Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to date a Frenchman*

*if he's a dick and you're a doormat.

I first came across this article on thelocal.fr  linked by an acquaintance on Facebook a while ago, left a sarcastic comment and moved on. Then I stumbled across it again yesterday, after following a different link on Twitter. Once again, I made the mistake of reading it all the way through, and it made me mad enough that I was still thinking about its stupidity today.

Basically, the message is that the Frenchman is the "holy grail of international lovers" (actual quote), and you should do anything to please him and mould yourself into whatever Stereotypical Frenchman deems acceptable in a woman. God forbid you be yourself, have an opinion, reflect your own culture and background, or disagree with him.

Some of the top tips:

- Apparently, Frenchmen will text you all the bloody time. This includes sending kisses and plenty of emoticons. Okay, some allowances can be made for a romantic honeymoon period, but seriously guys and gals, is there anything more irritating than constant contentless texts reading "salut" (or "slt", which always makes me think they're starting off by calling me a slut), "├ža va?" or, worst of all, the dreaded "coucou"? The man-catching advice doesn't deal with what to do if you want to shut down the stream of verbal branlage altogether (gosh, that wouldn't be very sweet and feminine of you), but it does offer the gem that you should definitely not try giving him a call, since "he might not take too kindly to it because you’re invading his 'guy space.'" I didn't know 'guy space' extended into the airwaves, but makes sense. After all, most guys I know also have very strict no-fly zones and maintain exclusive fishing areas which are universally recognised by International Man Law (or just "the law"). 

- If he says he loves you after a few weeks, don't freak out, just say it back! Chances are, he doesn't really mean it anyway, and if he does, meh, who are you to have feelings that differ from the almighty French man god? In the same vein, we're later told to "get used to being in a relationship the second he kisses you". Again, you have no agency in this relationship. The kiss of a Frenchman has all the magic relationship potency of some sort of gypsy curse.


- Don't let him take a photo of you because he'll probably make it into his screensaver by the second date. Firstly, this seems an awfully specific situation. Secondly, and not to draw any hysterical parallels, shouldn't the advice be "hey, creeper, don't be weird about photos of girls you barely know" instead of "woman: man with camera steal your soul. Be heap careful"?

- One of my favourites - no makeup. We've all noticed that many French women eschew heavy makeup, so (other than the obvious "I'll wear as much makeup as I bloody well please" reaction) my beef isn't so much the basic advice here. It's the icing on the cake: "French men like their women to have beautiful, flawless skin naturally. If you’re not blessed with dermatological perfection, you can either scream in frustration or rethink your skincare routine." Oh, well as long as we still have *options*. 

On an unrelated topic, I like my men to have [redacted, since my mum reads this]. If you're not blessed with [redacted] perfection, you can either scream in frustration or rethink your genetics. Up to you, lads!

- You're not allowed to get mad if he's late, or be unavailable if he texts you (of course texts, haven't you learnt he's incapable of calling) at short notice to go out. Not only that, but "Of course, this means you have to look fabulous all the time, just in case." Except obviously looking fabulous doesn't include wearing any of your whore paint. Save that sheer foundation for the street corner, amirite?

 - Pretend to be allergic to everything he eats, so he won't feed it to you. WTF? Leaving aside the logistical nightmare of keeping this one up - and my gut instinct tells me being an insanely fussy eater probably contravenes some other secret French relationship commandment - is it really that hard just to say "no, I don't want to eat off your fork"? God knows your resolve hasn't been worn down by refusing to capitulate over things like makeup, chronic lateness or whether you love him. In all fairness, you did already have to fight to the death to avoid him taking creepshots of you though.

 - The article rounds out by telling you that you have to be cool socialising with all his exes and you're not allowed any hang-ups in the bedroom. At this stage, I can't even get worked up about that - standard women's mag advice, really.

 So where can I sign up for one of these prize catches? And where did those of you in happy couples find all the good ones?

19 comments:

  1. I do love your blog so, Jo. Please get published more widely :)

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    1. Aw, you're too kind! PS Ambular and I will miss you this weekend x

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  2. Yikes! I'm so happy that J is not like that at all. Except for the "je t'aime" bit, but to be fair, we had been friends for over a year. And when I didn't say it back, he waited until I finally did to say it to me again, which made me feel less pressured. He was my roommate's student when we were both lectrices. That's how we met.

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    1. Glad you don't have these issues! To be fair, most of the guys with my girl friends are good guys (of course, my friends have good taste)! I have run into lots of jerks in bars and stuff, but I suppose that's everywhere.

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  3. You need to blog more often is what you need to do! And is it a holiday today? x

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    1. May Day, May Day! (I.e., yes.) thanks, haven't been too inspired with the new job and everything, but will try to do it more often. May's a pretty happening month, so should have some material at least!

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  4. Awesome post Gwan! I went to check out the original a little bit and it is awful as you say. Yours wins 10 to 1.

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    1. Thanks a lot! Yeah, did not even HAVE to exaggerate!

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  5. I can't stop laughing at 'the holy grail of international lovers'.
    That whole article made me cringe. MADE ME CRINGE!!! (still cringing)

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  6. I can actually imagine a eurotrash type coming out with that line. It was really a terrible article!

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  7. Who wrote this article??? That crazy Samantha Brick broad? It's awful! I've always shied away from writing these general 'How to Date the French' pieces because they always come out sounding really dumb and fake.

    I got so jaded with the whole "system" that when Aurelien told me he loved me (3 months later) I was like "Ahh, no, don't be all French with me! Too soon! Too soon!!" I may have covered my ears and sang 'Do Wah Diddy' really loud like Veta Sultenfuss in 'My Girl'. That's a detail I forget.

    "beautiful, flawless skin naturally" I'd be screwed if this were at all true!

    AWESOME POST, GWAN!!!

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    1. Noon way your version of this article would be like this! And good for you for sticking to your guns on the "I love you" (and good for Aurelien for not running away from your My Girl impression!)

      Uh yeah, my skin isn't normally terrible, but I routinely come out of a hot shower looking like I've just had a chemical peel, so foundation is my friend!

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

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  9. Great post, Gwan! Base on all of your observations, I'm thankful that I didn't read the original article because I would have had a hard time not leaving a nasty comment. If a woman has to do all of the above to have the "privilege" (and I say that with a great deal of sarcasm) of being with a French man, then there's not a single one who's worth it, in my humble opinion of course.

    I'd venture to say that if a Frenchman is considered the "holy grail of international lovers", the author needs to sample a few other nationalities. ;)

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    1. We should all find Swiss men perhaps!

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    2. Nooooo, I'm not saying that! First of all, there aren't enough Swiss men to go around. It's a small country. And second of all, there are lots of great men out there - not only French ones.

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  10. Lol. She's been in Paris since 2011 and thinks she has French men figured out. I dare her to actually get past a one-night stand and see what she thinks then (let alone marry/pacs -- divorce/unpacs one!!) What a joke of an article. The person who agreed to publish this mess should be shot.

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    1. Ha ha, tell us what you really think! ;) Oh man, didn't even notice she'd only been around since 2011. I bet you'd have a thing or two to teach her on this subject!

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