That said, in a culture this nakedly libidinous, insulting someone by referencing fornication doesn’t pack quite the same punch as it does in the U.S., where the “U” might as well stand for “unlaid.” Consequently, to really get a French person’s dander up, you’ve got to take the reverse tack. Try calling them mal baisé and see how long it takes the wine glass in their hand to connect with your skull.
Thanks to the wonderfully polysemous nature of French, with its words carrying so many meanings, when you hurl mal baisé at someone, you’re not only saying they’re “poorly fucked,” you’re also implying they’re terrible at fucking or haven’t ever been fucked at all! In a city like Paris, it’s the ultimate indignity. Sacre bleu!
When France surrendered Canada to England in the 1760s after a war and treaty, it forked Gallic culture in two very different directions.
While the European French underwent centuries of political revolution and social upheaval, their tongues and morals loosening along the way, Québec played relatively nice and let the Catholic Church run the show until the middle of last century. The result is a weird, horny little province where nudity is a regular part of breakfast (google “serveuse sexy”) and B&Bs leave books by the Marquis de Sade on the nightstands, but where the most potent word you can say derives from “tabernacle.” That’s the box in a Catholic church where they keep the communion wafers. Tabernak — French Canadian slang for “fuck” — is used to express immense excitement (akin to “Fucking awesome!”) or when a resident of the province smashes their thumb with a hammer. Tabernak! Tabernak! Tabernak!
Incidentally, two other big curse words are hostie (the wafers themselves) and calisse (the chalice you drink communion wine out of). These words are not only fully interchangeable, you can also cram them all together to make a triple-swear. Ah, calisse d’hostie de tabernak! It’s the holy trinity of cussin’.
These guys say “fuck” the same way we do, but boy, do they say it a lot. Half the time it’s not even really a word, but simply a sound they make to fill in speech gaps, like Americans might say “um” or “like.” If you really wanna get a Canuck’s goat, the best way is to disparage their work ethic. The insult “dog fucker” originated as a reference to someone so lazy they can’t even be bothered to find another human to have sex with, and so look to canines. While laziness is common around the world, proud Canadians really don’t like being called on it.
You can also call them a “goof” — the verbal equivalent of dropping an atomic bomb — to emphasize your Canadian target’s slacker ways. Maybe throw “Canuck” in there for added impact. For some reason it still bums a lot of them out.
You know your culture might be a little on the religious side when you let the Pope have his own country inside your country. Ditto when you can watch reality TV stars screw on prime-time television, but then get kicked off the air for blaspheming the Lord.
If you’ve spent enough time around Italians, you’ve probably heard all manner of colorful signifiers for copulation and the anatomical components involved.
It’s entirely possible, however, your ears have never been blessed with the king-mother-god-emperor of Italian swears. It’s a two-word phrase so heavy, so laden with fury, that even Italians who regularly exclaim pota di Christo (“Christ’s cunt”) or cazzo Maria (“Mary’s dick”) would hesitate to let it pass through their lips.
You ready for it?
Porco dio. That’s it. “Pig god.” I used to think the porco in porco dio worked the way we sometimes say “porking” to mean “fucking.” Like, “No way, that dude porked Bethany?!” THAT at least made sense. I mean, sure, “fuck god” is a pretty extreme sentiment. But porco does not equal “pork,” not as a verb for “fucking,” not even as a noun. When an Italian yells “Porco dio!” the meaning is literal. “Pig god!”