en français, Fifi! is a course in basic French for the submissive crossdresser. It is intended to give the student an understanding of the language sufficient to permit him to perform the functions of a maid or secretary without any need to resort to English. Putting a solid emphasis on grammar, this textbook for sissies teaches all the vocabulary that a feminized servant or subordinate should know, using exaggerated examples that will prove as memorable as they are provocative. The would-be speaker will find himself immersed in a world where men wear bras and chastity belts as they seek to please their female superiors with selfless submission, forever fearing shameful punishment.
en français, Fifi! features themes of lingerie discipline, male chastity and men as maids. It should go without saying that, like everything else at brassièred, it is intended for adults only.
You know several ways to use pronouns to replace people, whether they're the subject (elle punit sa bonne), the object (sa maîtresse le punit) or even the agent (sa femme lui fait porter un soutien-gorge) in a sentence. These convenient little words don't stop there, however, with French offering an even wider range of stand-ins for nouns than English. Although these may seem confusing to start with, when you understand how they work, you'll be able to express your thoughts succinctly, saving your mistress's time for more important matters than the silly things you think you have to say.
In an earlier lesson, you learned how il y a can be used to say “there is”, but this isn't the only way you can use the single-letter pronoun y. In fact, it can replace any noun that follows the preposition à (“to”) - often places, but also things (so long as those things aren't people, for which an indirect object pronoun should be used). For example, consider the following:
|Tu iras au supermarché bientôt, Fifi ?||Will you be going to the supermarket any time soon, Fifi?|
|Oui, Madame, je vais au supermarché demain||Yes, Ma'am, I'm going to the supermarket tomorrow|
Because au is a contraction of à le, Fifi could spare his mistress a few seconds by replacing au supermarché with y, putting it before the verb as per an object pronoun. After all, his mistress already knows where she is talking about - what she is interested in is when her maid will be going there for her. While a curt Demain ! (“Tomorrow!”) wouldn't convey adequate respect on Fifi's part, there's no need for him to repeat unnecessary words. Let's continue that conversation in a more appropriate way:
|Oui, Madame, j'y vais demain||Yes, Ma'am, I'm going there tomorrow|
|Très bien ! N'oubliez pas d'acheter plus de bas !||Very good! Don't forget to buy more stockings!|
Perhaps Fifi's mistress is in the mood to discuss her maid's hosiery more:
|Tu pense à tes bas, Fifi ?||Do you think about your stockings, Fifi?|
|Oui, Madame, j'y pense beaucoup||Yes, Ma'am, I think about them a lot|
|Tu ne t'y habitues pas ?||Are you not getting used to them?|
|Non, Madame, j'ai toujours peur de les déchirer||No, Ma'am, I'm always scared of tearing them|
|Bien sûr ! Tu seras puni si tu le fais !||Of course! You will be punished if you do!|
The verbs penser (“to think about”, -er) and s'habituer (“to become used to”, -er) would ordinarily be followed by à, permitting y to be used as a pronoun. Conversely, déchirer (“to tear”, -er) doesn't, and so requires a direct object pronoun instead. Fifi not only shows admirable concern about his nylons, but also understands the difference - as he must if he is not to displease his mistress!
In a similar way, en can be used to replace any noun that follows the preposition de or its derivatives (but again, not for people). Let's return to our stocking-wearing sissy, and see how Fifi is faring:
|Tu as beaucoup de bas, Fifi ?||Do you have a lot of stockings, Fifi?|
|Oui, Madame, j'en ai beaucoup||Yes, Ma'am, I have a lot of them|
|Tu as des résilles rose fluorescent ?||Do you have any fluorescent (fluorescent(e)) pink fishnets?|
|Non, Madame, je n'en ai pas||No, Ma'am, I don't.|
|Alors, tu dois en acheter, n'est-ce pas ?||Then you must buy some, mustn't you?|
Fifi's mistress would be well within her rights to tell him that he must acheter des bas résilles rose fluorescent (“buy fluorescent pink fishnet stockings”), but why should she waste words when he already knows what she's talking about? Because of the preceding des, the noun, along with all its accompanying adjectives, can be reduced to just en, which again is placed before the verb. If only purchasing such hosiery was as easy for the poor maid!
So far, we have followed traditional textbooks, and used nous for “we”. When needing to speak about yourself and your mistress, this is the correct pronoun to use, but it would be considered rather formal for most conversation. In casual French, on is generally used an alternative - a singular pronoun that uses the same conjugations as il or elle, but can take the place of any other subject pronouns (even plural ones), particularly nous. Thus:
|Nous sommes mariés, ma femme et moi||We are married, my wife and I|
|On est mariés, mon mari et moi||We are married, my husband and I|
Although on uses a singular form of être, est (“is”), in the above example, the adjective mariés (“married”) is plural. That's because, in this case, on can be replaced by a plural subject - la maîtresse et la bonne. Moreover, the masculine form of the adjective is used (mariés rather than mariées), because the French language gives precedence to any male in a group - even if that male frequently finds himself in an apron and dress, on his knees as he shows that he knows who really comes first in the relationship. Were on to take the place of a singular or feminine noun, the est would remain the same, but any adjectives would change accordingly.
As a maid, you don't have to worry too much about choosing between tu and vous - your subordinate status means that you should use the latter as a matter of course! If you were in a position to want to avoid that decision, however, you could use on instead. Alternatively, your mistress might replace tu with on in the same way she might swap “you” for “we” in English, conveying a certainly familiarity you could never adopt yourself:
|Quelles corvées on va faire aujourd'hui, Fifi ?||What chores are we going to do today, Fifi?|
Needless to say, there'll only be one person working, and it won't be the lady of the house!
On can also be used to refer to people in a general sense:
|On se moque souvent des hommes qui portent des sous-vêtements féminins||People often laugh (se moquer, -er) at men who wear women's underwear|
or to an unspecified someone:
|Réponds immédiatement si on te pose une question, Fifi||Answer immediately if someone asks (poser, -er) you a question, Fifi|
Indeed, it may not refer to anyone explicitly:
|On me punira pour ne pas le faire correctement, Madame||I will be punished for not doing it properly, Ma'am|
even if there can be little question about who will be doing the punishing! Because you are a maid who must maintain a respectful attitude at all times, your mistress may not regard it as appropriate for you to use on as a less formal alternative to nous or vous. Nevertheless, it may please her for you to use this pronoun in a passive manner, especially when it comes to commands. Consider the difference between how the following sentences sound:
|Vous m'avez dit de dépoussiérer les étagères, Madame||You told me to dust the shelves, Ma'am|
|On m'a dit de dépoussiérer les étagères, Madame||I was told to dust the shelves, Ma'am|
The latter puts the emphasis on the command and associated chore, reducing the risk of it seeming as though you are accusing your mistress of anything - it being far from your place to do that! It may well have been on her instruction that you set about dusting the shelves, but if she tells you that you should have been doing something else, then you should have been doing something else!
In the textbooks we mentioned at the start of this section, on is traditionally translated as “one”, and it may be used the same way as you would in English. For example, sentences starting on often specify rules:
|On porte toujours un soutien-gorge blanc avec un chemisier blanc||One always wears a white bra with a white blouse|
|On n'ajuste pas ses bretelles de soutien-gorge en public||One doesn't adjust (ajuster, -er) one's bra straps in public|
|On ne tripote jamais avec sa ceinture de chasteté||One never fiddles with one's chastity belt|
These could equally be translated with no more than an implicit subject - “Always wear a white bra with a white blouse”, “Don't adjust your bra straps in public” and “Never fiddle with your chastity belt” - sound advice for any submissive man, especially one who must work as a secretary without any sort of sexual relief! Note how sa and ses are used for “one's” in the examples, as there is no equivalent object pronoun.
