I’m Right, You’re Wrong: Now With New Rules

by Marinka on May 28, 2012

This installment of I’m Right, You’re Wrong is a little different, because I had an argument with my husband and I cannot go through the charade of presenting the argument objectively without reveling who held which position since he is so obviously wrong. So I’m going to present the argument as it happened, ask you to tell me who is right and how wrong Husbandrinka is. And please don’t Google before answering. Because if you do, you may go blind and hair will grow in the middle of our palm.

Here’s what happened.

Husbandrinka: You know how some doors in France have a little glass window towards the top that tilts out?

Marinka: Yes, I know everything.

Husbandrinka: Do you know what it’s called in France?

Marinka: That’s the one thing I don’t know.

Husbandrinka: It’s called Vasistdas.

Marinka: What the-?

Husbandrinka: Because during the Franco-Prussian War, the Prussians occupied Paris and one saw that little window and said Was ist das, which means “What is that?” in German and now it’s named that.

Marinka: This makes no sense.

Husbandrinka: It’s true.

Marinka: Let’s back up. So the French design the door and decide not to name the little window part, thinking “oh, surely, someone will occupy us soon and then come up with just the name for it!” and then the Prussians invade and once the war is over, start to question various architectural features? And while they’re questioning it, someone else decides that the question is the official name? I don’t know what kind of bill of goods you’re selling me, but I’m not in the market.

Husbandrinka: Forget it.

Disagreement: Is that little window above the door in France called Vasistdas or not?

Disagreers: Marinka and Husbandrinka

Position One: Yes.

Position Two: Of course not. That is insane.

So, what do you think?

Is Husbandrinka’s story bullshit or am I right?

One year ago ...

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The Next Morning | Drink Lei Down Pass Out
May 30, 2012 at 9:51 am

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Kati May 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm

It’s a transom, and husbandrinka should lay off drunk-trolling wikipedia.



Marinka May 29, 2012 at 4:05 am

Did you happen to see footnote 3 of that link? Because I am starting to suspect that you and Husbandrinka have united against me.


Kati May 29, 2012 at 8:36 am

Little known fact: the term “footnote” is shorthand for “worthless, pointless, and probably untrue junk that if it really mattered would have been in the Cliffs Notes version”.
The term derived from the fact that people used to drop the extra and unimportant pages to the ground, and they would be trod upon by those too important to read them, thus literally becoming “footnotes”.

See Husbandrinka? I can do it too. 😉


magpie May 29, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Husbandrinka could have edited the Wikipedia page, you know.


Jk May 30, 2012 at 8:29 am

My thought exactly! ; )


May 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I clicked over here to tell you it was called a transom, but then I saw Kati had beaten me to it. So then I had to look up what the word for “transom window” was in French. According to Google translate (which is obviously never wrong, since it’s a computer), a transom window is called imposte in French. Which, unless your pronunciation of letter combinations is pretty different than mine, doesn’t sound much like “vasistdas” (also, I don’t think the French would ever make a word with “std” as a letter combination in it. But I will admit that I don’t have the authority of Google translate to back me up on that one.)


May 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Duh. There is no way any self-respecting Frenchman would allow mangled German to form a word in the French language. They have an entire Academy devoted to making sure that the French language remains unadulterated, for heaven’s sake.

But I just checked out Kati’s link up there, and it is “vasistas.” I question your husband’s version of the etymology, however.


Catherine Dabels
May 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Of course not, that is insane.

That was an easy one.


CoftheU May 29, 2012 at 1:10 am

The only thing Husbandrinka (if that is in fact his real name) has going for him in this scenario is that the French are all so Laissez-faire about shit that they even came up with the term “Laissez-faire” ahead of time just to try to make circumstances such as this legit.


Ester Jean May 29, 2012 at 5:21 am

Sounds like husbandrinka was trying to pull your leg. Get out while you still can!


Liz May 29, 2012 at 7:12 am

My high school French teacher told me the same thing. Did Husbandribka attend Hunter, by chance?


MFA Mama
May 29, 2012 at 7:28 am

It’s a transom glass. Durr!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes May 29, 2012 at 7:28 am

Yes, it is, I’m sorry Marinka, but your husband is right. It also called that in Belgium. But the correct spelling is : vasistas. So you are both a little bit wrong and a little bit right.


Marinka May 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

You are now Husbandrinka’s favorite. I’m just guessing, of course, but he said “this person sounds very wise and should be admired by everyone else.”

I hope you and he are very happy together. Tres happy.


All Fooked Up
May 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

God your arguments are more intellectual than mine.
NOTE TO SELF: get a smarter husband


Tracy Beckerman May 29, 2012 at 8:08 am

from wikipedia: “Vasistas” sounds similar to the German phrase “was ist das?” (“what is that?”); hence folk etymology ascribes its origin to a visiting German’s reaction to seeing a transom during a trip to France.[5]

and I CURSE you for making me google this!! What do you think the french word for Pergola is?


mindy May 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

I doubt my husband could find France on a map. I love Husbandrinka.


RebeccaNYC May 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm

By the way, there is quite the same word in Russian: васисдас (vasisdas) – a viewing window. Growing fur on my palms as I type.


May 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I still cannot get over the fact that you find something to talk about every day for all these years.Was is das? That’s love.


love & lunchmeat May 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Rule #1: The wife is always right.

I don’t care if you’re saying elephants give birth to seahorses, you’re obviously right. He’s obviously wrong. C’est la vie.


Lady Jennie May 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Well Marinka, I asked my husband, the great authority on all things French what it is called and he hesitated while he thought … “Vasistdas …?,” he ventured.

I started laughing. “Do you know why?” I asked him. “Nope.” So when I told him the story, he said, “Ooooh. We pronounce it the French way, though.”

So you’re absolutely right. The French would never name a window something German.


May 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Husbandrinka is way more continental than you, so I’m picking him.

And this has nothing to do with you siding with my husband during our recent argument. NOTHING.


Rainyday May 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Reminds me of a bad joke my stepdad once told me: What’s a bra called in German? Schtopsumffromffloppun.


the mama bird diaries
May 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm

how are you married to someone so insane?!


AnnA May 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

Okay, here is another. I was told that the French word “bistrot” came from the Russian word “bystro” which means “fast” or “quickly”. Or was it the other way around?


May 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Marinka is always right. Always. This time, last time, and next time.


Loukia May 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I think it sounds French enough to me, and if you know the name, you sound somewhat educated, so I’m going with… yeah, totally that’s what it’s called!


Helene July 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Just found out your blog and I love it by the way, every single post makes me laugh 🙂 !!
Being French myself, this one only made me laugh harder, I couldn’t NOT answer to it 😉 !
I’m a little late, but maybe your husband will be happy to know he was kind of right 😉 Sorry to disappoint but it seems the story about the Germans is true (we learned in school that the naming of the “vasistas” happened during the 1870 war, when the Germans were in Paris). But we changed the wording, so it doesn’t look German too much 😉


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