What's the meaning of this proverb?

Last night, some friends and I played a game called “Wise or Otherwise” in which players are given the first half of a saying or proverb, make up their own ending, and then try to guess which one is the real saying. Highlights included the Iraqi saying, “He lingers like English colonialism” and from Cameroon, “Why did you go to the clearing in the bush without first befriending the monkeys?” But the one that’s still bugging me is a Spanish proverb that says, “I have a good jacket in France.” Google isn’t helping me, so I appeal to my fellow dopers, what does it mean?

Could it be like “My other car is a Rolls Royce”?

I haven’t heard the proverb, but it reminds me of an old joke:

A woman goes to a butcher for some lamb chops. The butcher tells her they are $8.99 a pound. ‘What? The other butcher has them for $7.49 a pound!’ The butcher says, ‘Well, why don’t you buy your lamb there, then?’ The woman replies, ‘Because he doesn’t have any.’ ‘So?’ says the butcher, ‘When I’m out of lamb I sell it for $5.99 a pound!’

So it seems to me that the proverb means that it doesn’t matter what you have, if what you have is not at hand when it’s needed.

Another possibility is that it’s saying that France, by its geographical position, protects Spain. For anyone (except Portugal) to get to Spain by land, they have to go through all of France first.

That was my thought. Also akin to “I have a girlfriend. She, uh, lives in Canada.”

A fellow I used to work with had a girlfriend in Canada, she was a stripper too. Of course he also had three passports when traveling abroad showing he was from three countries of origin. He said the one he used most often was German so he didn’t have to catch any flack over being an American. I tried speaking a little German with him (I only know a few words) and he never wanted to speak German back to me. I wonder why?

As to the OP, I agree that the saying seems tactical in nature. France would be a reasonable land block for Spain and, as long as their relationship was at least somewhat stable, would provide some geographical protection. The same could be said about Portugal’s relationship with Spain.

I have never heard that saying and online I have only been able to find one instance:

The meaning is, obviously, similar to “my other car is a Rolls Royce”. Even though you see me poorly dressed I own a good cape but it is in France. (Maybe you do, probably you don’t, but, in any case, what good does it do you if it is in France?)

Andorra could do it. But I suppose Andorra isn’t regarded as a huge military threat to Spain.

The saying as found in the original Spanish cannot be interpreted like that at all. “I have a good cape but it is [located] in France”.

As a military power, I think Andorra ranks somewhere between Arbroath and Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

Well, since Andorra scrapped its annual defence budget of $4.50, I think at last the Spaniards can sleep securely in their beds.

Plus given how many times we’ve butted heads with France, it would be like France claiming “Germany protects us”.

So could Morocco.

WAG: My Jacket may appear of poor quality tou you, but when I go to France they think it’s one of the finest.

Jerry Lewis is a comic genius … in France.

Nah, Peter Morris, I agree with sailor’s interpretation.

I kept wondering why the Spanish version rang Andalusian to me and finally remembered why: I had a trainee from Huelva who used it (well, derivatives of it, really) when our boss criticised him. “Dude, sit up straight.” “Hey man, I’m off work; I sit up straight in France.”
“Dude, this socument sucks.” “Hey man, I write like fuckin’ Lope - in France.”

Yeah, those two were drinking buddies as well as boss and subordinate…
For those who are interested, capa can mean jacket or cloak depending on location. In Spain it’s cloak, in Costa Rica it’s jacket. RAE only has the cloak definition, looks like the Latin American correspondents have been slacking.


Q: Why are French streets lined with trees?
A: So German troops can march in the shade.

Seems fairly obvious. What good does a jacket (good or otherwise) do you if it’s located where you can’t use it?

A good and inexistent jacket located where you can’t use it allows you to show off and costs nothing which is sensibly cheaper than any real jacket, even a bad one.