Translate the following:
La femmelette a beaucoup de culottes mais il doit en acheter plus
La bonne pense aux corvées, mais sa maîtresse n'y pense pas du tout !
On aime voir notre secrétaire travailler du matin jusqu'au soir
On m'a puni pour avoir bandé
On ne porte jamais de bas filés
Say the following in French:
I need a bra! I need one, like a woman!
She is going to the lingerie shop, and her husband is going there too.
I'm forbidden to take it off, Ma'am (passively, using on)
I was warned when my petticoats showed (passively, using on)
One always cleans the bathtub after having used it
Some lucky sissies serve their superiors in the office, providing assistance so their female bosses don't have to bother themselves with the sort of mundane business better suited to a secretary. Whether you're expected to announce your subordinate position with a smart skirt and blouse or merely have to hide a bra beneath your shirt and tie, you can't forget who's in charge when you work for a woman! No matter how humdrum your duties, there are plenty of opportunities to practise your French even when you're stuck behind a desk all day, so make sure you have the right words at your fingertips by learning more vocabulary!
|un bureau||a desk|
|une chaise pivotante||a swivel chair|
|une corbeille à papier||a waste paper basket|
|un classeur||a filing cabinet|
|un meuble à tiroirs||a drawer unit|
|une table||a table|
|un panneau d'affichage||a notice board, a bulletin board|
|une étagère||a shelf|
|un photocopieur||a photocopier|
|une déchiqueteuse||a shredder|
|une fontaine à eau||a water cooler|
In French, the same word bureau is used for both “office” and “desk”, with context usually making clear which is meant. For instance, if le secrétaire est dans le bureau de sa patronne, it is unlikely that the secretary is in his boss's desk, although the situation would be different if dans (“in”) were changed to sur (“on”). Perhaps the sissy in question is both in his boss's office and on her desk, although one can only hope that he has cleared the latter of any paperwork first! Things would become clearer with extra words - il se penche sur le bureau (“he is bending over the desk”, using se pencher, -er), but here, it would help to know whose desk it was - is the secretary bending over his own desk because he is hard at work, or is he bending over his boss's desk because his efforts have been lacklustre? The benefits of a bigger vocabulary should be obvious - how much more pleasant the picture would be were the preposition in question sous (“under”)!
Let's return to a more likely situation and learn some more words:
|un ordinateur||a computer|
|un clavier||a keyboard|
|une souris||a mouse|
|une imprimante||a printer|
|un téléphone||a telephone|
|un interphone||an intercom|
|un dossier||a file|
|une chemise||a folder|
|une feuille de papier||a sheet of paper|
|un stylo||a pen|
|un surligneur||a highlighter pen|
|un marqueur||a marker pen|
|un crayon||a pencil|
|un taille-crayon||a pencil sharpener|
|un gomme||a rubber, an eraser|
|une agrafeuse||a stapler|
|une agrafe||a staple|
|une dégrafeuse||a staple remover|
|un trombone||a paperclip|
|un élastique||an elastic band|
|une punaise||a drawing pin, a thumb tack|
|une paire de ciseaux||a pair of scissors|
Did you notice the similarity of the French words for stapler, staple and staple remover? The verb you use to describe fastening your bra, agrafer, can also mean “to staple”, with these nouns sharing the same origin. Any similarity between punaise and punir, however, is solely in your imagination, with the word for drawing pin or thumb tack also meaning “bedbug”, as well as being a term of abuse - neither anything you would want to find in your underwear!
dans, sur and sous are far from the only prepositions that are profitable in an office. There are many more that can be employed, simply by looking around. See how many you can spot in the following sentences:
|Les étagères sont au dessus des classeurs||The shelves are above the filing cabinets|
|La déchiqueteuse est près du photocopieur||The shredder is near the photocopier|
|Le surligneur est avec les stylos||The highlighter is with the pens|
|La feuille de papier est entre les fichiers||The sheet of paper is between the files|
|Les femmes d'affaires sont devant le tableau d'affichage||The businesswomen are in front of the noticeboard|
|La patronne est derrière la porte||The boss is behind the door|
|Le secrétaire est dans le pétrin !||The secretary is in trouble! (as in “in a pickle” or “in a fix”, literally “in the baker's kneading trough”)|
Prepositions can be tricky to pin down exactly. Consider the different ways that sur can be used to describe a sissy secretary's submission:
|Le secrétaire s'assied sur la chaise pivotante avec ses jambes serrées||The secretary sits on the swivel chair with his legs together (literally “tight”)|
|Le secrétaire se penche sur le bureau et dévoile le haut de ses bas||The secretary bends over the desk and reveals (dévoiler, -er) the tops (singular in French) of his stockings|
|Le secrétaire s'allonge sur ses genoux de sa patronne pour une fessée||The secretary lies over his boss's knees (un genou) for a spanking|
|taper à la machine (-er)||to type|
|classer les dossiers (-er)||to file|
|répondre au téléphone (-re)||to answer the phone|
|faire du café||to make coffee|
|transcrire des dictées (-crire)||to transcribe dictation|
|prendre les notes||to take the minutes|
|écrire une lettre (-crire)||to write a letter|
|photocopier un rapport (-er)||to photocopy a report|
|assister à une réunion (-er)||to attend a meeting|
|faire plaisir à la patronne||to please the boss|
Which of these essential secretarial skills are you proficient at, and which do you still need to master? Pretend that you are attending an interview, and try to impress a potential employer by constructing sentences that start with Je sais (“I know how to”). Don't be over-confident, however - if you can't do something, it's better to be honest, as your shortcomings will soon be found out! Non, Madame, je ne sais pas taper, mais je voudrais apprendre, you might say, showing a desire to learn that's likely to be appreciated. We'll be looking at je voudrais (“I would like”) in more detail in the next lesson, along with the far more important matter of what your mistress wants. For now, get a feel for this useful phrase by applying it to other verbs. Oui, Madame, je voudrais porter une jupe et un chemisier comme une femme au travail !
Translate the following:
Le dossier du secrétaire était sur le bureau de sa patronne
L'homme n'a pas vu les punaises sur sa chaise avant de s'asseoir
Tu vas photocopier ce rapport vingt fois, puis tu vas faire du café pour la réunion
La bonne était sous le lit quand sa maîtresse est entrée, mais maintenant il est enfermé dans le placard
Quand il ne répond pas au téléphone, le secrétaire transcrit des dictées
Say the following in French:
The mouse is near the keyboard, and the drawer unit is under the desk
There are no staples in the stapler
A good secretary knows how to please his boss
I must take the minutes because I am the secretary
He is used to answering the phone for the businesswomen
Have you ever wanted to plunge your hand into your panties? Perhaps you were prevented from finding pleasure by a sharp slap from your mistress's hand, or perhaps a frustrating contraption thwarted your selfish desires. All sissies want to wear pretty panties, even if they're not permitted to play with what's inside, but some can only lust after satin and lace as they do the laundry wearing more mundane materials. After all, what a maid wants is of no consequence compared to the wishes of his mistress, but that doesn't mean you don't need to be able to speak about such things - if only to understand your superior's commands!
