Even having a migraine, with all of its painful and ugly connotations, sounds romantic in French. According to one of my favorite books, Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language From the South of France, by Kristin Espinasse (an American married to a Frenchman and living in Provence), to have a migraine in French is avoir la tête comme une citruille. Literally translated into English, this means “to have a pumpkin head,” which is amusingly descriptive of a migraine. If, that is, someone is pounding violently upon the pumpkin that is one’s head.
However, I did discover another tip in the same chapter. The chapter is called is Citrouille and is about Espinasse’s rather hilarious attempt to celebrate Halloween American-style with her bewildered French neighbors. Next time vous avez la tête comme une citrouille, simply scream at your pumpkin head “Allez-vous-en!” (get out of here!) Scream as loud as you can with someone whacking at your pumpkin head with a hammer, anyway.
I apologize for my lousy French grammar, by the way. Should mon la tête comme une citrouille ever va-t-en laisse-moi tranquille (go away and leave me alone), I hope to brush up on my college French.
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