I just learned a new Portuguese idiom, courtesy of an old (well, 1986 counts as old nowadays, right?) Brazilian song: Lança perfume, which translates literally as “throw perfume.” It means to be charming or flirtatious. How great is that? I can see so many uses for it…”Oh, don’t mind her, she’s always throwing perfume.” Although it does seem limited to the female side of our species — my wife thinks it’s not used for men. (Brazilian readers, feel free to confirm or correct!)
The song itself is highly infectious, and since I love to share ear worms, I’m embedding it here. One thing that struck me right off the bat: when the bouncy beat first kicks in, it sounds like it’s sampling the Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes.” Also, the Brazilians know how to use whistles in music better than anybody.
When I looked up the lyrics, I came across a second idiom that’s at least as great as the first: Me faz de gato e sapato, which translates as “Do with me like the cat and the shoe,” and means “Do what you want with me,” or “Mess with me.” I am so going to find a way to use that one.
(English translation here, along with a note that lança-perfume also means a kind of spray-and-sniff drug that was popular in the 80s. If true, that turns the song’s use of the phrase into a pun.)