In French, the irregular verb vouloir is used to say “want”, as follows:
|Je veux une maison propre quand je rentre||I want a clean house when I get home|
|Tu veux faire plaisir à ta maîtresse, n'est-ce pas, Fifi ?||You want to please your mistress, don't you, Fifi?|
|Il veut travailler comme secrétaire d'une femme d'affaires autoritaire||He wants to work as a secretary for a bossy (autoritaire) businesswoman|
|Elle veut récompenser sa bonne avec des nouveaux talons aiguilles||She wants to reward (récompenser, -er) her maid with new stiletto heels|
|Nous voulons tous voir votre jolie culotte rose !||We all want to see your pretty pink panties!|
|Vous voulez me punir, Madame ?||You want to punish me, Ma'am?|
|Ils veulent desserrer leur gaine, mais ils ne peuvent pas||They want to loosen their girdles, but they can't (pouvoir, see lesson 39)|
|Elles veulent humilier l'homme autant que possible||They want to humiliate (humilier, -er) the man as much as possible|
The past participle of vouloir is voulu, and the imperfect stem is voul-. Its future tense is also irregular, requiring voudr-:
|Tu as voulu porter quelque chose de tellement froufrouteux, n'est-ce pas, Fifi ?||You wanted to wear something so frilly (froufrouteux, -euse), didn't you, Fifi?|
|Tu voulais enlever ta culotte la dernière fois que tu as joui||You wanted to take off your panties the last time you came|
|Tu voudras la porter à nouveau plus tard, même si tu ne le veux pas maintenant||You will want to wear them again later, even if you don't want it now|
That's all well and good when a mistress is teasing her maid about the panties he's reluctant to pull back up after a milking, but Fifi's lack of enthusiasm is the least of his problems as he prepares to consume the gooey contents of the cup. Later, when his slumbering organ starts to stir in the silky confection that confines it, he might try to make things up to his mistress by saying:
|Je veux porter des culottes à froufrous tout le temps, Madame||I want to wear frilly panties all the time, Ma'am|
While that's better than protesting that he doesn't, it's hardly polite enough for a maid who is expected to be especially deferential when he serves. Would it be appropriate to walk into a lingerie shop and declare “I want some panties”? Unless you want to be given short shrift by the saleswoman, it would be better to use softer language, replacing “I want” with “I would like” so as not to sound unpleasantly arrogant. Wanting is the prerogative of a mistress, with a maid having to make do with more hopeful expressions, even when your desires coincide with those of the woman whose wishes must always come first.
So far, all the verbs we have used have been in what is known as the indicative mood, which states things as a fact - regardless of their tense. “He wears a bra”, “he wore a bra”, “he will be wearing a bra” - in each case, there's a brassièred man at some point in time, helplessly weak in the cups, band and straps. In English, however, there are ways of speaking about men wearing bras where they aren't appropriately attired - “he would wear a bra” and “he would have worn a bra” being two examples. Often these have conditions attached - for instance, “he would wear a bra if it wasn't so hot” or “he would have worn a bra if he had known she would check” - and so this is referred to as the conditional mood, which, as you should be able to see from those examples, has tenses of its own.
In later lessons, we will look at two further moods - the imperative mood, which gives commands, and the subjunctive mood, which imparts an unreality to what is being spoken about. Whereas tenses describe when an action takes place, moods indicate the attitude of the speaker towards it, with the two aspects coming together to convey a particular meaning. Even if you've never considered moods consciously, you'll instinctively understand the difference between “He wears a bra”, “I would wear a bra”, “Wear a bra!” and “She suggested that he wear a bra. With practice, the French equivalents will soon become as familiar, so let's start by looking at le conditionnel.
If you've mastered l'imparfait and le futur simple, you'll have no trouble constructing le conditionnel. To start with, take the same future stem that you would use for le futur simple (which, in the case of most -er and -ir verbs, is the same as the infinitive, and requires you only to drop the final -e for most -re verbs), then add one of the same endings that you would for l'imparfait. As a reminder, that's -ais for je and tu; -ait for il and elle; -ions for nous; -iez for vous; and lastly, -aient for ils and elles. For example, with aimer (“to like”):
|J'aimerais porter un soutien-gorge au travail||I would like to wear a bra at work|
|Tu aimerais porter un soutien-gorge sous un chemisier transparent||You would like to wear a bra under a sheer blouse|
|Il aimerait porter un soutien-gorge comme une femme||He would like to wear a bra like a woman|
|Elle aimerait porter un soutien-gorge moins souvent||She would like to wear a bra less often|
|Nous aimerions porter des soutiens-gorge de la même taille||We would like to wear bras of the same size|
|Vous aimeriez porter un soutien-gorge moins inconfortable||You would like to wear a less uncomfortable bra|
|Ils aimeraient porter des soutiens-gorge tout le temps||They would like to wear bras all the time|
|Elles aimeraient porter des soutiens-gorge plus confortables||They would like to wear more comfortable bras|
In English, it's more natural to say “I would like to”, whereas “I would want to” sounds strangely formal - albeit not completely out of character for an old-fashioned maid. In French, both J'aimerais and Je voudrais (remembering that vouloir has an irregular future stem, voudr-) are perfectly acceptable in everyday conversation, the former having a more hopeful, less expectant tone than the latter. One might wistfully dream of wearing a bra to work like a woman with J'aimerais, but actively ask your mistress to be allowed such a privilege with Je voudrais - assuming, of course, she didn't decide to limit your vocabulary to only one of the verbs, or take matters out of your hands by mandating such garments. In any case, both are infinitely preferable to Je veux. Here are some examples with vouloir:
|Je voudrais redresser les coussins sur votre chaise, Madame||I would like to straighten (redresser, -er) the cushions (un coussin) on your chair, Ma'am|
|Tu voudrais éviter une fessée douloureuse, n'est-ce pas, Fifi ?||You would like to avoid a painful spanking, wouldn't you, Fifi?|
|Il voudrait finir ses corvées le plus tôt possible||He would like to finish his chores as soon as possible|
|Elle voudrait le voir nettoyer toute la maison sans aucune aide||She would like to see him clean the whole house without any help|
|Nous voudrions acheter une gaine-combinaison dans la taille de mon mari avec des grands bonnets à armatures||We would like to buy a corselette in my husband's size with large underwired cups|
|Vous voudriez vous asseoir pendant que je masse vos pieds, Madame ?||Would you like to sit down while I massage your feet, Ma'am?|
|Ils voudraient s'en aller, mais leurs femmes s'amusent trop||They would like to leave (s'en aller, “to go away”, using aller reflexively with en), but their wives are having too much fun|
|Elles voudraient une autre bouteille de vin||They would like another bottle of wine|
What would you like to do for your mistress? What does your mistress want?
Translate the following:
Je voudrais savoir agrafer une soutien-gorge
Non, Madame, je ne veux pas porter mon corset de punition
La bonne veut s'allonger mais sa maîtresse l'interdit
Ma maîtresse ne voudrait pas que je regarde les seins des autres femmes
L'homme aimerait se changer avant l'arrivée des amies de sa femme
Say the following in French:
I want to obey my mistress, I want to please her
I wouldn't want to wear a black bra under a white shirt
He would like to take off his chastity belt but his mistress has the keys
His boss wants to see his stocking tops when he bends over
I would like to learn to type like a secretary
You already know how to use devoir in the indicative mood to speak of things you must do, for example, Je dois obéir à ma maîtresse, but this isn't the only way this verb can be used. Once you know that the future stem of devoir is devr-, you can conjugate it in the conditional mood too, which softens its meaning from “must” to “should”. Let's see that in practice:
|Je devrais pratiquer mes exercices de langue tous les jours||I should practise (pratiquer, -er) my language exercises (une langue, “a language”, but also “a tongue”) every day|
|Tu devrais nettoyer les toilettes plus souvent||You should clean the toilet more often|
|Il devrait être plus prudent||He should be more careful (prudent(e))|
|Elle devrait punir son mari pour son manque de respect||She should punish her husband for his disrespect|
|Nous devrions t'acheter assez de gaines pour une semaine entière||We should buy you enough girdles for a whole (entière) week|
|Vous devriez me laisser faire cela, Madame||You should let me do that, Ma'am|
|Ils devraient porter des soutiens-gorge tout le temps aussi||They should wear bras all the time too|
|Elles devraient le faire travailler tard pour s'excuser||They should make him work late to say sorry|
Of course, some of those sentences could be written with “must” as well, but whether les hommes soumis doivent porter des soutiens-gorge tout le temps depends on the preferences of the individual women they serve. In any case, the choice of moods will make it clear how strongly something is meant, so pay attention to the different forms of devoir just as much as you would any other verb.
