We Da Men

on Tuesday, April 01, 2008



"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" so goes that famous saying. I often warn my wife to beware of taking advice from some obscure website with regards to health issues as often these websites take a little kernel of knowledge and turn it into a big bag of pop-corn emptiness.

My mother-in-law once had a severe headache but the only medication she could find was a time-release medicine capsule. She understood that the capsule consists of tiny little spheres which dissolve at different rates so that the medication is released gradually over 24 hours. However she wanted quick relief and so she rather "cleverly" crushed the capsule into fine powder and then mixed it in water to drink. Of course, she virtually over-dosed but luckily she woke up 12 hours later groggy but fine. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Or it might be darn embarrassing.

Before I continue, I must introduce you to my partner in shame. His name is Magdy and we were both bright, smart, whipper-snappers at University together. Our combined "little knowledge" would get us into some pretty dumb situations.

Well, perhaps one of the most memorable caper was when we were traveling in Germany and we needed to go to find a latrine at a train station. Our problem was that we did not speak much German at the time. The latrines were labeled "Herren" and "Damen" but which was for males and which for females?

I wonder, dear readers, which would you have chosen for men and which for women and why. As for Magdy and I, we put on our thinking caps and came up with this folly;

1. Assumption: most European languages were derived from and based on ancient Latin.
2. Assumption: we should be able to recognise the root word in either English or German. Just as "rat" is "ratte" and cat is "katze" and "Monday" is "Montag".
3. Therefore,we applied this logic and came up with Herren is for females as it has the root word "Her"
4. While "Damen" was obviously for men as it is clearly derived from "Da Men".

Hence this embarrassing story in which my intellectual dignity was only rescued by the presence of mind to ask Magdy to test out our theory first!

My apologies to mago and any German reader for the mess we made with your language. Who are we? We da men.

17 comments:

geewits said...

How odd that I got it right away! In German movies they always called men "Herr Wuntzen" or whatever and when I saw "Damen" I saw "Dame." Da Men? That's hilarious!

mago said...

:) No apologies needed!

Molly said...

This made me hoot! I was thinking "he'd have to choose "damen" for women, since dames are women...it came as a total surprise to realise that if it starts with h-e-r he might deduce....Ha!

Dave said...

I would have figured da men = dames. Maybe I shouldn't say that too loud! :-)

Janice Thomson said...

Good one Lgs! - though I too would have chosen Damen as being the Ladies - and hoped I was right heh.

Tai said...

LOL!!! You DA MAN! What a great story!

Dr.John said...

It is a great story but I am still confused.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

geewits,
It's not odd to get it right away! It's odd that I didn't get it!

mago,
You are so gracious.

molly,
Dames? what are those? I thought of Herren in the context of his and hers.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

dave,
You are a more logical man than me. :)

janice,
Everyone's got it right except me. :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

tai,
Thanks. You da damen.

dr. john,
The correct interpretation is that Herren is for males as in "Herr Goering". Damen is for women and the root word is Dame as in Dame Edna Everidge.

Baba Doodlius said...

Da men. I can now say that I have heard it all.

I no longer have an ass because I just laughed it off!

Thanks for that, squirrel!

meggie said...

I would have got it right. As others have said Herr is more or less Mr, & Damen, well I would think of Dam, being the mother, as in race horses.
Interesting little tale.

MedStudentWife said...

what a howl !!!!

I could really imagine you in this "episode".

I bet there are more stories of "trouble" you both have gotten into together. You must share !!!!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

baba,
Hope your ass-feathers will grow back. ;)

meggie,
"Dam being the mother as in horse racing". See, I didn't know that.

msw,
All in good time.....all in good time.

Gerbil said...

Heh. I only knew because my childhood friend's mother is German.

evalinn said...

Ha! :-D At least u got to do what u had to do? ;-)

Delirious said...

On a slightly different note...I was living in Beijing, China and went in to a public squat toilet restroom. There were no doors on the stalls, so I turned my back to the other women in the room. When I got ready to leave, I observed that each of them were carefully facing outwards, and realized that I had exposed my bare rear end to the whole room. Ahhh...bathroom ettiquette, such an elusive thing.

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