On Mustaches

I love chocolate. Yesterday, my boyfriend gave me a dark chocolate bar. Let’s say he knows the ways to my heart. Later he pretended to have stolen it and to have given it to the poor. He said, “Un bambino si sta leccando i baffi”.

“You say that?” I immediately giggled. It literally means ‘a child is licking his or her mustache’, with the sense of ‘a child is licking his or her lips’. Hee hee.

Then he said that it’s an everyday expression and that you can also say that something is così buono da leccarsi i baffi (so good it will make your mouth water) and literally means ‘so good it will make you lick your mustache’. Be it man, woman, girl, or boy… this expression goes for everyone without sounding strange.

Baffi means ‘mustache’ and is used in the plural in this sense. In fact, you can also say un paio di baffi, which means ‘mustache’ as well, and literally means ‘a pair of mustaches’. Portare i baffi means ‘to have/wear a mustache’. The singular, baffo, means ‘whisker’, and that’s also the word for a cat’s whisker.

Let’s make this an equal opportunity post. Baffetti, when referring to a woman, means ‘hair on one’s lips’. Referring to men it means ‘clipped mustache’ and from that springs baffetti alla Hitler – ‘Hitler mustache’.

Back to mustache-licking as a symbol of mouth-watering: you can say un manicaretto da leccarsi i baffi – ‘a very tasty dish’ (lit. a delicacy to make you lick your mustache).

From baffi come a few curious expressions:

Ridere sotto i baffi – (lit. to laugh under your mustache) – to snigger
Farla sotto i baffi a qualcuno – (lit. to do something under somebody’s mustache) – to do something under somebody’s nose
Me ne faccio un baffo – I don’t give a damn/I don’t give two hoots (this is idiomatic and doesn’t really translate. Literally, it’s something like ‘I don’t make myself even one mustache with what you’re saying’.)

I don’t even like mustaches and here I am writing a whole post about them. Let that be your edification of the day. I’m off to search the house for my chocolate. Mi sto già leccando i baffi (I’m already licking my mustache).

I’ll leave you with a popular Italian proverb:
Una donna baffuta è sempre piaciuta – Everyone likes a mustachioed woman.

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3 Responses to On Mustaches

  1. I enjoy these kinds of posts so much, I can’t even explain it well!
    Maybe because I relate to your love of the italian language 🙂

    I found your blog because I am also going to Cariati in a few weeks!

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Carolina,
      thanks so much!
      I went to your site- you have some nice shots! My favorite is the one of the boy carrying the watering can in the garden.
      I hope you have a good trip in Cariati, it’s a nice place.

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