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Loosely Coupled weblog

Friday, August 20, 2004

Pa de deux

I've been taking some paternity leave following the birth of twin sons last week, so please excuse the lack of updates to the site (three of us are off due to maternity/paternity at present). Things should be back to normal in the next day or so (on the site, at least: these are my first children, so life at home is transitioning to a very different kind of 'normal' than I've been used to for the past twenty-five years of adult life). Wainewright twins at two days old I know this is somewhat off-topic, but I couldn't resist including a picture, so here they are.

Several people have been calling me a 'pa de deux', which in joke 'Franglais' translates as 'father of twins'. I can't find a citation to confirm this, but the pun was probably first coined by the Punch columnist Miles Kington in his Let's Parler Franglais series. Most people seem to spell it with the silent 's': pas de deux has about 103,000 results on Google, whereas pa de deux only has 113 (soon to be 114). Personally, I think it looks more correct without it (I'm a pa, not a pas) — this contrarian stance brings me the happy bonus of a much better chance of seeing this post come top of the search results.

I suppose it's doubtful whether getting top ranking on Google will impress my sons by the time they're old enough to understand what it's all about; in a dozen or more years, Google may well be of only historical interest. But today it lets me mark a historic event in my own life.

UPDATE [added Monday, August 23rd]: My surmise was right, this entry has gone straight to the top of the results list in Google (I took this screenshot to record the moment for posterity, should they ever be interested). Meanwhile, several correspondents have been in touch to point out that 'pa' is definitely the wrong spelling. They're absolutely right that in the French phrase for a two-partner dance, the spelling is 'pas'. Furthermore, if you wanted to substitute the French for 'daddy' you would have to say 'papa' not 'pa'. But since Franglais is a jumbled-up mix of both French and English, I think it's legitimate to substitute the English word 'pa' in my version of the phrase.

posted by Phil Wainewright 6:24 PM (GMT) | comments | link

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