“What the hell is that?”

We were riding the tramway to take Mark to the Jardin des plantes. I was busy drinking my can of Coke Zero behind the stroller, hoping Mark wouldn’t notice my caffeine fix—else he would whine non-stop to have a taste (not that we ever let him… he does NOT need coffee!).

“What is what?”

“This.”

Feng was pointing at a poster in the tramway.

“Oh, it just says that if you’re under 18, you can buy a yearly pass for…”

“No, no, I mean, what’s with the picture?”

The poster depicted a young Asian-looking girl with two fingers in her nose, one in each nostril.

I looked at Feng, puzzled.

“Why is she picking her nose?”

Suddenly, I understood Feng’s surprise.

“Fingers in the nose!” I laughed. “Les doigts dans le nez—it’s a French idiom, it’s used to describe something that’s super easy. I guess they want to show that buying the pass is the easiest and cheapest way to ride the tramway.”

“Seriously?”

“Well… yeah. Eh, don’t look at me like this, I didn’t invent it!”

Language is cultural, isn’t it!

Fingers in the Nose (Tan Ad Campaign, July 2014)
Fingers in the Nose (Tan Ad Campaign, July 2014)

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6 Comments

  1. Gail at Large July 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

    I would’ve NEVER guessed that meaning on my own!

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      It is a weird idiom!

      Reply
  2. Cynthia July 23, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Beurk, I find the picture kind of disgusting, not the greatest ad idea!

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Yeah, it’s not a great idea!

      Reply
  3. Lily July 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Indeed… Even though I’m French and know the idiom, I find the pic’ disgusting :/

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I agree. Not an idiom I use a lot, actually.

      Reply

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