I come across this passage in a long-ish NY Times Magazine essay on the demise of the socialist party in France:
…as for Hollande personally, Sailliot raised his hand in a gesture, not uncommon among Frenchmen, to indicate his testicles’ springing up to his neck in anger. “He’s a traitor.”
Trying to remember if I’ve ever actually seen this gesture, I think not. And do one’s testicles ever rise in anger, let alone up to the neck? Mine sure don’t, but I check with Guido.
“Why would I grab your nuts when you’re angry?” she asks, sensibly.
Maybe he has it backwards, and is trying to describe Extreme Teabagging?
“Maybe you better find something else to write about,” she advises. “Or at least somebody else to ask. ”
When Guido offers advice about testicles, I listen, which is one reason mine remain attached.
Problem is, I just don’t know any Frenchmen. I have one French friend I can ask, a gay woman, so I text her. She texts back that she’s familiar with the gesture, and uses it herself, so she’s skeptical about the origins. “Women don’t have balls,” she reminds me, “but we do get angry, especially at people who do.” (She finished with a smiling emoji.)
I ring my friend Raddy — Radicchio R. Peggio, Jr. — a worldy fellow who speaks numerous European languages, having grown up in the cockpits of his father’s post-WW II airline business (Air Hellair) and traveling extensively through France, the British Isles, Scandinavia, etc. “Sure, I’ve seen that,” he says, chuckling. “Never knew that about the ‘nads. I thought it had more to do with rising bile, or something. The French seem to have a lot of that.”
Down at the beach, I ask a French Canadian couple I encounter as they grease their massive Speedo0-clad bodies with Dollar Store oil. The man squints and frowns stereotypically as he listens, then translates for his wife, who breaks out laughing and tells me, “How can zis be? Ze French zey have no balls to rise!”
Okay, I’m done. Three strikes and you’re out at the old ball game.