Take It As A Neapolitan Compliment
One woman’s Neapolitan insult is another woman’s compliment.
Neapolitan is a complex language — not so much for lexical reasons as for the intonation, facial expressions and gestures that necessarily accompany the words and make their real meaning clear.
For example, the other day I witnessed an argument between two people, in which, at one point, he turns to her and says: "Shut up! You’re like a Neapolitanbucchina*."
The woman started to lose it, outraged as she was.
But I was really tempted to step in the conversation to calm the mood by saying: "Signó, don’t be angry. If your husband had called me a ‘Neapolitan bucchina*’ with that face and that little voice of his, not only would I have not gotten angry, but I would have replied: ‘Why thank you, aren’t you a real cutie!’”
*”bucchina” is a Neapolitan swear word, which roughly translates as “wh*re” but which can also be used as a compliment, meaning “astute” or “clever.”
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