Posted by Mel on March 07, 2003
I noticed this has been brought up once in the archives, but I wanted to comment again on the meaning of this phrase as it is/was most commonly used. It doesn't mean 'looking for a woman' as a partner - it means 'look for the woman' to explain a man's foolish or inexplicable behaviour. It's been used in the Cajun/Creole population since at least the early 1900's.
The quote that shows the phrase's usage in the story is: "Ah! yes, I know most time when those men lose money you say, 'Cherchez la femme'--there is somewhere the woman."
So I'd say it's more a past tense type of phrase (along the same lines as 'C'est la vie') than it is a future tense one.
See Cherchez La Femme - meaning and origin.