samedi 18 juin 2011

Georges Bonneterie

Like a beacon in the gathering dusk, the pink tile façade of Georges Bonneterie solicits the eye with a rosy-hued selection of...wait a minute. What is it that Georges sells exactly? Any guesses? To pick the lock of this little shop's secret, it's time for a grammar lesson. In French, as in English, the word for a particular tradesman often follows the formula: (root word of the trade) + er. Think butch-er, think bak-er, think candlestick mak-er. "Baker" in French is boulanger. The name of a shop in French follows roughly the same formula: (noun) + erie. Thus bakery is boulangerie. Are you following me?

Now, even mid-globalization, France is still to some extent a land of mom & pop specialized commerce. So forget going to a one-stop shop. You want cheese? Fromagerie. Need to make duplicates of your keys? Quincaillerie. Fix your shoes? Cordonnerie. Right, you say. So, that would make Georges Bonneterie...a bonnet store? Which is exactly what I was saying to myself, when at last I rummaged through the lingerie drawer of my French vocabulary and retrieved the real meaning. (Here's the part where you rush off to look up the word in a French-English dictionary, drumroll...) Bonnet is not just a hat for your baby, but a cup for your...well, it's a bra cup. Georges Bra-Cupperie?! Egads.

Suddenly, the context was before me, complete with a fully-imagined dialogue. Customer: "Georges! So glad to have found you! Listen, I've been searching out a bra-cupperie all day and a friend of mine told me you were the best boob-cupper in town! I'm a D and could use your support."

I may indulge in an interior giggle whenever I pass "Georges" on the street, but a French woman wouldn't feel the need to blush. French women think pink.

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