F…. fudge… Sh…sugar… – French swearing classes in Adelaide

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Swearing is a great release but not always socially acceptable. But what if you do it in a language no one else understands?


Sips and Giggles, a new Adelaide venture, is offering French cursing classes with the last one with a few tickets still available being tomorrow night (Wed 27 June is sold out).


What better way to spend a wintry Wednesday night than in a cosy bar (La Buvette in Gresham Place in the city) having a giggle while quaffing some French wine and learning French swear words!


For $50 you will receive a drink of your choice as well as an hour and a half of giggles while you learn the various categories of French words as well as which ones to use when and which ones to never ever use!


And because everything sounds better in French, why not take your potty mouth to the more sophisticated level?


I had a chat to Cheree of Sips & Giggles about the event


How did the idea come about?

I have a real passion for events and entertainment and watching people have fun. I found that the older I get and the more serious my jobs were there were fewer opportunities for me to just be silly, to just let go.


Meeting up with friends, we would all talk about our struggles whether it be relationships or kids or job and that in itself was therapeutic but you still walk away feeling a bit better but you’re still tired, you’re still over it and you don’t really want to wake up and do the same thing the next day.


So I wanted to create something where I was giving people moments that uplifted them, where they would walk out at the end of the evening and feel lighter and feel like they had lots of fun and lots of laughs. Swearing is always something that made me laugh and just generally potty mouth anything. So I thought how funny would it be to juxtapose that with something as beautiful as the French language?


So why French?

I love the language. I studied French in High School. I lived in Montreal for a year.


When was that?



What were you doing over there?

I worked for a couple of cruise ships and then went over there and I was then recruiting for Disney, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean just on a visa.


So you picked up some French there?

Well Quebecois, kind of!


I don’t know why it was the first language that I thought of but I just thought the two together… The French culture, the French way of being nonchalant, matched with the vibe I was trying to get. Plus I wanted to match the event to the venue. I knew of La Buvette and I knew that it had the feel that I wanted.


So that’s how it has all sort of come about.


So Sips and Giggles is relatively new then? Within the last month?

I called Dominique [at La Buvette] who put me onto Arnaud [our teacher].


So we did the first one and I had no idea it was going to get the interest that it had. The first one was really for friends and friends of friends and I put it up on Facebook and then I boosted the post through Facebook advertising – I spent $10 and within three or four days it had 1500 people interested, and within 6 days it was sold out and it had a waiting list of 90 people.


How many do you have?

30 is fairly cosy in there.


What kinds of crowd are you getting?

It’s so diverse, mostly professionals, 30s to 60s.


Are you getting any people who speak French coming along?

Yep, French natives.


Really? They could host the class!

But they just laugh and laugh at how funny it is. Arnaud is a really engaging teacher. He is very charismatic and makes a lot of jokes and is very interactive. So we had 2 native French people here last time and probably another 3 or 4 who were fluent speakers.


Having lived in Canada for a while, you must have picked up that a lot of the Canadian swear words are religious words? I only recently learned it when I interviewed Antoine Carabinier Lépine of the show Tabarnak at the Adelaide Fringe.

Yes and Arnaud does mention that. We have had good chats about that. That was one of the things I found so strange. When I was first in Montreal and one of my friends was showing me around in a street market and there were these t-shirts with a church steeple and Tabarnak written underneath them and I was like “That’s weird” and it was explained to be that it was such a rude word.


It did make me giggle when I saw all the posters for Tabarnak at the Fringe this year.


So what’s your favourite French swear word?

Haha. Merdouiller which he has written is “to fuck up gently”. I looked up the translation and I think it is more like “to stuff up” but I like that he has written “to fuck up gently” because it sounds so poetic.


Otherwise it’s “putain”. So that would be my favourite. There is a whole lot of content in the presentation and it goes through all the different types of swearing so gros mots, slang, langue verte, which I think is the more religiousy one. It talks about and he gives really good advice about which ones to never use and the cultural differences between how French and Australians swear. In France, swearing is considered a big deal whereas here you drop swearwords all the time. It gives you the context, like if someone says this to you, just run. If it’s talking about a family member, just don’t engage.


We have also had a few inquiries from people if there is something coming in other languages.


What languages have you been asked for?

Italian and Spanish. Things like winebars and cellar doors have expressed interest in doing something like this as a way of promoting themselves and I am open to all of those ideas. I don’t necessarily have the skill set but I am a good facilitator and organiser. I do all the behind the scenes stuff and let Arnaud take the class.


What level of French would you say you need to come to the class?

None. None at all. Because of all the translations are up there and really more than anything it is entertainment. There is a level of learning in it, depending on how many champagnes you drink. You get a note-book and a pen as you walk in so if there’s a particular word that tickles your fancy you can write it down and practice. Everyone gets a little card to take with them which has a few of the more favourite words, what to say to a man and what to say to a woman. So you get a few souvenirs and pieces to take with you but really it is just for fun.


How long does it go for?

About an hour and a half but that really depends on audience interaction. Last time we were here for 3 hours.


The thing that excited me the most was seeing the belly laughs. You see that weight lifted off of people. I remember as we were packing up at the end and a woman said to her friend “I don’t think I have laughed that much in months” and that was music to my ears. Whatever it is, if it lightens that load. That’s the other reason I chose Wednesdays because it will make the rest of the week easier.


Is there anything else?

The belly laughs is probably the biggest thing. We will endeavour to have people out the door by 9:30pm because we know it’s a school night and we are conscious of that.


What time does it start?

We start taking tickets at 7 and we go into the room at about 7:30-7:45. We give people a chance to wind down. I think you probably sleep better if you’ve had a good giggle.


So you get a glass with your ticket?

You can have a glass of their house, any tap beers or if there’s a gin you want to try, you can give that a crack as well. We are trying to set a premium event for people who want to have a good time. People take what they need and then they go inside to get a pen and notebook and the cheat sheet and we have actually just made some mugs as well with “Putain de…” so if you work in an office where no one speaks French that is a great thing to take into the boardroom!



13 June

27 June (now sold out)


Tickets are $50.

Discounts for groups of 4 or more – contact Cheree by email: sipsandgiggles [AT] mail.com which will make the tickets $40 each instead of $50.

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