Those Italians! Gotta love ‘em, but be careful about getting to know their language a little too well and then going out on the strada to practice it. You’ll get in trouble if you say things like Sei senza uova nei pantaloni! Literally “you have no eggs in your pants!”, this phrase “is not only vulgar but quite clearly has an insulting dimension.” That’s a quote from the ruling of an Italian judge, in a case in which one cousin was said to have uttered this phrase against another (presumably male) in public. So: Not allowed! The utterer will be hit with some type of legal sanction.
Now, where did this all take place? In Potenza! I kid you not – you can check out the by-line of the report in Der Spiegel yourself if you like!
Update: Ah, now feedback is starting to come in from true Italians, which is revealing the shaky nature of the alleged phrase – gained, after all, through translation by way of German! Why did I think that might not involve problems?
The definitive article is here. (But it’s in Italian – as you would hope! Thanks to my friend Barbara for the reference!) It now seems that non hai le palle (“you’ve got no balls!”) is the phrase we’re talking about – nothing about pants, or uova. That’s what will get you in trouble (or just writing about it, it seems). Nota bene!