Sometimes, it's not a question of whether you should or must, but whether you can. Are you capable of living up to your mistress's expectations, or are you unable to please her? Perhaps you're not yet proficient enough because of having insufficient practice, or perhaps she's asking the impossible of you as a pretext for punishment. Maybe you're the kind of pathetic excuse for a maid who whines you “can't” whenever you're pushed even slightly out of your comfort zone, still needing to learn that you can do much more if you really commit yourself. Either way, you'll need to know how to say “can” in French, something that requires the use of pouvoir, another irregular verb that's not too different from vouloir:
|Je peux étendre le linge dans mon tablier et ma robe||I can hang out the washing in my apron and dress|
|Tu peux lacer ton propre corset, Fifi||You can lace up your own corset, Fifi|
|Il peut agrafer son soutien-gorge tout seul||He can fasten his bra all by himself|
|Elle peut appeler sa bonne avec une petite cloche||She can call her maid with a little bell|
|Nous pouvons comprendre ton inconfort, nous devons les porter aussi||We can understand your discomfort, we have to wear them too|
|Vous pouvez me punir comme bon vous semble, Madame||You can punish me as you see fit (literally “as good to you it seems”), Ma'am|
|Ils peuvent porter des soutiens-gorge toute la journée s'ils essaient||They can wear bras all day if they try|
|Elles peuvent se détendre, parce que leurs maris feront tout||They can relax (se détendre, -re), because their husbands will do everything|
Obviously, pouvoir can be used with negative adverbs to mean “cannot”:
|L'homme soumis ne pouvait pas échapper à ses menottes||The submissive man couldn't escape (échapper, -er) his handcuffs|
The past participle of pouvoir is pu, and its imperfect stem is pouv-. Like vouloir, its future stem is also irregular, pourr-. In addition, pouvoir can be used in the conditional mood to mean “could”. When considering things you “could” do, however, it's important to think about what you're trying to say - are you speaking of a hypothetical possibility, perhaps softening your words so as to be more polite, or are you referring to something you were once capable of in the past? Consider the following two sentences:
|Je pourrais laver les rideaux aujourd'hui, Madame, parce qu'il fait beau||I could wash the curtains (un rideau) today, Ma'am, because it's a nice day|
|Autrefois, j'ai pu me masturber par caprice, mais maintenant je suis enfermé dans une ceinture de chasteté, je ne pourrai plus jamais me masturber||I could once masturbate on a whim, but now I am locked in a chastity belt, I'll never be able to masturbate again|
Might there be a connection between the two, beyond the common use of pouvoir? How much more pleasing a maid is when he considers what he can do to please his mistress, rather than being preoccupied with his own pleasure!
The conditional mood isn't limited to the present tense, however. Just as you can use an indicative form of avoir (or être for certain verbs) with a past participle to make le passé composé (for example: Il a nettoyé le plancher, “he had cleaned the floor”), you can also use a conditional form to make what is known as le conditionnel passé (“the past conditional”), which expresses possibilities in the past. That works the same way as it would in English - “He would have cleaned the floor” becomes Il aurait nettoyé le plancher, where nettoyé remains the past participle of nettoyer, and aurait is the conditional form of avoir (from its future stem aur-). Did the maid in question have good reason not to get down on his hands and knees, perhaps because he knew that his mistress would soon be coming into the room, or is he ruing his earlier lapse as he considers an impending punishment? Either way, it is too late!
Study the following examples until you understand how to use this tense:
|J'aurais fini plus tôt, Madame, mais j'ai fait un désordre||I would have finished earlier, Ma'am, but I made a mess|
|Tu aurais aimé jouir, mais tes efforts pour me plaire ont été insuffisants||You would have liked to come, but your efforts to please me have been insufficient (insuffisant(e))|
|Il aurait enlevé son soutien-gorge, mais sa femme l'a interdit||He would have taken off his bra, but his wife forbade it|
|Elle aurait ne voulu pas le punir, mais le comportement de son mari ne lui a pas laissé le choix||She would not have wanted to punish him, but her husband's behaviour had left her no choice|
|Nous aurions acheté un porte-jarretelles assorti, mais il n'y en avait pas||We would have bought a matching garter belt, but there wasn't one|
|Vous auriez été très en colère si je n'avais pas obéi, Madame||You would have been very angry if I hadn't obeyed, Ma'am|
|Ils auraient porté des tabliers et des robes si elle avait été responsable des uniformes||They would have worn aprons and dresses if she had been in charge of the uniforms|
|Elles auraient taquiné plus l'homme, mais il a joui dans sa culotte||They would have teased the man more, but he came in his panties|
In particular, putting devoir in the conditionnel passé allows you to speak of what you should or shouldn't have done. Here, the past participle is dû, again preceded by a conditional form of avoir. Of course, knowing that you should have done differently is not enough - since you can't go back in time, you have no choice but to accept the consequences of your actions and resolve to do better in the future. Might expressing your regrets soften the mood of your mistress? Make the best of a bad situation with the following:
|J'aurais dû commencer plus tôt, Madame||I should have started earlier, Ma'am|
|Tu aurais dû finir avant qu'elles arrivent, Fifi||You should have finished before they arrived, Fifi|
|Il aurait dû porter un tablier comme sa femme lui a dit||He should have worn an apron like his wife told him|
|Elle aurait dû l'oblige à porter une ceinture de chasteté||She should have made him wear a chastity belt|
|Nous aurions dû t'en acheter un plus petit||We should have bought you a smaller one|
|Vous auriez dû me demander, Madame, j'aurais été heureux de rendre service||You should have asked me, Ma'am, I would have been happy to oblige (literally “render service”)|
|Ils auraient dû obéir à leur patronne||They should have obeyed their boss|
|Elles auraient dû gronder le secrétaire aussitôt qu'il a fait une erreur||They should have scolded the secretary as soon as he made a mistake|
In the example above, what kind of “smaller one” is being spoken of? Un plus petit would be appropriate were mistress and maid talking about bras, corsets or other grammatically masculine items of attire, but if unwanted room for growth in Fifi's chastity belt or girdle were the subject of conversation, then une plus petite would need to be used instead. Either way, whatever a male maid wears shouldn't be too big - unless, of course, we're speaking of his false breasts!
Could have, would have, should have - these are all things you can now say in French, but it's much better to be able to use “can”, “do” and “will” when speaking of what your mistress wants. Whether it's completing the most menial of chores without complaining, wearing what you're told to, or showing the submission expected of a servant, show that you're worthy of your uniform by reserving the conditional mood for your practice rather than your apologies!
