I am writing an email to Alissa this morning. “Hi -,” I start. Then I pause. What is an acceptable nickname for your wife? Pine Tree? Fruitcake? I like fruitcake, but the meaning can be lost in the email medium. A small bird flew past the window. Perfect.
I decide to translate the word to German. “Vogel” means “bird”. We’re off to a good start. Let’s add the Swabian (southern Germany) diminutive ending, “le”, so “Vogelle”. But it somehow looks weird with two L’s in there, so maybe just “Vogele”. That looks right. Just to make sure we aren’t way off, let’s plug it into the Internet and see if this is actually a used word. Huh. Looks like I need an umlaut on the “o”, so let’s change that to “Vögele”. Excellent. “Hi Vögele!”
Turns out, “Vögeln” means “a fuck, or a screw”.
My darling, delightful fuck.
Luckily, she didn’t know the word, just assumed it meant “little bird”, and told me “it sounds cute!” I helpfully suggested that she wait until she’s at home before googling it.
I am a charmer.