Posted by: janecronin | August 28, 2011

A curious expression – estar de Rodriguez

With summer nearly over, I was reminded  the other day of a phrase which definitely belongs to the silly season – “estar de Rodriguez” (to be like Rodriguez).  It refers to the husband who is left in the city working whilst his wife and children go off to the coast on holiday.   Rodriguez, who is really Spanish macho figure of the Franco era, does all sorts of things that his wife would disapprove of, but is also completely useless around the house.

For some reason I always believed that this character came from a film, but on looking it up just now, I’ve found that no one actually knows the origin of this curious expression!


  1. The English equivalent is, I believe, “when the cat’s away, the mouse (mice) will play”.

    You will hopefully find the following link very interesting regarding the Rodriquez phrase.

    Be good !!!!!

  2. Now, that is interesting. I have to admit I do not know the expression at all, I can’t even claim to have heard it and Joan Coromines is no help!

    On the case!

  3. Hi Ken, The only difference bewteen your phrase and mine is that “when the cat’s away the mice will play” can refer to lots of different situations, but “estar de Rodriguez” is a very specific one. I don’t think there is a direct English expression. It’s a rather classic Spanish situation!

  4. Hello Jane. What about “estar de Ken Ball ?”. Ken, who is a really English macho figure, (also of the Franco era), does all sorts of things that his wife would disapprove of, but is also completely useless around the house too. Methinks this could be applied to anyone (man) anywhere in the world. A man’s a man for all that. Still love you though.

  5. You aren’t wrong! Here’s the film reference:

    • Brilliant Liz, thanks very much! Jane

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