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?

18 thoughts on “Poser un lapin

    1. 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!

  1. 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 🐇 🐇 🐇

    1. 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… 😀

      1. 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!!!

  2. 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 .

      1. 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!

    1. 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. 😉

  3. 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!

  4. 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!!! 🙂

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