Dragonfly (c) Kristin Espinasse
If you are lucky enough to have wings, then fly. If you're lucky enough to have feet, then dance! (Thank you, Francie, for the dance link. More dancing in today's story....) Photo of une libellule, clinging to a pot of geraniums, taken last week.

dégouliner (day goo lee nay) verb

    : to trickle, to drip (with sweat)

Audio File:
(note: my 14-year-old son was half asleep when we recorded the following words.... don't miss it, Download this file)

je dégouline, tu dégoulines, il dégouline, nous dégoulinons, vous dégoulinez, ils dégoulinent => past participle = dégouliné

Le chercheur Michael Sawka peut prédire si, après un exercice physique, vous allez dégouliner de sueur ou rester frais (ou fraîche) comme une fleur. --from Courrier International

Thank you for helping to translate the example sentence in the comments box.

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Another cultural difference qui m'a frappée* when I first made it to France, was dance.

That is, I had never seen women dance with women before. Growing up, I was used to dancing with boys, boys with restless hand syndrome. French men have "travelling hands" too and, to get around those, French women simply dance around the men. Perhaps this gives them the appearance of dancing with each other, that is, with other women.

I'm not sure what the answer is... only that those French women are sharp, or sharp-footed. And so I watch, and do as they do.

That is how I found myself out there on the dance floor last Saturday night. Friends Sophie and Nicolas had their annual summer bash, a day-long feast that finishes sur la piste.* (Which, come to think of it, leads me to another hypothesis: maybe those French women aren't avoiding "travelling hands" after all... but are simply working off all the calories from the "bloating" buffet? Kind of like aerobic dance, back home--where women do indeed dance together, or side-by-side.)

Either hypothesis works well for me (especially after some of the men have drunk one too many or un de trop and are forgetting to dance with their own former brides; best to dance around those guys). And so it is that I find myself dancing with the wives.

Everything is going well, and I am amazed at how unawkward I feel; that is... until the hostess brings out another tray of food. And if there is one thing the French love more than the physical, it is the food cycle.

Just like that, the dance floor empties in a flash. By the time I realize what has happened, it's too late. Re the current predicament: I don't know what is awkward: the situation or the song.

The situation is that we are solo on the dance floor, just she and me.
And the song, of all songs is... well, you'll have to see this one for yourself ....

(note: if you are reading this via email, you will need to click over to the blog to watch the video "Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?" by Patti Labelle... with Raphael. Do not miss it!

* *

Post note: I have, once again, forgotten to plug the word of the day into the story (the word being "dégouliner" or "to trickle". But trust me, I did sweat this one out, dancing until the very getcha getcha ya ya da da END of the song. Like any dancer worth her salt (dégoulinant* à gogo...) I practiced the ol' show biz mantra: le spectacle doit continuer!* And what a spectacle.

Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are welcome and appreciated in the comments box.

~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~
qui m'a frappée = that struck me; sur la piste (de dance) = on the dance floor; dégoulinant à gogo = trickling à gogo; le spectacle doit continuer! = the show must go on

More of that libellule: click to enlarge this photo
libellule (c) Kristin Espinasse


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Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France ... speaking of lessons, I will be joining three more authors at the American Library in Paris, to talk about "fish out of water experiences" living in la belle France.

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Bill in St. Paul

Here's my translation of the phrase:
The reseracher Michael Sawka can predict if, after a physical exercise, you are going to be dripping with sweat or remain fresh (m) (fresh (f)) as a flower.

Sophie and Nicolas' party sounds like a blast!


Salut Bill! Thank you for the translation. Sophie and Nicolas party was fun. I didn't metion that each year there is a boules tournement. (In fact, there is a boule tournement no matter when or where we meet up.)


Hi Kristi,

I love the 'boys with restless hand syndrome'... Boys will be boys no matter where.


Think the phrase is "Fresh as a daisy" in English.

Enjoy this site énormément!

Jon North

Lots I could say about this Kristin, but you will want to be off to Croatia and who can blame you? All I hope, when you come back, is that you can find a way to put accesnts into your blog titles. It's just my pedantic virgo brain, but it seems without them that you are letting people off with only 90% of the story... Have a good break x J


I almost mistranslated. Thought frais meant strawberry!


I have this vision of you desperately hauling your son out of bed in the middle of the night to record for us! Bless his heart!


Carey: Truth is, I avoid recording my voice for the soundfiles at all costs. I would not want to be a bad influence on anybody else's pronunciation... what with my own *strong* American accent.

For this reason I was so relieved to hear Max dragging his feet down the hallway this morning. "Max! I need your help!" He made this recording on the first try (only messing up the name "Michael", pronouncing it as the French "Michel" :-)

I did have a plan B... on realizing that all the Francophones in our household were occupied (with sleep, or with farming): to call Jean-Marc in from the vines, where he was busy with tractor work. I like to think our wine will be better, now that Max made the sound file, leaving his dad to concentrate on the maturing grapes (which are nearly ripe!).