Translate the following:
Il ne pouvait pas enlever sa gaine-culotte, parce qu'elle était fermée à clé
Un bon secrétaire peut taper à la machine en portant de faux ongles
La bonne aurait dû s'agenouiller quand les femmes sont entrées dans la pièce
Le mari soumis n'aurait pas désobéi s'il avait connu la punition
Tu pourrais d'abord nettoyer la salle de bain ou la cuisine
Say the following in French:
Maids should clean toilets, not mistresses
He shouldn't have worn his wife's lipstick
I could wear a bigger bra at home, Ma'am, but I couldn't wear it at work
The sissy would have worn his lacy pink panties but they were dirty
I can hang out my underwear while dressed as a maid
If you were paying attention to the examples in the previous lesson, you'll have noticed how the conditional mood can be used as part of sentences involving the word “if” (si) - for example: Ils auraient porté des tabliers et des robes si elle avait été responsable des uniformes (“They would have worn aprons and dresses if she had been in charge of the uniforms”). There's more to consider here than merely the circumstances under which men might have found themselves having to dress as maids, with a new tense having slipped into the sentence as well - albeit one you probably understood without having to have it explained! By the time you finish this lesson, you'll be able to construct similar sentences yourself, speaking of the hypothetical consequences of things that didn't happen - perhaps punishments you've avoided by not making careless mistakes! If you practise, you'll be rewarded - not only sound advice, but a good place to start learning about conditional clauses. Let's say it in French:
|Si tu pratiques, tu seras récompensé||If you practise, you will be rewarded|
There's no difference in the tenses between English and French here - indeed, this motto for maids can be translated word for word. Moreover, it's possible to swap the two parts without needing to change anything else:
|Tu seras récompensé si tu pratiques||You will be rewarded if you practise|
Here the part that follows the si (the “if”) is in the present tense, with the “then” part being in the future tense, but the latter could just as easily be in the present tense too. Let's consider some further examples:
|Si je mets du désordre, je le nettoie||If I make a mess (literally “put in disorder”), I clean it up|
|Si tu enlèves ton soutien-gorge, tu seras fessé||If you take off your bra, you will be spanked (fesser, -er)|
|S'il pleut, je dois rentrer le linge||If it rains, I must bring in the washing|
|Si elle demande, tu lui diras ce que tu portes||If she asks, you will tell her what you are wearing|
|Si nous voulons voir, tu nous montreras||If we want to see, you will show us|
|Si vous voulez encore du vin, Mesdames, je peux ouvrir une autre bouteille||If you would like more wine, ladies, I can open another bottle (see note at end of lesson)|
|S'ils ne portent pas leur ceinture de chasteté, ils sont susceptibles de mal se comporter||If they don't wear their chastity belts, they are likely to (susceptible de) misbehave (se comporter, -er, “to behave”)|
|Si elles achètent quelque chose, leur mari paye||If they buy anything, their husband pays|
In each case, there's a possibility of both action and consequence happening. Maids, however careful they may be, can still make a mess that must be cleaned up, whereas the heavens might open at any moment, requiring the man responsible for the washing to rush outside. When the tenses are indicative, the sentences express a straightforward condition - if this happens, then that happens. The sissy removes his bra, his bottom ends up sore, the ladies want more wine, the maid opens another bottle - action and consequence. Things change, however, when the conditional mood is used in the “then” part. Consider the difference with the following:
|Si tu ne pratiquais pas, tu serais puni||If you didn't practise, you would be punished|
Here pratiquais is in the imperfect, a past tense, whereas serais is a conditional form of être. There's a very different implication as a result, the suggestion that you might not have practised being much more unlikely. After all, you want to learn French, dutifully having worked your way through thirty nine previous lessons to get to this point, so your mistress shouldn't have to motivate you by now. Nevertheless, there's still a possibility that you might disappoint her, with the consequences of doing so remaining on the table.
As before, the tenses work the same way as they do in English. Here are some more examples - pay attention to where the different tenses occur:
|Si je désobéissais à ma maîtresse, elle serait en colère||If I disobeyed my mistress, she would be angry|
|Si tu ne portais pas de soutien-gorge, tu serais trop machiste||If you weren't wearing a bra, you would be too macho (machiste)|
|S'il portait une jupe plus longue, elles ne verraient pas sa culotte||If he wore a longer skirt, they wouldn't see his panties|
|Si elle nettoyait la maison elle-même, sa bonne n'aurait rien à faire||If she cleaned the house herself, her maid would have nothing to do|
|Si nous étions patronne et secrétaire, tu travaillerais sous mon bureau||If we were boss and secretary, you would work under my desk|
|Si vous n'étiez pas ma maîtresse, je voudrais faire quand même votre ménage||If you weren't my mistress, I would like to do your cleaning all the same|
|S'ils étaient de vrais secrétaires, ils porteraient des jupes et des chemisiers||If they were real (vrai(e), “real” or “true”) secretaries, they would wear skirts and blouses|
|Si elles n'avaient pas de mari, elles devraient engager des domestiques||If they didn't have husbands, they would have to hire cleaners|
The assumption in each of these sentences is that the “if” part is unlikely to happen, and so the consequences remain hypothetical. He does obey his mistress, he does wear a bra, and so he isn't too macho, nor is she angry. Nevertheless, circumstances could still change going into the future, with the use of the conditional not settling the matter completely. Now consider the following:
|Si tu avais pratiqué, tu n'aurais pas été puni||If you had practised, you wouldn't have been punished|
It's too late for the sissy in question to practise now, the consequences of his laziness also having happened. Perhaps he is still standing in the corner, clutching a burning behind as he rues not spending sufficient time studying his grammar. In any case, the choice of tenses means that this sentence is no longer threatening a possibility, but speaking of the past. The sissy didn't practise, he was punished, and now his mistress is reminding him of the fact as she considers whether he is sorry - or whether he needs to spend another hour with his nose against the wall! Be sure to avoid ending up in such a shameful situation yourself by studying sufficiently, especially the use of tenses!
