Accidental Confession

As someone who is learning to speak Dutch I have learned to accept that there will be times when my attempts to speak the language will not go quite as I had plan and that there are other times when it will ‘really’ not go as I had plan. One such example happened recently during a dinner party my girlfriend and I were hosting for two friends, Marjolein and Marije. During the dinner we spoke Dutch and I like to think I did a fairly good job of keeping up with the conversation and taking part. However… After dinner I made an unplanned slip up which I am constantly reminded about.

After I had helped my girlfriend take the dirty dishes back to the kitchen she asked me, “Wil je de tafel schoonmaken.”

I understood, nodded to her request to clean the table and walked back into the front room armed with a cleaning cloth.

Upon approaching the table Marjolein informed me, “Ik heb het gedaan.”

I thanked her for informing me that she had already cleaned the table and returned to the kitchen with unused cleaning cloth in hand.

“Dat was snel,” my girlfriend commented upon my quick return to the kitchen.

I grinned happily like a kid about to show off his new Dutch language skills and announced loudly, “Marjolein heb ik gedaan.”

The grin lasted 1.5 seconds and ended around the time my girlfriend suddenly shouted, “What?!”

I quickly ran the words that had just come out of my mouth back through my brain and realized that I had just announced that I had ‘done’ Marjolein.

My attempts to quickly correct my mistake by shouting, “Nee, de tafel, de tafel.” (table) probably added to the imagery by implying that I had done her on the table rather then it being the table that she had ‘done’ (in a non-sexual sense).

“That was quick,” my girlfriend simply repeated again, this time in English with a smirk. The shocked look she had given me upon my false confession had been fake of course because (like I would have done) she was planning to milk my language slip up for its entire comic worth. She followed it with a request to her friends that they stop ‘doing’ her boyfriend.

I have not been allowed to forget this language slip up since and I always have to be careful at dinner parties that I don’t accidentally ‘do’ anyone linguistically.

26 responses to “Accidental Confession”

  1. Mr. Nighttime says:

    Snort, chortle…. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that one…

  2. Invader Stu says:

    I have entertained a lot of flies on walls in my life time

  3. Living in a country where you’re trying to get used to the lingo leads to all sorts of similar stories. I had a run in with a washing-machine-repair-man who was a mime after hours:

    http://unexpectedtraveller.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/lost-in-translation/

  4. Invader Stu says:

    I’ve had similar experiences but I imagine it must happen more in France.

  5. Conortje says:

    hehe love it – had so many of them in my time too :-)

  6. VallyP says:

    Lol Stu, this one is probably the best blunder I’ve hear in a long time!

  7. Angela says:

    I am laughing so hard right now!

  8. Invader Stu says:

    Conortje – I’m glad I’m not the only one :p

    VallyP – I try my best. Hopfully I will be bring you the follow up story soon if those involved don’t mind :p

    Angela – So was everyone else at the time :p

  9. tenakalaz says:

    Nice…. Stu speaking Dutch! WOW.. my best mistake when learning dutch was thanking my first boss for dinner in dutch! ” Bedankt voor het eten, jij hebt een leuke familie en een super vriendlijk wijf!” thanks for the dinner you have a nice family and a very friendly bitch! for some reason I went all pimp ;P

  10. Invader Stu says:

    I remember you telling me that story. It was too funny.

  11. Paule says:

    I have been here 3 years and my Dutch is virtually non-existant. I currently work as a personal trainer, Tae bo and Zumba instructor. I get by with basics in my class but like you get things a bit mixed up. I recently asked one of my classes to get their plums out! What I meant to say was “Get your purple resistance bands out”. Well plums are purple aren’t they?

  12. Invader Stu says:

    I still had the wrong idea myself until I googled ‘purple resistance bands’ :p

    But yeah… my Dutch was non-existent for the first 8 years. Now it’s semi non-existent :)

  13. The girlfriend says:

    ;P

  14. Wendi says:

    The “being done” sounds so much more sophisticated in Dutch.

  15. The grilfriend says:

    likes the picture

  16. Invader Stu says:

    Wendi – You should hear the Dutch way of saying ‘other’ things.

    The Girlfriend – Hey, I know you.

  17. Keith says:

    Is that really Dutch? I could understand it! It’s easier than German!

  18. Invader Stu says:

    It is. It’s close to German in some ways so I’m told.

  19. john says:

    ha!

    yeah- i did her. i’m done.

  20. The unfortunate friend says:

    This was sooooo funny at the time!!!

  21. Amanda Blog and Kiss says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one!!!

  22. Invader Stu says:

    The unfortunate friend – ‘Unfortunate’? That’s not very flattering :p

    Amanda – That’s what she said *ba-dum-tish* (ok, maybe not)

  23. Carol Bontekoe says:

    hahahaha it’sniceto know that my Dutch is at least as good if not better than someone else in the country. So,funny. At least now you know not to say some other girls name and than say heb ik gedaan. Lesson learned :P

  24. Invader Stu says:

    I hope so :p

  25. iver says:

    I had similar trouble when I got a ride with someone… When I said, I was going with Klaudia – it is as if you are dating. It would be better to say, `”I was traveling with…” If you said ik does that mean you were the instigator? mij/me would imply you were the victim.

  26. […] my simplistic Dutch (I guess it was a compliment that they thought I was Dutch). There was the time a simple language mistake made a sentence about cleaning up sound like a confession of being inappropriate with my wife’s […]

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