Robert in Oak Park, Illinois, seeks a Portuguese phrase he once heard that a man might say when the object of his affection is out of their league or otherwise forever unattainable. This wistful phrase is Ela é muita areia pro meu caminhãozinho or “She’s too much sand for my little truck.” This sentiment is expressed throughout the world in various ways. A Spanish phrase suggests that the speaker doesn’t even come up to someone else’s heels — ni a los talones — and in French it’s loin de lui arriver à la cheville. In German, it’s nicht das Wasser reichen können, literally “can’t reach the water,” that is, not good enough to carry water for someone. In Polish, a couple of expressions that also convey the idea of someone being out of another’s league translate as “the sausage is not for the dog” and the “the soul wants to get into heaven.”

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