Once again, the “then” part is in the conditional mood, although now the conditionnel passé is used to put it in the past (être puni, “to be punished” becomes tu aurais été puni, “you would have been punished”, which is then negated). This time, however, pratiquer (“to practise”) is in a new tense, le plus-que-parfait (“the pluperfect”), which indicates that something had happened at some point in the past. You may recognise its component parts - it's formed by combining an imperfect form of avoir (or être for the usual exceptions) and the verb's past participle, for example:
|J'avais repassé ces chemisiers, Madame, mais maintenant ils sont froissés !||I had ironed those blouses, Ma'am, but now they're creased! (froissé(e))|
|Tu avais déjà commencé à nettoyer le salon quand elles sont arrivées||You had already started cleaning the lounge when they arrived|
|Il avait mis un soutien-gorge, mais il l'a enlevé||He had put on a bra, but he took it off|
|Elle avait serré le corset de son mari, mais il l'avait desserré en cachette||She had tightened her husband's corset, but he had loosened it on the sly|
|Nous avions acheté ce jolie soutien-gorge rose, mais il est beaucoup trop petit pour lui||We had bought this pretty pink bra, but it is much too small for him|
|Vous me l'aviez dit, mais j'ai oublié, Madame||You had told me, but I forgot, Ma'am|
|Ils avaient été punis une fois et bientôt ils seraient punis à nouveau||They had been punished once and soon they would be punished again|
|Elles avaient voulu regarder pendant qu'il frottait le plancher||They had wanted to watch while he scrubbed the floor|
Knowing how to use the plus-que-parfait, we can return to our earlier “if” and construct further sentences describing past consequences. Consider these:
|Si j'avais satisfait ma maîtresse, elle aurait déverrouillé ma ceinture de chasteté||If I had satisfied my mistress, she would have unlocked my chastity belt|
|Si tu avais porté une gaine, tu n'aurais pas eu autant de difficulté avec ta robe||If you had worn a girdle, you wouldn't have had so much trouble with your dress|
|S'il avait nettoyé les toilettes correctement la première fois, il n'aurait pas eu à les nettoyer à nouveau||If he had cleaned the toilet properly the first time, he wouldn't have had to clean it again|
|Si elle n'avait pas donné une fessée à son mari, il n'aurait pas appris sa leçon||If she hadn't given her husband a spanking, he wouldn't have learned his lesson|
|Si nous n'étions pas allés au magasin, nous n'aurions pas vu ces jolies culottes||If we hadn't gone to the shop, we wouldn't have seen those pretty panties|
|Si vous ne m'aviez pas corrigé, j'aurais continué à faire la même erreur, Madame||If you hadn't corrected me, I would have continued to make the same mistake, Ma'am|
|S'ils avaient porté des soutiens-gorge, ils ne se seraient pas mal comportés||If they had worn bras, they wouldn't have misbehaved|
|Si elles s'étaient penchées un peu plus en avant, elles auraient montré leur décolleté||If they had leaned a little further forward, they would have shown their cleavages (un décolleté, masculine!)|
Did you take note of where the various negatives and pronouns go? And did you notice how aller and se pencher, both of which are verbs of movement, required être rather than avoir to put them in their pluperfect forms? If you didn't, then it's not too late to go back and study those sentences again, unlike the situations being described. If you don't, then you won't understand, and if you don't understand, things won't end well for you!
Finally, it's important to note that conditional clauses don't permit all combinations of tenses. No matter how polite Fifi might seek to be, he should never say si vous voudriez to his mistress and her friends, the conditional mood not something that can come after si without being ungrammatical. For once, it would be appropriate for a maid to use the indicative form of vouloir, but it would be even better to choose a particularly polite verb in place of being able to use the conditional tense. Consider how you might offer to top up the women's glasses using souhaiter (-er, “to wish”):
|Si vous souhaitez encore du vin, Mesdames, je peux ouvrir une autre bouteille||If you would like more wine, ladies, I can open another bottle|
Translate the following:
Si ma patronne est en réunion, je ne dois pas la déranger sans bonne raison
Il n'aurait pas porté une veste lourde s'il ne portait pas une guêpière noire
Si tu n'étais pas une femmelette, tu ne serais pas excité par des culottes en dentelle
Elles auraient ri si elles l'avaient vu dans son tablier et sa robe
S'il avait fini ses corvées, elle lui aurait permis de s'asseoir
Say the following in French:
I will do everything perfectly if I want to please my mistress
My wife will be angry with me if I return late
If you had bought me a bigger bra, I would have bigger breasts
She wouldn't have punished him if he hadn't tried to masturbate
If the secretary cannot type quickly, he will have to learn
By now, you should be familiar with both the indicatif and the conditionnel moods, knowing that the former is for indications of fact, whereas the latter is for more conditional actions. Mistresses “want” and maids “would like”, but these aren't the only moods that can be used for expressing desires. If you've ever been told what to do, then you'll have found yourself subject to a third - the imperative, a way of speaking that leaves you little choice but to obey. “Put it on!”, your mistress might say, thrusting something into your hands. It doesn't matter whether she's talking about an apron, a bra, or a chastity belt, because when you're instructed to wear something, that's exactly what you have to do! Once you've carried out your mistress's command, however, take a moment to consider its structure more carefully.
There's no subject, to start with, but “put” is conjugated in the same way it would be if the sentence were preceded by “you” - not that there can be any doubt about whom your mistress is making demands of. A submissive maid would never speak in such a way, save perhaps under his breath to a recalcitrant appliance, but will frequently find himself receiving such instructions, even if the lady of the house isn't the slightest bit cross with him. “Change the bed, wash the sheets, then hang them out to dry” - three commands, one after another, each using the imperative mood, but perhaps casually given. “Stand in the corner! Put your hands on your head and press your nose against the wall!” - three more, again using the imperative mood, but conveying a very different feeling!
French also has an imperative mood, le impératif. Like its English equivalent, it is generally used in the present tense - commands are very immediate affairs, even if they give instructions for the future. Moreover, it only has conjugations for tu, vous and nous, because it isn't possible to give commands to a third party. With the imperative, it's about what you have to do, unless your mistress uses the nous form, which is akin to “Let us” (often shortened to “Let's”) and makes more of a suggestion. Let's illustrate that in more ways than one by putting porter in the imperative:
|Porte ta culotte rose aujourd'hui, Fifi !||Wear your pink panties today, Fifi!|
|Portons des bikinis pour bronzer !||Let's wear bikinis to sunbathe!|
|Portez des chemisiers moins suggestifs au travail, Monsieur Le Secrétaire !||Wear less suggestive (suggestif, -ive) blouses at work, Mr Secretary!|
Save for the lack of subjects, the only thing distinguishing those sentences from simple statements of fact is how the tu form uses porte rather than portes. Otherwise, each could be preceded by the corresponding pronoun - for example: Nous portons des bikinis pour bronzer (“We wear bikinis to sunbathe”) - a present tense description of things after the command has been carried out. Fifi's mistress instructs him to wear his pink panties, and so he wears his pink panties. The secretary's boss instructs him to wear less revealing blouses to work, and so he dutifully adjusts his wardrobe, thankful that she at least allows him the dignity of vous when discussing his clothes in front of his colleagues. If only he didn't have to wear such an obvious bra beneath!
For all -er verbs, both regular and irregular, the imperative conjugations for nous and vous are identical to those for the indicative present tense (the first tense you learned), with the tu form being the same, but without the final “s”. Things are even easier for most -ir and -re verbs, where even the tu form requires no modification. With choisir, for example:
|Choisis la plus grande taille de bonnet !||Choose the biggest cup size|
|Choisissons des talons vraiment hauts pour toi !||Let's choose some really high heels for you!|
|Choisissez quel tablier vous voulez qu'il porte !||Choose which apron you want him to wear|
Of course, when faced with such commands, a submissive maid has no choice in the matter, having to accept whatever others decide. At least it's easy to understand what you're expected to do, even if that's merely to wait:
|Attends dehors, Fifi !||Wait outside, Fifi!|
|Attendons l'avis de la vendeuse !||Let's wait for the saleswoman's opinion|
|Attendez votre tour, je suis la prochaine !||Wait your turn, I'm next!|
Verbs that end in either -frir or -vrir drop the “s” on their tu form:
|Ouvre grand !||Open wide!|
|Ouvrons les rideaux !||Let's open the curtains!|
|Ouvrez les yeux et regardez comme il est beau !||Open your eyes and see how pretty he is!|
Many commands require action, often immediately, but it's just as important for you to obey your mistress when she tells you not to do something. Fortunately, putting the imperative in the negative is similarly straightforward:
|Ne bouge pas un muscle avant mon retour !||Don't move (bouger, -er) a muscle until I return!|
|N'arrête pas de le sucer !||Don't stop sucking it!|
|N'enlève jamais ton soutien-gorge sans ma permission !||Never take off your bra without my permission!|
That's even the case when pronouns or reflexive verbs are involved:
|Ne le recrache pas !||Don't spit it out!|
|Ne t'assieds jamais sur tes jupons !||Never sit on your petticoats!|
|Ne me déçois plus, bonne désobéissante !||Don't disappoint me again, you disobedient maid!|
In the absence of a negative, however, the order of such words changes, with pronouns not only coming after the verb, but connected with a hyphen. In such cases, me becomes moi and te becomes toi, for example:
|Regarde-moi quand je te parle !||Look at me when I'm talking to you!|
|Tourne-toi, penche-toi et écarte les fesses !||Turn around (tourner, -er), bend over and spread (écarter, -er, “to separate”) your cheeks! (une fesse)|
Do you see how fesse (“buttock”) is related to fesser (“to spank”) and fessée (“spanking”), or do you need to ask for a physical reminder? You should count yourself fortunate if the woman you serve only uses sa main (“her hand”), because some mistresses like to make their maids suffer with une canne (“a cane”), une cravache (“a crop”), un martinet (“a flogger”) or even un fouet (“a whip”)!
