, I’m leavin on a jet plane tomorrow, and may not be fully blog-tastic over the next week. So basically, peace out chipies!