Burlesque in Burgundy... (A Cheeky Cabaret to Celebrate a friend's 50th birthday)
Friday, November 12, 2021
If you are here for the photo of the semi-clad dancers, you’ll need to click over to the blog for the full version of this steamy letter!
Today's French Word: le déguisement
: costume, disguise; dressing up clothes, wearing fancy dress
Audio/Listening: Click the link below to hear the French words in today's séduisante story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
"Tarzan is Happy"
En route to Burgundy to celebrate a friend's cinquantenaire, Jean-Marc was having difficulty shifting gears in our jeep. His right hand was swelling up from une crise de goutte ! I was feeling so sorry for him until our conversation switched from his gouty arthritis to details about our weekend rendezvous with twenty friends. Ever trying to fit in with the French, I had asked my husband multiple times about the dress code. Each time his response was the same: he didn't have any information in particular.
Getting information out of my man is like pulling teeth! Une vraie galère!
Considering how cold it might be en Bourgogne, I decided on black jeans and a black col roulé for Saturday night. But now, an hour away from Gevrey-Chambertin, busy helping my husband shift gears, I saw an update on his phone from the group we were meeting up with. Scrolling through his messages, a few words jumped right off the screen.
SOIRÉE DE GALA???
Suddenly Jean-Marc yelped in agony as he returned his swollen hand to the steering wheel, but this time I didn't respond "Pauvre-toi!" I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, picturing all the wives in exquisite evening attire. When the torturous thought had run its course, Reason had its say: Oh, laisse tomber tout ça! What would it matter in 100 years? Besides, this would be a good exercise in l'humilité.
But humility is also knowing when to ask for help. Our 6-hour drive over, we joined our friends for lunch at La Part des Anges to savor specialties including Boeuf bourguignon, les escargots, and la volaille de Bresse. During a lag in the conversation, I fessed up about my clothing predicament and, illico, one of the women offered to lend me an elegant chemise. Parfait! Merci!
(Speaking of “fessing up”... Did you know fesses in French means "butt"? If that seems off-topic read on...)
That night at the beautiful Castel de Très Girard hotel the women were dressed to the nines, but after the festive evening began they ditched their gowns and slipped into itsy-bitsy costumes for a spicey mise-en-scène....
There was a hush as the guest of honor sat in the middle of the party room, his back to the door. Soon we heard a rumble from the “jungle" when Serge Lama's song, Et Tarzan est Heureux, came on. The door opened and a delicate Geisha took tiny tiny steps towards our newbie Cinquantenaire, fussing over him before shuffling off stage. Next, a saucy cowgirl galloped in... after a few whips of her lasso she exited stage left in time for La Policière to saunter forth and issue him a ticket (which she tucked beneath his belt). As each dancer sashayed her way off stage, the audience belted out the song's joyous refrain....
“...et Tarzan est heureux!”
“...et Tarzan est heureux!”
Tarzan did indeed look happy! The burlesque continued with a voluptuous visit from “L'infirmière” (the Nurse), the sensual “Pilote d'avion,” the steamy “Soubrette” (that's a cheeky way to say Maid) and finally, The Birthday Boy’s own wife, and you have never seen a more ravishing (and provocative) Pirate!
With forward and backward flips of their skirts à la Folies Bergères, all wives (or most all wives...) returned center stage. By now my husband had completely forgotten about his excruciatingly painful gout!
Quant à moi, I wasn't sure whether to feel left out or enormously relieved not to be shaking my booty beside the other femmes-séductrices. Oh, laisse tomber! All that mattered was whether our beloved guest of honor was having a good time on his half-century mark. Just then, the song’s refrain seemed to confirm it:
Et Tarzan est heureux!
Et Tarzan et heureux!
I leave you with a photo (many thanks to our friends for permission to post it!) and a sound file of the catchy Tarzan song. The lyrics are un peu osé! Here are the first lines in English...
(For all lyrics in French and in English, click here)
Listen to "Tarzan est heureux", click here
le déguisement = costume, dress up clothes
séduisant(e) = seductive
en route = on the way
le cinquantenaire = 50th birthday
une vraie galère = a real pain, a real chore
la crise de goutte = an attack of gout
La Bourgogne = Burgundy
le col roulé = turtleneck
la soirée gala = gala reception
pauvre-toi = poor you
laisse tomber tout ça = forget about all that
la part des anges = "the angel's share" refers to the wine that evaporates during fermentation
le boeuf = beef
la volaille = poultry
illico = right away, presto
la chemise = blouse
la fesse = cheek (bottom)
les fesses = butt
la mise-en-scène = setting up the scene
l’infirmière = nurse
la soubrette = maid
quant à moi = as for me
les femmes séductrices = seductive wives
un peu osé = a little daring
Wearing my dear friend’s chemise. Thank you, Isild 💕
Photo from several years ago. A clay poultice (covered with a Harry's Bread sack) to help alleviate Jean-Marc's gout. For more about his painful gouty arthritis, click here
That's all for this playful edition! If you enjoyed it please share it with a friend. Take care and "see you" next week.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
Woulld love to know what déguisement you would have chosen. Maybe Tarzan’s Jane…..