Regardless of any threat of discipline, you should hang on your mistress's every word, but when she uses the imperative, her intention should be very clear. When there's a verb but no subject, it's almost certain that you're the one of whom something is required, such that you might conclude that you only need to recognise the stem. Oui, Madame !, you might hurriedly answer, desperately hoping that you won't have to explain what you're supposed to have understood - unless your mistress has used one of a small number of irregular verbs, where you won't be able to get away with taking such a shortcut. Needless to say, these include avoir and être, as illustrated in the following examples:
|N'aie pas peur, Fifi, ce n'est pas très grand||Don't be afraid, Fifi, it's not very big|
|N'ayons pas honte de nos soutiens-gorge, Fifi||Let's not be ashamed of our bras, Fifi|
|Ayez de la patience avec ma bonne, il n'est pas encore formé !||Have patience with my maid, he isn't yet trained|
|Sois une bonne bonne et fais le ménage sans te plaindre !||Be a good maid and clean without complaining!|
|Soyons mari et femme ce soir !||Let's be husband and wife tonight!|
|Soyez aussi dragueuse que vous le souhaitez, il ne peut rien faire||Be as flirtatious (dragueuse) as you like (literally “to wish”), he can't do anything|
Of special note is the imperative form of vouloir, which is used only in the vous form. veuillez means “please” and can be used before other verbs in their infinitive to make an instruction more polite - perhaps the only way in which the imperative may be appropriately used by a maid. Knowing this, we can make sense of sentences that you should be very familiar with:
|Veuillez accepter mes excuses, Madame !||Please accept (accepter, -er) my apologies, Ma'am|
|Veuillez m'excuser, Madame !||Please excuse me, Ma'am|
What would you do if your mistress suddenly said va-t'en? Would you stand there and wait for her to use even sterner words, or would you scurry away with your tail between your legs, recognising the imperative form of s'en aller? Je t'ai dit va-t'en, Fifi ! Dehors ! (“I told you to go away, Fifi! Out!”)
When practising the imperative, pretend that it is your mistress who is giving you commands, and show that you understand by acknowledging them in the future tense. A submissive Oui, Madame ! or Non, Madame ! simply isn't sufficient when you should be capable of saying Oui, Madame, je vais porter ma culotte rose aujourd'hui or Non, Madame, je n'enlèverai jamais mon soutien-gorge sans votre permission. You needn't stop there, however - knowing how to say “should” and “must”, you can construct further sentences with which to demonstrate your willingness to do as you're told. Oui, Madame, je devrais choisir la plus grande taille de bonnet, Non, Madame, je ne dois pas vous décevoir - if not to your mistress, then at least to yourself afterwards.
Translate the following:
Agrafe ta gaine et mets tes bas !
Lave ces chemisiers, puis étends-les !
Employons une femmelette comme secrétaire !
Ne regarde pas ses seins ! Regarde le plancher !
Ne me dérange jamais quand je bavarde avec mes amies !
Say the following in French:
Tighten your corset and pad your bra!
Don't show everyone your panties!
Lock your chastity belt and give me the key!
Let's punish the maid!
Never disobey your mistress, always obey her!
What should you do if your mistress gives you a command you don't understand? You could ask her to repeat herself, but you'd need to take care that you didn't sound impudent with a Pardon, Madame ? or a Répétez, s'il vous plaît, Madame. Perhaps you might approach the matter indirectly, acknowledging your confusion in the hope that she might have mercy on you. Pardonnez-moi, Madame, je suis vraiment désolé, mais je n'ai pas compris (“Forgive me, Ma'am, I am very sorry, but I didn't understand”), but that's an awful lots of words! Without being able to explain exactly what you didn't understand, you run the risk of finding yourself none the wiser despite having tried your mistress's patience, maybe even having to hazard a guess about what she wants. She might have said she wants you to wear pink panties today, but did she mean the pink lace ones or the pink satin ones? Choose the wrong pair, and you might all too soon find yourself having to pull them down so that she can turn your unprotected behind a similar colour with her hairbrush!
A maid with a greater understand of grammar can avoid such dilemmas by asking appropriate questions. If you've been studying the lesson titles as carefully as you should, you've already seen a number of these, but you don't actually need to know any additional vocabulary in order to ask. Merely by making your voice go up at the end of a sentence, you can transform it into a question, albeit one that can only be answered with Oui (“Yes”), Non (“No”) or Si (“Yes”, in response to a negative question). That makes this informal approach more appropriate for your mistress to ask things of you, noting that your answers will require an additional Madame to be respectful. Either you have or you haven't, with the lady of the house not wanting to hear any unnecessary details, let alone excuses!
|Tu as fini la lessive, Fifi ?||You've finished the laundry, Fifi?|
|Oui, Madame !||Yes, Ma'am!|
|Tu n'as rien oublié ?||You haven't forgotten anything?|
|Non, Madame !||No, Ma'am!|
|Tu n'as pas déjà repassé tous ces draps ?||You haven't ironed all those sheets already?|
|Si, Madame !||Actually, yes, Ma'am!|
Fifi shouldn't allow himself to feel smug, however, because his mistress can also ask him questions by preceding a sentence with Est-ce que (literally “is it that”). Unfortunately, our feminized maid allows himself to get a little puffed up, forgetting his place for a moment as he shows off his French:
|Est-ce que tu as repassé tous mes chemisiers aussi ?||Have you ironed all my blouses too?|
|Mais oui, Madame ! Je repasse très rapidement !||But yes, Ma'am! I iron very quickly!|
Time to take the wind out of his sails! When you're reasonably sure that something's the case, you can follow a statement with n'est ce pas ?. This literally means “is it not?”, but unlike in English, it doesn't need to match the tense of the sentence. In the following example, Fifi is forced to consider both past and future, his previous mistakes not ones he's allowed to forget:
|Tu vas les ranger au bon endroit cette fois, n'est-ce pas ?||You're going to put them away in the right place (un endroit) this time, aren't you?|
|Oui, Madame !||Yes, Ma'am!|
|Dis-le-moi correctement !||Tell me properly!|
|Je vais ranger vos chemisiers au bon endroit cette fois, Madame, à côté de vos jupes||I'm going to put your blouses away in the right place this time, Ma'am, next to your skirts|
Not so cocky now, is he? No matter how proficient you might become at skills such as ironing, never forget that you are merely a maid - a maid who must please his mistress by showing appropriate meekness at all times!
