Milky, Milky

milk 1So how does a British cockroach scavenge a living on the mean streets of Madrid? I teach English to business people, scurrying around the city from one company to another, giving classes in offices and other bizarre but available places like Real Madrid Stadium anti-doping rooms, and even the mail room at a Very Big Bank.

As I was leaving class with some of the students the other day, we were walking through the inner courtyard of the bank which was lined with gleaming black audis.

‘Jesus, there are more chiefs than indians in this place.’ one of my students muttered.

‘Maybe the Governor’s in today’. said one of the others and informed me, ‘The Governor is very small.’ indicating around waist height.’ ‘He has the problems of a little man.’

‘And,’ confided one of the others ‘he has very bad milk.’milk 2

I have lived in Spain long enough to know exactly what this means. It means he is an evil little fucker. ‘Having bad milk’ implies that you are sour, curdled, and intentionally nasty. Reassuring to know our economic future is in the hands of a poison dwarf.

The expression got me thinking about the contrasting connotations of such a simple thing as ‘milk’ in both our cultures. Take expressions with milk in English:

milk 3‘He’s a milksop’. Does anybody know exactly what a milksop is? It could only refer to some cheese-loving, namby-pamby Northern European. You can’t help but think of her ‘milky white breasts quivering above the tight lacing of her bodice.’ You can? Oh well, must just be me, then.

‘The milk of human kindness.’ How very British. Human kindness itself quanitifiable in terms of abundant dairy produce.

‘Land of milk and honey’. Getting a bit sticky and middle eastern here, but along the same lines.

And ‘to milk it for what it’s worth.’ A little more vigorous as expressions go, but hardly offensive in any way.

And now for a look at the implications of ‘milk’ in the Spanish language.

‘Me cago en la leche!’ An expletive which literally translated means ‘I shit in the milk!’ But not just in the milk, guys, ‘in your mother’s milk’. Ten out of ten for boisterousness, descriptiveness and for being gloriously gross.

milkman 2So, mother’s milk is fair game. But be warned: there is plenty more natural milk waiting to be unleashed from the human body. And if the British subtly reference dairymaids and milk churns in our language, don’t forget the Spanish will have a macho equivalent. Here come the bulls, Baby. Oh yes, ‘milk’ is also a thinly-veiled (and sometimes not veiled at all) reference to spunk. What’s an English girl to do when faced with the question

‘Do you want my milk? Where do you want my milk? Do you want all of it?’ as if being interrogated on the doorstep by some rampant milkman.

And finally ‘Es la leche!’ ‘It’s the milk!’ which is a good thing, apparently. A bit like ‘the dogs’ bollocks’ but I’m not even going to go down that road. Not today, anyway.milkman 3

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