Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
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Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)? (French pronunciation: [vule vu kuʃe avɛk mwa (sə swaʁ)], "Do you [formal] want to sleep with me (tonight)?") is a French phrase that has become well known in the English-speaking world through literature and popular songs.
Origins and usage
The origins of the actual usage in print of the phrase in English can be traced back to the early 20th century.
A poem by E. E. Cummings published in 1922 and known by its first line "little ladies more" contains the phrase "voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" twice.
In 1973 porn star-turned-Italian politician Ilona Staller (Cicciolina) achieved fame with a radio show called "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" on Radio Luna.
The phrase is perhaps best known from the 1974 song "Lady Marmalade," first popularized by the group Labelle, of which singer Patti LaBelle was the lead singer. (Later, in 2001, singers Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa, and Pink did a remake of the song for the Moulin Rouge! film's soundtrack.)
In 1993 jazz rap group Digable Planets used the phrase in their song "Swoon Units".
In 1997 it was used in All Saints' double A-Side to their cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Under the Bridge", which although also entitled "Lady Marmalade" was considerably different from the original.
In 2006 the band Aquarium used the phrase in a similar song from their album Carefree Russian Tramp.
Raquel: "I met a French man in Corfu who taught me how to say isn't it a lovely day today."
Ken: "Right, let's put a sentence together. I want you to say to me in French 'Hello Ken. My name is Raquel. Isn't it a lovely day today?"
Raquel: "Ooh, clever. Right, here goes. 'Bonjour Ken. Je m'appelle Raquel. Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?"
In the 2006 tenth season episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" from the animated series South Park, Cartman is persuading one of the boys, Clyde, to join the World of Warcraft to take down this strong player by mentioning that if Clyde went back in time and stop Hitler, would he do it (except Cartman wouldn't because he admired him). When Clyde insists on giving up, Cartman mentions that when Hitler rose to power, the people that gave up were the French; he then taunts Clyde by saying if he's French and saying "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, Clyde?" Clyde, irked, finally relents by joining the group: "Alright, Alright, I'll do it!"
In the show Friends, Monica goes on a double date as Phoebe's date has a friend, and the former dates a man fluent in French. She asks him "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" not knowing what it means. He then responds, "This is embarrassing," and then explains what it means, embarrassing Monica.
In the Scooby-Doo live-action film, Shaggy at one point refers to the phrase, remarking to love interest Mary-Jane, "You don't need to know what "voulez-vous coucher" means to love that song", presumably referring to "Lady Marmalade". It is likely that Shaggy himself does not understand the meaning of the phrase.
- Richardson, Anne (3 December 2010). "Corrie's Best Characters: No 6 - Raquel Watts". AOL Television. AOL. Retrieved 5 January 2011.