Posted by: Suzanne Dunaway | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 02:58 PM
That was quite a night. It was good that you had met up with some of the guests prior to the celebration. Sometimes men just don’t get it. They wear what they want, but women need to be dressed appropriately for the occasion. Sounds like your elegant chemise from your friend, fit in perfectly. Do we get to see how elegant you looked.
The party sounds like a blast. Glad that you had a fun time.
Posted by: Kathleen Bidney | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 03:17 PM
Kathleen, I forgot to post a photo, but have just now added it.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 03:31 PM
Suzanne, That is a good one! Jane... sure beats “The Nun.”
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 03:35 PM
From my point of view, this post encapsulates the best reasons for having chosen to live in France!
Posted by: Robaire | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 03:57 PM
I just adore every single of your posts, this one was so much fun to read about. As I was reading it and listening to the song, I felt that, I was part of such fun b'day celebration. You are a natural beauty, you look great no matter what you wear.
Posted by: Marti Hinman | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 04:08 PM
At least Jean-Marc was distracted from his pain for a while. I am fortunate not to have such pain, but I have friends who find some relief for hand pain with warm paraffin baths. You can find reviews of small devices that are designed to safely immerse the hand in warm paraffin wax (some more reasonably priced than others) by searching something like "Ten best paraffin wax baths."
Posted by: Paul | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 05:17 PM
Thank you, Marti!!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 05:29 PM
Just what I needed today. It's dreary, rainy, chilly and I've got the covid booster blues. Sounds like a great party! The Tarzan song is too funny. I will learn it and snicker my way to better fluency. Gout/arthritis? NSAIDS and steroids during, full body massage in between to keep the acid/crystals from settling??? And hydrate!!
Posted by: Karen in NY | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 06:09 PM
What a fun post!! I had never heard that song,it's hilarious!
Please tell Jean-Marc to avoid asparagus, spinach, and rich meats and shellfish, and his gout will disappear faster. Having had one extremely painful episode several years ago in my big toe, I resolved never to go through that again, and did a lot of research.He needs to drink LOTS of water, drink TART cherry juice and find some celery seed capsules, they dissolve the crystals that get stuck in the joints and cause all that pain. You can have all the above delicious food, but in moderation ( like everything else) I have never had another episode. He can google the foods to avoid. Who would have thought Spinach, and not Arugula ???? Also avoid beer for a while. Good luck!
Posted by: Suzanne Codi | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 08:07 PM
Our dear Kristi,
Another wonderful post with words that just capture my imagination!
What a party!!
And despite the obstacles(!) a really happy celebration was enjoyed by all!
Fifty is such a great age( spoken by one who experienced it 25 years ago!)
But then, I absolutely believe that any age is great as long as you are bien dans votre peau.
Thank you for this reminder!!
Posted by: Natalia | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 08:54 PM
Posted by: Muriel | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 10:29 PM
Great party and wonderful friends. What could be better?
Posted by: Lynn | Friday, November 12, 2021 at 10:38 PM
Une bonne histoire! Jean-Marc, peut-il améliorer son « goût arthritis » s’il ne mange pas des lentilles et s’il ne boit pas le vin rouge?
Posted by: Joanne Ablan | Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 12:47 AM
When I hear "fesses," I think about the old lady in Voltaire's Candide, who tells the story of her life to Candide and his "belle Cunegonde." The old lady has only one "fesse' which makes it hard for her to ride a horse! Her story about how she lost her other "fesse" is a lesson in humility and fortitude, meant to make Cunegonde stop complaining about what she has gone through and what she has lost. At least she has both her "fesses..." Voltaire was brilliant.
Posted by: Joan | Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 05:28 AM
Hey Kristie, long time! My husband used to get gout attacks in his ankle due to an old injury but then we discovered tart cherry juice capsules and within a few days of taking them, swelling was gone! If he stays on a regimen of these caps, he should have no future problems.
Posted by: Young | Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 10:40 PM