cafard
libérer

cul sec

Serignan_courtyard

cul sec! (kew sek)
  bottoms up! down the hatch! cheers!

The expression refers to leaving the bottom of a glass (cul) dry (sec), having emptied its contents. The French definition is "Boire un verre d'une seule traite." "To drink a glassful in one gulp".

                                    *     *     *
Cake update: I've posted my mother-in-law's chocolate cake recipe over at the Pif (that's "peef") blog: http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/recipe
.

Column
Fifty kilometers north of Avignon, in the toasting, teetering town of Tulette, there is a little watering hole disguised as a proper buvette.* Chouette!*

There, at a table by the window, two expat-strangers conversed in a formal style called "get-to-know".

With set faces and serious eyes, the women -- stiff and secure behind their fruity Mai Tais (OK, the drink part's a lie*) ...

...were about to unwittingly zap that suffocating "small talk" trap...
When in walked a drunkard who all but sat in their laps.

In slavering French, with a thirst that vodka couldn't quench, our slurry seatmate began to relate...

...babbling on in a futuristic French tense, in a language so evolved that it made little sense.

"Cul sec!"* said he, raising his glass.
"Cul sec!" he sang. "Cul sec!" he sneezed.
Meanwhile his timid tablemates shared knowing glances, mouthing doubts about "was the guy tipsy?"
"Cul sec!" slurred he in what was possibly repartee.

It was thanks to this French equation (for all the man wanted, in the end, was a "cul sec!" translation) that the women, once straight-faced strangers and stiff, became fast friends in a language jiff.

                                       *     *     *

Seated across from me, and Mr. Tipsy, was the writer who recently reviewed my book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
References: la buvette = refreshment room (café); chouette! = cool!; lie = (we were just drinking coffee); cul sec! = bottoms up!

In books/France: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly:
"This heartbreaking story by a uniquely gifted writer is about transforming pain into creativity, human despair into literary miracle." -- Elie Wiesel

Gifts and more:
"FRENCH in 10 minutes a day" is a fun, dynamic and engaging way to begin your love affair with French.
"La France" Magnetic Puzzle -- learning tool includes the French regions and French departments with their specialties
In French Music: Pop à Paris - More Rock n' Roll and Mini Skirts
French Country Diary 2008 (Calendar)