Dear Kristin,

Too funny and entertaining as usual. I am so happy about the word degouliner because je degouline comme ....I do sweat unlady like, comme un cochon but I am sure this is wrong. Ha ha...sounds funny.

Yes, personal space and interactions are very different in US and Europe. Just do as the Romans do, right, and isn't there a French expression for this too?

Ha ha about the dance number...and you being left sur la piste. Drole!




The researcher Michael Sawka is able to predict whether, after physical exercise, you're going to drip with sweat or remain fresh as a daisy.


Reading the comment above--

Is there a French expression roughly equivalent to "When in Rome...?"

Incidentally, in Rome they say, "Paese che vai, usanza che trovi." ([Whatever] country you go to, [adopt] the customs you find there.)


I have no clue as to how one would say "Paese che vai..." Thank god my colleague is Sicilian. Thanks for the expression!


Mona & Christine,

About: 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do'

-> "Il faut hurler avec les loups"

-> "Il faut faire comme les gens du pays".


Hi Kristin,
Very interesting articles about Le Domaine Rouge Bleu and the interview. Best wishes to Jean-Marc!

Here, in modern dances, disco dances, people dance facing each other and move around each other, (arms and hands sweeping or punching the air), following the rhythm.
'Partner dances' (with couples holding each other) are more for traditional “Ballroom” dancing where the man is the leader and the woman the follower (not sure it's always the case, but...) --- and of course, for all “slow” dances …

In France, at your friends' Summer party, how nice to see you 'dance as the French women did'! Your 'individual' dancing among the wives sounded energetic, fun … and surely trouble free. Glad you joined in and enjoyed it! … Oh well, “tant pis” for the tray of food you missed! Quite a funny way to describe the finale!

I love the fact that ALL the colours in your two photos blend so well with the soft and warm colour of the terracotta pot... The wings (first photo) & the geranium leaves (second photo) - zoomed in – gave me a wonderful visual treat! Merci mille fois.

Before I left my house this afternoon, it was quite wet outside. Having read your Newsletter I felt the verb “dégouliner" was so right for what was happening outside.
“Dehors, ça dégouline!” …
I got a lift but, on my way back, I walked home (without an umbrella) and enjoyed getting wet... When I arrived home 45 minutes later, I was “toute dégoulinante” - but very happy anyway, and certainly in tune with the 'word of the day'.

Patience Tekulsky

Kristin, I spend summers in Vermont near the Quebec border. On a visit to Sutton, Que, to visit a French -Canadian friend, we were window shopping when she spied something that was so delicious so I said " Tu dois avoir les yeux vert" thinking everyone connected green eys and envy. Oops, wrong....she looked at me so puzzled we switched to English. Quelle domage y amusant!.
Patience T.


Hola Kristi,
I am still busy at work so here are just 3 quick things I want to say that made my day today:

I was half asleep too this morning when I heard your son’s recording... super sweet, loved the pronunciation... but for sure I didn’t look as cute as he probably did!

I LOVE both pictures today… in everyway... technically and artistically speaking. BRAVO KRISTIN!!!

And I am still laughing because of the video you posted... Raphael was a big hit in Mexico during the 70’s (I think he still tours in Mexico)... always dressed in black and very dramatic! It was a funny flashback to see him in your blog today!





I'll be off for 2 weeks and will enjoy a well-deserved "rest" (with gentle and regular arm exercises)!
There will be no internet... so no FWAD & no Cinéma Vérité.

Have a lovely holiday in Croatia with your family!

Symptoms of HPV

Thanks for the post! And I love the first photo. Although it made me hungry. Now, that's weird.

Jennifer in OR

Max sounded darling! And you must be a brave woman, to remain out on the dance floor for this song. :-) The video was so funny.

Cynthia in the French Alps

Love your photos as usual and learned alot from this segment. Thanks.
I also see you're having the same black thumbnail for your Youtube videos as I am. Hope they fix it soon. A bientot, Cynthia in the French Alps

nadine goodban

In France, just as in the U.S., there are more women than men, therefore, those women who love to dance would rather dance with their counterparts than NOT dancing at all. And so, in every ball you always see women dancing together. They do not wish to be stuck on their chair... "faire tapisserie" as the expression goes ...
And no one would ever criticize them or find them weird. Mais non, c'est juste une vieille habitude parmi les françaises !!!


Growing up in with polka music in a Bohemian (Czech)community ( it was always played at wedding receptions in the bar halls) women frequently danced with each other and children would also be on the dance floor. Everybody drank too much and had so much fun. It was a release from lives filled with hard work and worry. I never did take to polka music, but I still dance with other women if my younger husband tires.

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