In English, it's possible to ask a question simply by swapping the order of words around. “You are wearing a bra” only requires the subject and the verb to be switched for it to become an enquiry, rather than a statement of fact - not that there should ever be any doubt about whether you're appropriately dressed! Should you fasten your own bra? One need merely answer that question with more than a “Yes!” to see that such inversion works regardless of the verb, and the same is true in French. Consider the following exchange between maid and mistress:
|Aimes-tu les chemisiers pour femmes, Fifi ?||Do you like women's blouses, Fifi?|
|Oui, Madame ! J'aime beaucoup les chemisiers pour femmes !||Yes, Ma'am! I like women's blouses a lot!|
|Veux-tu en porter au travail ? Avec un soutien-gorge noir en dessous ?||Do you want to wear them to work? With a black bra beneath?|
|Je ne pourrais pas, Madame ! Tout le monde me regarderait !||I couldn't, Ma'am! Everyone would look at me!|
|C'est vrai ! Tu serais une vraie petite secrétaire, non ?||That's right! You'd be a proper little secretary, no?|
Note that, with an exception we'll discuss in more detail shortly, you shouldn't do this with je, making inversion only appropriate for asking questions about others. Moreover, when the il or elle form of the verb ends with a vowel, an extra t must be inserted to make the combination less of a mouthful:
|Porte-t-il un chemisier pour femme ?||Is he wearing a woman's blouse?|
|Oui, et un soutien-gorge en dentelle en dessous !||Yes, and a lacy bra underneath!|
|Quelle femmelette ! Doit-il porter ça tous les jours ?||What a sissy! Does he have to wear that every day?|
In English, it's possible to invert nouns as well as pronouns, no matter how many adjectives might accompany them. “Is my submissive male maid wearing a corset today?”, your mistress might ask, needing only to move a single word in order to answer her own question. “Yes, my submissive male maid is wearing a corset today!”. In French, however, you can't invert nouns in the same way you can pronouns, but it is possible to achieve a similar effect by using both. Suppose one of mistress's friends is curious about what the maid has to wear to the office:
|Fifi aime-t-il porter des chemisiers pour femmes au travail ?||Does Fifi like to wear women's blouses to work? (literally “Fifi does he like to wear women's blouses to work?”)|
|Il les déteste quand il fait chaud, mais il n'a pas le choix||He hates them when it is hot, but he has no choice|
|Son soutien-gorge est-il visible à travers sa chemisier ?||Does his bra show through his blouse? (literally “His bra is it visible through his blouse?”)|
|Oui, surtout s'il est rembourré !||Yes, especially if it is padded!|
Where the tense of a verb uses more than one word, for example, with le passé composé or le futur simple, only the first part is included in the inversion:
|As-tu porté un chemisier au travail toute la semaine dernière, Fifi ?||Did you wear a blouse to work all last week, Fifi?|
|Oui, Madame. Chaque jour, sans faute. J'aurais été puni sinon||Yes, Ma'am. Every day, without fail. I would have been punished otherwise|
|Et vas-tu en porter la semaine prochaine aussi ?||And are you going to wear them next week as well?|
|Je suis bien obligé, car je suis un secrétaire féminisé||I have to (être bien obligé), since I am a feminized secretary|
With negative questions, the two halves of the negative adverb sandwich the same parts as they would for a negative statement:
|Tu ne portes pas de jupe aujourd'hui ?||You're not wearing a skirt today?|
|Non, Madame, je ne porte pas de jupe aujourd'hui||No, Ma'am, I'm not wearing a skirt today|
|N'as-tu pas porté une jupe hier ?||Didn't you wear a skirt yesterday?|
|Si, Madame, mais c'était très gênant !||Yes, Ma'am, but it was very embarrassing! (gênant(e))|
|Ne veux-tu pas que j'ouvre ta ceinture de chasteté ce soir ? Les secrétaires féminisés doivent porter des jupes ainsi que des chemisiers !||Don't you want me to unlock your chastity belt tonight? Feminized secretaries must wear skirts as well as blouses!|
When a verb is reflexive, its reflexive pronoun remains in the same place:
|Votre secrétaire, s'habille-t-il comme une femme ?||Does your secretary dress like a woman?|
What can you do for your mistress? Often, it's not just your capabilities that must be considered, but also her convenience. Rather than using the indicative mood of pouvoir (“can I?”), therefore, the conditional mood (“could I?”) is generally more appropriate. Consider the difference between the following:
|Je peux débarrasser la table maintenant, Madame ?||I can clear the table now, Ma'am?|
|Est-ce que je pourrais débarrasser la table maintenant, Madame ?||Could I clear the table now, Ma'am?|
The former is uncomfortably casual, more befitting a pushy waiter asking to be put in his place than a submissive servant seeking to please his superior. It is also incredibly lazy, requiring no effort beyond forming the expected answer - hardly the sort of thing that will impress your mistress! Conversely, the latter is more formal, and consequently more respectful. If you wish to be even more so, however, you would use inversion, again with the conditional mood:
|Pourriez-vous me tendre votre verre, Madame ?||Could you hand (tendre, -re) me your glass, Ma'am?|
Previously, we noted that je should't be inverted, but there are two forms of pouvoir that are exceptions to this rule. The first is pourrais-je, which can again be literally translated as “could I?”, but conveys a similar formality to “may I?” in English - very different in tone to an uneducated “can I?”:
|Pourrais-je débarrasser la table maintenant, Madame ?||May I clear the table now, Ma'am?|
For still greater formality, you can use an alternative conjugation of the indicative, je puis, an old-fashioned form that would be considered strange in everyday conversation, but is most appropriate for an exaggeratedly servile maid. Unlike je peux, it can also be inverted, such that you might ask:
|Puis-je débarrasser la table maintenant, Madame ?||May I clear the table now, Ma'am?|
You might also use je puis as part of polite suggestions starting with si:
|Si je puis me rendre utile autrement, n'hésitez pas à demander, Madame||If I can be of any other service (se rendre utile, literally “to render oneself useful”), don't hesitate (hésiter, -er) to ask, Ma'am|
|Si je puis me permettre, Madame, je souhaiterais vous montrer ma dévotion||If I may say so (literally “If I can allow myself”), Ma'am, I would love to (literally “I would wish to”) show you my devotion|
Alternatively, you might consider using the conditional form of il est possible (“it is possible”) to ask for your mistress's permission:
|Serait-il possible de passer l'aspirateur dans le salon pendant que vous prenez votre bain, Madame ?||Would it be possible to vacuum the lounge while you take your bath, Ma'am?|
|Oui, Fifi, ce serait parfait||Yes, Fifi, that would be perfect|
|Et serait-il possible que je nettoie la baignoire ensuite, Madame ?||And would it be possible for me to clean the tub afterwards, Ma'am?|
|Oui, mais n'oublie pas que tu dois aussi débarrasser la table !||Yes, but don't forget you also have to clear the table!|
Translate the following:
Tu n'as pas encore frotté le plancher ? Tu sais que la salle de bain a besoin d'être nettoyée aussi, n'est-ce pas ?
Vas-tu porter une gaine blanche ou noire pour tenir tes bas en place ?
Est-ce que tu es paresseux et as besoin d'être puni ?
Ta femme aime-t-elle te taquiner pendant que tu travailles ?
Tu n'as pas la clé ? Tu ne peux pas l'enlever ? Ça doit être très douloureux !
Say the following in French (use inversion where possible, and be formal):
Have you finished with your plates, Ma'am? Could I clear the table?
May I pad my bra with the biggest false breasts today? I would like to be busty for your friends!
Should I dust or vacuum first, Ma'am?
Would it be possible to loosen my corset a little, please, Ma'am? I cannot bend over!
If I may say so, Ma'am, you are very beautiful! Could I kneel in front of you?