Poser un lapin

You’re supposed to meet someone at an appointed time and place. They don’t show up. You sit there and wonder: is it me?

In English we call this being stood up. Back in the day when I was dating (pre-mobile, pre-internet, ie the ice age), you had little choice but to wait and wonder. Now, presumably, you phone or text.

I have never been stood up in France. Getting my wires crossed is something else. My feu (late) Belle-mère was famous in our family for les rendez-vous ratés. We would agree to meet somewhere then miss each other entirely – in one case waiting on opposite ends of the train station for an hour before eventually giving up.

The French expression ‘poser un lapin’ literally means to place a rabbit. According to my source, aka Google, this rather mysterious term finds its roots in the rabbit as a symbol of fertility and plenty. The original meaning of ‘poser un lapin’ was not to pay someone for their favours, or more generally to leave without paying. Somehow this got transformed into modern parlance for not showing up.

Rabbits are rather common in France. People raise them like they do chickens, keeping a few in a backyard hutch. Rabbit meat is in all the supermarkets. I don’t mind it, although I’m also not crazy about it. The first time I ate rabbit was, bizarrely, at Easter.

Right now in France les chasseurs are out in force. Presumably hunting for Peter Cottontail among other small game in the fields and forests.

Let’s hope he gives them a run for their money. Or places a rabbit.

Have you ever been stood up?


  1. francetaste · November 2, 2017

    They keep the head on the rabbit, too, to prove that it isn’t a cat, because once skinned it’s hard to tell.
    Stood up? Too many times to count. But never in France.

    • Osyth · November 2, 2017

      Don’t trust them – they cut the ears off and in my experience the ‘twain look identique when earless 😉

    • MELewis · November 2, 2017

      Just the idea of that makes me feel ill. Yet I can’t help but question why it’s okay to eat some animals but not others…I’ll shut up, though, or may find myself forced to go veggie. (Horrors!) Here’s to dates who show up!

  2. Osyth · November 2, 2017

    I always enjoy a little smidge of your belle mère… I have quite a well-formed picture of her and I am unsurprised that you miss her. Poser un lapin is one of my favourite expressions but the only time I have ever used it here was with my husband and actually I was the guilty party. I’m sure I was doing something of grave importance, at the very least to do with national security ….

    The safest bunnies in France live at the Euro Tunnel port in Calais – very relaxed they are 🐇 🐇 🐇

    • MELewis · November 2, 2017

      Glad you like my posthumous portraits of Belle-mère, and the fact that you can picture her is a fine tribute. As for the rabbits in Calais…really? Surprised they’re not trying to get to the UK where they’d presumably be safer… 😀

      • Osyth · November 2, 2017

        Maybe I misunderstood and like the huge numbers of Eastern Europeans and Mid-Eastern refugees that I had to fend off a couple of years ago, I may find myself with a clutch of bunnies in the car if I forget to lock it whilst getting The Bean through passport control!!!

      • MELewis · November 2, 2017

        mdr! 😀

  3. Garfield Hug · November 2, 2017

    Good post and interesting to learn about rabbit! Thankfully I have never been stood up. Haha! 😃

    • MELewis · November 3, 2017

      Always glad to be informative! 😀

  4. phildange · November 2, 2017

    And there is the opposite-looking expression “Lever un lièvre”, raising a hare . But the opposite aspect is only in the literal expressions, not in their meanings. “Lever un lièvre” means finding and exposing publicly a mostly problematic or sometimes dishonest hidden secret . .
    The thing is when someone “vous pose un lapin” you often have to “faire le pied de grue”, literally making the crane’s foot, meaning hanging around .

    • coteetcampagne · November 2, 2017

      Wonderful expressions.
      I have never been stood up, but once, surreptitiously seeing the prospective date my “friend”had set me up with, I’m sorry to say I stood him up….

      • MELewis · November 3, 2017

        In that case it sounds fully justified, and probably no worse than having to make up an excuse later…however, having said that, I think the only thing that would haunt me more than being stood up myself is thinking of that poor person sitting there waiting for me in vain!

      • coteetcampagne · November 4, 2017

        I was briefly racked with guilt, until I found that, after awaiting twenty minutes for me to show, he picked up a woman at the bar anyway!

    • MELewis · November 3, 2017

      In all, a lot of animal world references! Never knew about the ‘lièvre’ but I will keep an ear out. Surely there is no lack of such beastly secrets these days. 😉

  5. Lisa @ cheergerm · November 5, 2017

    You have got me thinking, I don’t think I have ever been stood up but you are so right, the advent of modern technology must make ‘standing someone up’ so much more difficult these days!

    • MELewis · November 5, 2017

      Certainly an upside our technology-driven day, yet I can’t help but feeling they are missing out on something!

  6. Mél@nie · November 9, 2017

    j’adore l’expression “poser un lapin”… 😀
    * * *
    @”Have you ever been stood up?” – of course, like most of us… but then again: tu me poses un lapin une fois, la 2e ce sera mon lièvre!!! 🙂

    • MELewis · November 9, 2017

      Parfait – agree 100%! 😀

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