the literal translation of Arracheurs de Palissades is “fence uprooters”. This euphemistic expression appeared in the early 18th century in the court of Louis XV. Among other sources, the article by Mathieu Marais published on August 1722 in The Journal newspaper stands out. It narrated what had happened the previous month in Versailles in the absence of the king. The story went like this: one night in July, the Duke of Boufler, the Marquises of Rambure and d’Alincourt and the Lord of Même went for a walk in a little wood of Versailles. As they say, the smell of flowers intoxicated them and the walk ended up in a cruising scene that someone must have seen. The following day, the whole court was aware, and it caused such a scandal that it ended up with one of the marquises in La Bastille and the rest exiled. There is another version that says that they simply surprised these gentlemen and a few others in the middle of a “country job”, and another that talks about some attempted rape. Whatever the case may be, when the king returned to the palace and asked about the absence of these young gentlemen, no one wanted to face the embarrassment of having to explain the young king, who at that time was only 12 years old, what had happened. This way, they told him that they had been punished for tearing down fences in the garden. And so, from then on, young people with suspicious tastes were called, Arracheurs De Palissades, that is, fence uprooters.
This is what all the references that we have found account for, but the explanation seems pretty watered-down, and we can not rule out that this expression could have its origin in the gay coitus itself, picturing the image of the bottom guy grabbing the fence to withstand the onslaught, a fence that could eventually weaken, move or even fall.
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