We were watching The Holiday.
(You know, the movie with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, and they switch houses for Christmas and then fall in love and stuff? And Jude Law has two tiny daughters who each have their own cellphone. Don’t get me started on that plot point.)
Right, so we were watching The Holiday, and we got to this scene. (Skip to 1:40 to get to my point.) Iris (aka Kate Winslet) is telling Arthur about the jackass she left back in England, and Arthur simply says, “So he’s a schmuck.”
Hugo paused the movie. “Ça veut dire quoi, un schmuck?” he asked me.
“Um, a schmuck is like, a not nice guy. Kind of a jerk. Or like, a stupid person you don’t like.” He repeated it a few times. “Schmuck. Schmuck? Schmuck!”
And we carried on with the movie. (Spoiler alert – Kate Winslet got rid of her schmuck and Cameron Diaz learned to cry. Hooray.)
The next day, we were on the road and Hugo wanted to stop at McDo, but I disagreed. “Noooon, pas McDo, not McDonald’s!” I groaned. He looked at me sideways with a glint in his eye and exclaimed, “Schmuck!”
For the next few days, he wielded his new word with relish at any opportunity that prompted an insult.
“Tu as mangé le dernier biscuit! You ate the last cookie! Schmuck!”
And just now: “Hey chéri, you said it was okay for me to blog about when you learned the word ‘schmuck’ right?”
“Non, schmuck! …just kidding, tu peux.”
I always hesitate to blog about funny things Hugo says in English because I don’t want it to seem like I’m making fun of him – really, his English is excellent. He can keep up in conversations with my family and anglophone friends so well that I never worry about it. He can properly pronounce “squirrel” and “hungry” which we all know is quite an accomplishment. But sometimes he says stuff like “Your feets are cold!” and “It’s in minty condition” which I think is so, so cute. But maybe it’s less cute if you’re not dating him, which I assume no one else is.
For a truly hilarious blog about an American expat’s foreign spouse’s English quips, you must read Oh My God My Wife Is German. Trust me.