a.k.a North America and its Terms of endearment or North America’s Fascination With Food, Specially Of The Sweet Variety.
As we all immigrants know, it is very common to be baffled when faced with learning how to live and behave in a brand new society with a brand new culture, so different for that we come from.
New rules, new conventions, which are made more difficult to comprehend when our new home also includes learning a different language*.
Cultural differences make for some really frustrating and upsetting experiences but also for some hilarious moments.
Lately, Sid and I have been playing with some of those. It all started because he wanted to know about terms of endearment in Spanish. I proceeded to tell him that – unlike English terms, Spanish terms have nothing to do with sugared foods but instead with more subjective concepts. For example (in their literal translation) Heart, Treasure, Love, Life, things like that. The first three may be preceded by the determiner “my” or just be used on their own. Life, on the other hand, is always used with the determiner.
Then I mentioned that calling people sugared foods didn’t make any sense to me. I don’t see a person I love as something I can eat as much as I love sweets. And I do have a very sweet tooth (another expression that sounds ridiculous to me). Calling the object of your affection things like Sweetie Pie don’t make no sense to me**. Or Babycakes. Or Sweetheart. Or Sugar. Or Honey. Or Honey pie. Or Pumpkin. Or Cupcake.
So, I asked him, why do they all have to be sweet foods? Why not savoury foods, since food is a common denominator? How about Celery or Potato or Rice, or Lettuce? You know, oh, I love you so much, my darling poutine! I say, stop discriminating against savoury foods. They have feelings too!
One thing led to another and soon we were calling each other things like my lentil, or my basmati rice. It makes for some really funny lovey-dovey moments. You should all try it! It is hilarious. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, after all.
* Do you know how many times I have said foreskin instead of forehead? And don’t get me started with the possible combinations of blow…
** See what I did there?