The eroticism of power, oozed the headline of German magazine Der Spiegel in March 2008, after French president Nicolas Sarkozy exchanged vows with former supermodel and Italian-French singer Carla Bruni in February 2008. Since then Sarko syndrome has hit word of mouth across the world: power is sexy. It briefly brushed Russian president Vladimir Putin too in April, when rumours published by a Moscow paper alleged that he had faustdick hinter den Ohren haben, a German saying meaning that he had been a sly old dog with 24-year-old Russian athlete Alina Kabaeva. The saying literally translates to Putin’s having ‘a fat fist behind the ears’, alleging that foxiness lies behind the ear; the bigger the bulge, the foxier you are!
The real deal Casanovas, Don Juans and Romeos that today’s European politician heartbreakers are known as in almost every language’s literature, know how the cookie crumbles. In German they are domestically defined as Schürzenjäger (‘apron-hunters’), whereas the French and English are far racier: coureur de jupons or skirt chasers. Even former German chancellor Helmut Kohl emerged back in the day as a true Schwerenöter, a heartbreaker who puts his ladies in ‘heavy pain’. Even at the ripe old age of 78, he married Maike Richter, 43, an economist at the German ministry. The Brits would brand him a philanderer, a word which popularly comes from eighteenth century poems and novels.
The Poles denote the animal side of powerful men as pies na baby (‘woman animal’) or lew salonowy ('lounge lion'), whilst to the south of Europe, Spaniards call the woman-surrounded prime minister Rodriguez Zapatero as buitre(‘vulture’) or picaflor (‘flower-picker’). Even the freshly-delivered to power 71-year-old Silvio Berlusconi has been called a donnaiolo (womaniser). In February 2007, his wife of 27 years made a public announcement in the Italian media, requesting a public apology from her husband for his playboy lifestyle, to which, of course, he responded publicly, defending himself for his ‘jocular’ ways.
English: skirt chaser
Polish: pies na baby
French: coureur de jupons