Qui aurait imaginé?


There are always opportunities to learn, even years after the fact.

Following one of our book group meetings at The Carlyle, Claire and I popped into a chic shoe store on Madison Avenue before heading toward the subway. I spotted a pair of gold sandals de très bon goût, and completely unlike the photo featured here. I was convinced Claire had to have them and began making my case. They look amazing with your scarf. (A recent birthday gift from her parents.) You can wear them to clubs. (My fantasy, not hers.)

She turned in front of the mirror, sighed, and took a last look before returning them to the box. “Ça me fait une belle jambe.” Huh? They did make Claire’s long legs look even longer, but it was uncharacteristic of her to say so. And why wouldn’t she buy them, since they were so flattering?

Years later and I’ve just come upon the expression again to discover its true meaning: Ne servir à rien.

I didn’t agree with Claire then. Or Bob Seger now. Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.

I’m grateful for my own malentendus, providing they help me understand, and maybe even retain, certain idiomatic expressions une fois pour toutes.

— Linda

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