Man and men, a fine line of difference
Sunday 13 November 2011, 1.56pm HKT
Updated 14 Nov 2011: Chinese characters corrected.
Updated 15 Nov 2011: typos corrected.
THERE IS A FINE LINE of difference between your man and your men:
“You’re meant to choose your man [husband]. But you go and choose men — shameless.”
(Two women at the next table, 30-somethings, at the café, today, 10am)
(Disclaimer: I can’t type Chinese. I am not even 50% sure the Chinese below is accurate.)
In English, ‘choosing a man’ and ‘choosing men’ just possibly have very close meanings, and you might just miss it if you’re not paying enough attention.
It’s much funnier and helluva lot more entertaining in Cantonese. ‘Choosing a man’ and ‘choosing men’ have wildly different meanings — and the source of much priceless lulz from watching people squirm in public embarrassment.
(Hilarity ensues and drinks all round.)
You see, in Cantonese, which was what those two MILFs were talking in this morning:
- ‘choosing a man’ = gaan lo gung (揀老公) = choosing (looking for) the right man (husband)
- ‘choosing men’ = gaan naam yan (揀男人) = choosing (looking for) guys
Gaan (揀) is informal Cantonese for ‘to choose’ — what in formal Cantonese and standard Mandarin would be xuǎnzé (選擇) generally.
Lo gung (老公 rhymes with ‘low groan’) is Chinese-wide colloquialism for husband (literally, ‘old duke’).
(Quality of life just improved, knowing that the husband
or person with comparable functionality is The Old Duke.)
Naam yan (男人 : Mandarin nánrén) simply means man, men, male, menfolk.
* * *
The embarrassment (hilarity to the rest of us) comes flying in left, right and centre the moment you let loose gaan naam yan (揀男人) from your gob.
“Looking for dudes.”
“Looking for Mr Goodbar” (although not necessarily involving violent sexual activities, as was in that 1977 movie).
“CHECKIN’ OUT GUYS.”
“Examinin’ the menfolk.”
Doesn’t exactly strike the right note, does it, namsayin’? Or maybe it does in your book.
* * *
Even more entertaining (for bystanders) is the even more highly connotative Cantonese expression wun naam yan (搵男人).
Try to hold in your pee while you are gripped in a side-splitting stitch from laughter.
Wun (搵) means to search or rummage for. To ferret or to trawl in figurative sense.
Add on naam yan (男人 dudes) and you have the wonderful pee-releasing makings of the ultimate in self-pwnage if you are not clued into its usage.
Trawling for guys, baby, TRAAAWLIN’ for it.
‘Looking for a bit of crumpet’ but in reverse.
Same effect with wun nui yan (搵女人) — nui yan (女人) being ‘woman’ — trawling for women, usually in the meaning of whores or whore-sluts (but not bitch-sluts).
Don’t forget to put on your pair of brothel-creepers, boyo.
(Guffaws all round.)
(You’re fired for excessive weekend hilarity. — Editor)
* * *
Oh god, those two MILFs. They were pretty close to the edge in their conversation, and they didn’t even notice it.
And much fun had been had by all this morning.
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.
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Updated 14 Nov 2011 (correcting Chinese characters, in-text formatting).
Updated 15 Nov 2011 (correcting typos).