prendre pour acquis



Ulysse (c) Kristin Espinasse

Today we learn the French word for "bouncer". I'd say Ulysse, pictured here, would make a good one, wouldn't you? What might the name of his nightclub be called? If we use the example in today's story (in which we remember the nightclub "Hotbods"), then might we call Ulysse's club "HotDogs"?

Chief Grape will be in Orange County, CA on March 20th! Check out some of the other cities he is visiting, click here.

videur (vee-deuhr)

   : bouncer (nightclub)

Example Sentence

A la porte de la bôîte de nuit, il y a un videur qui vérifie les cartes d'identité.
At the door of the nightclub, there is a bouncer who checks IDs. 



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

The Midnight Run

When Max asked me to drive him to a nightclub at 12:30 a.m., I felt the first pangs of loss for my husband. Chief Grape, who is on a business trip, would not be volunteering to do the driving!

I got to bed by 10:30 p.m., hoping for a few hours of sleep before the night run, but Max woke me up earlier than expected. "Mom, on part dans une demi-heure".

Lying under the covers, fully dressed, keys in hand, I might have easily slept up until departure time, but I couldn't blame Max for taking precautions. This would be his first nightclub experience and he wasn't going to miss one minute of it.

The midnight drive through the countryside was surreal; we passed ancient chateaux and thousand-year-old French cathedrals. I thought back to my first nightclub experience, and to the drive through the streets of downtown Phoenix. There were a lot of stoplights and flashing signs, then; now, in the middle of the campagne, there were only old stone structures and stars. To think that we were nearly 30 years into the future... yet seemingly farther into the past! 

"Hotbods" was the first nightclub I snuck into at Max's age (16). It was a gay club, and almost a sure bet for minors hoping to fool the bouncers with their fake IDs. My date, C, drove me. I was mad about C (un jeune homme)... but began to wonder whether C was mad about drag queens--there seemed to be a few at Hotbods....

Hotbods... what a name! What a memory! It was now my son's turn to make memories, here at a nightclub with a more classic name: Le Monte Carlo. I pulled into the dirt driveway and shut off the engine. We sat facing the dark freestanding building; only a garland of red lights ran along the roof's edge, adding to the mystery.

Max and his friend Timothy, seated in the back of the car, calculated the entrance, where a burly man in a dress shirt guarded the door. 

The boys wore dress shirts, too--but would this be enough to fool the burly videur? In France, you need to be 18-years-old to get into a boîte de nuit. But Max and Tim had a plan: two girl friends were about to arrive. "Si on entre avec une fille, on nous laisse passer". I guess having a girl on one's arm lends a certain maturity to one's person.

Their plan seemed a little farfelu to me, but what did this old crow know?

I watched the girls arrive, kiss Max and Timothy, and off walked the two newly formed couples... easily slipping past the bouncer. Come to think of it, hadn't C and I used that same plan almost 30 years ago? 

At 4:30 a.m. I was awakened by an SMS from Max. It read: meet me at 5:30 next to the stadium. He might have waited another 45 minutes to send the wake-up call. But I couldn't complain too much. At least the boys had had a safe night. I looked forward to hearing all about it, once they got their hotbods out of that boîte.


Did you ever sneak into a nightclub or make yourself a fake ID? .... 


These were the good ol' days, before the powers that be stamped "Under 21" in bold red on one's license.

My son, Max, is the same age as I am in this photo (almost 17), though he is much smarter--he would never done such a poor job altering his ID. And he might have written YES! in the organ donor box. Had I read The Story of Nai... I might have done so too!


French Vocabulary

on part dans une demi-heure = we leave in a half-hour

la campagne = the countryside

un jeune homme = a young man

un videur = bouncer in a nightclub or bar

la boîte de nuit = nightclub

si on entre avec une fille, on nous laisse passer = if we come in with a girl, they'll let us pass

farfelu(e) = scatty, odd, crazy


Mary and Peggy and Allen and Mary Ann

From left to right Allen, Mary, Jean-Marc, Peggy, Mary Ann. Peggy writes: We had a lovely visit with Chief Grape last night in Alexandria, Virginia.  He signed my copy of "Blossoming in Provence" and of course, we bought some of your wonderful wine


Bill by Peggy

And here are Chief Grape and Bill.

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