French Friday #2: Ménage à trois

This week's French expression
by:  Mademoiselle Love
Ménage à trois

For today's Tasse de café, I'm writing from the oddly named Pudge Knuckles coffee shop of Williamsburg. Today, I was a bit adventurous and ordered the "Canadian Moose," which is dark roast with steamed milk and maple syrup. Perhaps I shoudln't have ordered it with almond milk... You can't win 'em all! Moving on to today's French term... ménage à trois!

Everyone's heard of this one, but not everyone knows all of the fun ways to use this suggestive term. You're probably thinking that we're talking about a threesome. For example, you might have heard yourself one day saying the following : "Last night my husband and I had a 'ménage à trois' with my friend Simone."
However, this is not an accurate use of the term.
Usage #1. A "ménage" by itself refers simply to a "household" or "people who live together"
So, basically if you live with two other people, you could say that you have a "ménage à trois", or a three person household.

How to use it in a conversation: 

Jenny: How many roommates do you have?
Natasha: I have two roommates, and together we form a ménage à trois.
Jenny: Um, I see. (walks off confused)

The fun part about this is that even though this simply means that we are three people living together, it will always raise eyebrows, so why not? Just for fun? Natasha is fashionable because she gets it. Jenny needs to read this blog.
Usage #2: It is of course possible that the three people of the "ménage à trois" are in fact in a relationship together. And it is also quite possible that these people regularly have threesomes, or three-ways, but the term "ménage à trois" by itself never simply means three-way sex. The English term threesome, or three-way, refers to a single sexual encounter, while the "ménage à trois" refers to a long-term relationship between three people living together.

Some famous "ménage à trois":
Surrealist painters Max Ernst, Paul Éluard and Éluard's wife Gala
Poet Ezra Pound, his wife Dorothy Shakespear and their mistress, Olga Rudge

Fictional "ménage à trois":
In François Truffaut's 1961 film, Jules et Jim, Jules, Jim and Catherine form a ménage à trois.
In Bernardo Bertolucci's 2003 film The Dreamers, Matthew, Isabelle and Théo form a ménage à trois that is also disturbingly incestuous. 
In Woody Allen's Vicky Kristina Barcelona from 2008, Cristina enters into a relationship with Juan Antonio and ex-wife Maria Elena.

Just to be provocative, go ahead and say that you and your two roomies have a "ménage à trois". 
If you have more than two roommates, you can be a "ménage à quatre", or a "ménage à cinq" and so on...
And while this does not necessarily imply a sexual situation, people's imaginations will start to wander...
Have fun and raise some eyebrows!
Mademoiselle Love 
Jenée here: As fashion week winds down in Paris I couldn't help think of this weeks French Lesson post when I saw the Chanel runway shots. These days Chanel is much more Karl Lagerfeld than it is Chanel, but it's fine. There is enough Vintage Chanel to go around.

Chanel RTW Fall 2013: Leather, Thigh high boots, Chains, Fingerless Gloves avec Tweed & Sleek Peplum make it Kinky Elegance

Source: viaJenee on Pinterest

The Origin of "La Tasse de Café", French for "the cup of coffee"
Is a morning radio show out of Ville Platte, Louisiana on KVPI-FM
My dad listens to it regularly to keep up with his Cajun French as he now doesn't have much opportunity to speak it in Louisiana where the language is disappearing. 
Since I'm from Cajun land in Louisiana with a serious interest in fashion and my friend, the author, is a Louisiana girl too, who is head over heels in love with everything French and everything coffee, it was only fitting we pay tribute to our roots and our new found loves.
Tune in to KVPI every morning at 8:45AM (NY time) for your Cajun French lesson and come back every Friday for more French lessons. We will discuss useful French words or expressions for the fashionable girl. But to make it even more enjoyable, we will do it over a very fashionable cup of coffee.