Il fait le chien couchant auprès du directeur.
eel fail shee-yaa koo-shah oh-pray dew dee-reck-TUHR. Click below to hear this.
He toadies to the director.
It is claimed that the verb toady comes from toad-eater, and refers to some flunky who supposedly ate a poisonous toad to prove his loyalty to his master.
In French, on the other hand, He grovels like a dog to the director. Or more literally, He plays lying-down-dog to the director.
Have you seen the recumbent statues on gravesites in Europe? They usually represent a member of the aristocracy in full regalia, lying stiffly side by side, their toes pointed straight up in the air as if they were standing.
Often, a little dog is curled at their feet–sometimes a lapdog, but often a hunting hound. To me, the dog has always been a touching humanization of the c old stone figures, a moving sign of the loyalty the dog exemplifies and at the same time a symbol of the authority of the deceased. The submissive posture indicates these–along with a certain stupid cunning.
A hound may be taught to lie down beside the wounded or dead bird, rather than tear into it. In today’s business world, the yes-man, the toady, will tattle to the boss rather than bringing down his or his boss’s nemesis on his own. He knows that he will be tossed a choice tidbit as a reward, and knows better than to take matters into his own hands. That’s le chien couchant.
And auprès de means in relation to. It does not imply physical closeness, which is près de.