“I love you. Me neither.”
This is what this translates to if all you know is French 101. But it really means: “I love you. I couldn’t agree with you more.”
Listen to this song:
Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par là?
If you are an American of pretty much any age, the song might be pretty, ‘interesting,’ possibly scandalous when you listen to the sections at the end and realize there is actually lovemaking going on while they are singing. Americans generally can’t relate to this song. They don’t know it.
But for Europeans around 50 years old now, which means they were 16 in the years between 1968 and 1974, every single one of them will have strong emotions about this song. This is what they played in the clubs and discos as the ultimate slow dance.
There isn’t a European of that generation that didn’t make out on the dance floor, in the dark, lights flashing slowly, completely enveloped in ‘Je t’aime.’
I am of that generation. It is impossible for me to hear this and not be brought back to the time of coming of age, to the first timid kisses, to the throbbing heart, to the fantasies of endless life ahead, and to the miracle of realizing that there is something going on.
The last time I heard this song was sometime in 1973, and I didn’t even know the name of the artist. Over the years I wished I could hear it again, hoping for the inevitable time travel, and finally, I just now discovered it on YouTube.
Beam me up.