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02 May 2012

Dangerous words #2: ****

I rarely use social networking sites but recently, on one which I will not mention, with a Russian lady-friend whose name I will not mention, as a result of an enjoyable semi-public event, which I will also not mention (all to protect the lady’s name, fame and reputation), I had the following tongue-in-cheek—on my side—exchange.
     “That was a great night. Wonderful ****!” my friend, whose English is excellent but not perfect, wrote.
     Gosh, thought I. What did I get up to? We had all had, shall we say, rather more than a few beers. So I wrote: “Careful. The word **** has a very specific meaning in English. I wonder if that is what you intended.”
     “We haven’t drunk enough yet,” she posted, mysteriously. “And **** too :)”
     “Are you sure you want to say you want more **** ?” I replied.
     “Maybe. But I have no idea, what does it mean. My English teacher didn’t taught me.”
     “That is why you need a REAL teacher,” I added, and we drew the exchange to an end there.
     I went to another event a few weeks later and, by co-incidence, met the lady again. We had a laugh about the exchange above and she asked me what **** means in English. When I explained, she went puce with embarrassment.
     “So what did you really mean to say?” I asked after I had calmed her down, and reassured her that no-one else would have been any the wiser.
     “I just wanted to put kisses,” she said.
     “Ah! In that case you should have put xxxx.”
     “But in Russian it is very bad to put crosses because it is somehow connected with a funeral, and death, so I put stars.”

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