¿Tienes tu pene? – Do You Have Your Penis?

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No, No!  This is not an X rated Blog!  This is an honest Blog about the rough and rocky road that one must take in order to learn another´s language.

When I asked Luis this question he whirled around and looked at me with a combination of horror and true confusion.  I could see his mouth in mid-answer ….. “ye….s”  but he didn´t quite give it to me, his face was not, shall we say…it was not in concordance.  This of course had me confused and I insisted….”Siempre te olivdas tu pene y cuando llegamos al carro tu me preguntas si yo lo tengo.”  (You are always forgetting your penis and when we get to the car you ask me if I have it.) 

By now the horror on his face is complete, the confusion has just left altogether.

Let me allow you into the deep labyrinths of my psych for just a moment.  Don’t worry, it’s just for a quick second, just to help you understand what was happening with me as I demanded a serious answer to my question.  You see, it´s exhausting being married to my Spanish teacher.  He lets nothing pass, I always (it seems)  have one little thing wrong, be it an ‘a’ instead of an ‘o’, or a ‘this tense’ over a ‘that tense’ or my pronunciation is messed up and I have to repeat until I sound more “native” at which point I can’t even remember what I was trying to say….. and to be honest I think this one is about not wanting to hear what I was trying to say……and THIS is what had the death hold on me when I was challenging him in so many words with, “it’s 8 PM do you know where your penis is?”

I had decided that I was going to insist this time.  I was not going to let him get me off track with all of his infuriating corrections. I was saying everything right, doggone it and I was going to insist that he understand me.  Now where I ever came up with the idea that this technique would work as well with a language as it did when I successfully returned that pair of pants I bought too small the day before they went on sale and could no longer be returned….is somewhere deep in that psych you guys are now privileged to.

Anyway, he breaks away from Spanish….I hate when he does that with me …. it’s just another way to castigate me (careful, careful) for my Spanish.  He says;  “You have to tell me what you just said again, but please honey, you look so beautiful tonight, I love your eyes…blah, blah, blah….tell me in English.” 

Yeah I know, the sweet talk gets me every time.  Geese, give me a break, at 50 whatever, my days are numbered for these types of adorations….I buckle.  I say;  “I saaaiiiidddddd……DO……YOU……..HAVE……..YOUR……..COOOOMMB?

He loses it.  He starts laughing and can not get control.  I have already lost mine as well and so this is not a pretty moment for us.  I hear the neighborhood go suddenly silent….I know that without a doubt that Mrs. Hill down the street is completely motionless, just straining so as not to miss a single sylable that’s to follow.

“Honey, amor, bebé es PEINE, no PENE.  Peine es comb, pene es penis.

Grrrrr  %&$#”                                                                                  Aquí estamos,   Joan

3 Responses to "¿Tienes tu pene? – Do You Have Your Penis?"
  1. jschugel says:

    I’ve always wondered about the word for comb. I have yet to use it because it’s too much like the other. Don’t they sound almost EXACTLY the same?? :)

  2. Well, let me just say it this way… I think that I am about 3 years away, with very intense pronunciation practice, before I am ready take on that word again! Can’t hear the difference… or at least can’t make the fine distinction with my tongue. I suppose it’s as close as “Couch” and “Coach” for the ‘other side’. ¡jaja! -Joan

  3. Joan Rojas says:

    With permission, I am adding an email sent to Luis and I from one of our readers who has become a friend of ours … I wanted to pass it along because it speaks to how learning Spanish for her has become an instrument to provide critical and meaningful care to others…. thank you for sharing this story with us Trisha!

    Joan y Luis,
    This is easier to write about than to share over Skype and for that reason I didn’t tell Luis yesterday. During our lunch at my house one of my students who is more of a friend than just a student, got a phone call from a doctor. I have known Gloria since the first semester that I taught ESL 5 years ago. I must be a pretty bad teacher because although she understands most everything in English – she refuses to speak in English. She passed me her phone and asked to me talk to the doctor’s office. I knew that she might need my help because 3 days prior I called the pediatrician for her. Her son, who is almost 2 has had a very sore penis, off and on for the past year, to the point where he won’t let anyone touch it. The pediatrician had referred her to a urologist and that was who was calling. I took the call and set the appointment up for 4pm that day (yesterday). The urologist asked questions, Gloria for the most part understood, told me in Spanish and I answered in English. He said, after examining the boy that he needed a circumcision. I looked him right in the face and said “Doctor, I have had a lot of conversations in Spanish but never have I discussed circumcions.” Immediately I knew I had to talk around this issue and find a way to tell her because either she didn’t understand his English – he is Indian from India with a strong accent of his own or she was stunned. I said “Gloria, el doctor dice que el va a cortar su pene.” Now her eyes were really popping out of their sockets. I said the word slowly in English, cir-cum-sizz-shon. Whew she got it and repeated the word. Ok, now we were communicating again. Your blog entry about comb vs penis went running through my brain. He wanted her to make a decision right on the spot. Was I saying it right? Did she understand that I meant penis not comb? Even if she didn’t quite get it all she agreed to the proceedure, we set a date and left. As you can imagine we had a good laugh all the way to the car. I am learning new words all the time and the next time I have to go to the urologist I will be better prepared!
    Have a good Friday.
    T

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