Word of the Week: Popsi - POP-shi (bottom)

This is the rudest word I ever heard my grandmother say. 

For someone with no qualms about asking her granddaughters about their menstrual cycle, whipping back shower curtains to discuss lunch, stumping about her flat in little more than firm-control underwear and orthopaedic mules, my grandmother was, like many of her generation (particularly, I suspect, those brought up strictly in the Austro-Hungarian empire) extremely squeamish about much else.  Death - nonexistent.  Illness - a deadly secret.  Money - entirely taboo.  And sex...well, it goes without saying. 

She was also a terrible, uncontrollable, helpless giggler. 

When I was about seventeen, I went on holiday with her and my father, her son-in-law.  I know; I can't explain it either.  She cooked, and we ate; it was lovely.  Then one evening, for reasons now forgotten, my father and I - amused, as always, by her extraordinary language, and finding her more relaxed and less fierce than usual - started asking her to translate various silly sentences into Hungarian.  'OK, so what's "I have an enormous pumpkin"?' we'd ask her.  'Or..."excuse me but this seems to be a geranium".'  And, unfunny as these sentences were, simply the daringness of asking her, and the transgressiveness of the situation, was enough to make her lose it.  Completely.  She grew pinker and pinker, laughing helplessly, until my father and I, equally prone to giggling, began to lose it too.

Then genius struck. We remembered that Monty Python sketch where John Cleese, a Hungarian in England, reads from an unhelpful phrasebook 'I vont to fondle your BUTT-ocks'.  Why not ask her to translate it back into Hungarian?  We could barely get the words out; the effect was immediate.  I have never seen anyone redder, or laughing so much; she could barely breathe as she insisted that there was no word for buttocks in Hungarian.  'Back', she offered us; 'upper leg.'  NO, we insisted.  Come on!   Tell us the real word!

At last, horizontal, she spluttered 'popsi', which is about as rude as 'bot-bot'.  And from that rudeness she barely recovered all evening.  The blush persisted.  I feel amused, but guilty even now.