toilettes dans un resto thailandais
Even after the endless post-DSK discussions, the subject of French men cannot be exhausted. My interest was piqued again this afternoon when my adorable friend Jenise posted the following video (which talks about European men in general, but I’m talking about Parisian men here since a. Paris is the tourism capital and b. I live here) on her tumblr:
The height of irony. The woman’s head is 100% Marshmallow Fluff.
I’m surprised she has spent more than 10 days abroad, as that is probably the amount of time (maximum) that it takes for the novelty of being such an object of ‘desire’ to wear off. But it does, and then you just feel like a walking pair of boobies. A generic, nondescript, ageless pair of boobies (size doesn’t even matter!). As Jenise said, all you need to have is a pulse.
I remember the first Frenchman I met after I first came to Paris (well, the first one I really talked to). His name was Geoffroy, a 25-year-old professional waiter who “had made 3 diplômes!” He tried to kiss me right there in the street, and when I leaned back he looked at me questioningly and I said, “what are you doing?!” He said, “I thought you wanted it!” I responded, “no, I don’t want to kiss you in the street,” and he smiled and said, “you prefer to kiss in bed?”
So, okay, if you want to meet guys…easy peasy, lemon squeasy. But there’s a limit, yo. If you want to avoid them, difficult difficult, lemon difficult. I quickly became very bitter (you like that lemon reference?) about the men here, as did many of my friends. Here is one Scottish woman’s comment on the men of France and Belgium, which I think very concisely sums up the problem (commentary on: The Seducer’s Partisans):
The culture in France and the Francophone world seems to support the view that male ‘seduction’ is a compliment for a woman and she should accept it graciously. Even if she rebuffs a man’s advances, she should do so gently to avoid upsetting the delicate male ego.
Where I come from, as is common in Northern Europe and most English-speaking cultures, male advances are an insult to a woman unless they are actively solicited in some way and consent is obvious. Catcalls, wolf whistles, comments on your appearance by strange men on the street, greetings from men you don’t know, being given the ‘once-over’ are all viewed negatively in our cultures. They are viewed as being threatening to women rather than complimentary.
French women, on the other hand, seem to view this kind of public harassment from men as part and parcel of daily life.
I think the most unnerving advance I’ve encountered happened when I’d been in Paris for only two weeks and was incredibly insecure about my French and about being new, which made it even more unnerving, of course. There was a strike and the metro was packed. Right before the doors closed a very large man pushed his way in RIGHT behind me, and the result was that every single person in the car was dislodged, since we were packed in like sardines. I could feel the full weight of his body leaning on me (his front was facing my backside) for the first leg of the trip, until we got to the first stop. As the train slowed, he grabbed my butt with his hand and whispered “merci” in my ear. I was shaking with fury but had no idea what to say or do. I was afraid the others in the car would roll their eyes at me and tell me, ‘ohh you stupid foreigner, don’t you know that bodies touch on the train? You Americans are so uptight!’ I was absolutely disgusted, and if it happened again today, I would whip right around and he would feel my wrath radiating from my right knee as it met his family jewels. Just disgusting. I will point out that this man was clearly an immigrant, but immigrants add to the culture here. And the culture is that men get away with a lot more than they would at home.
French men are not all bad…they’re beautiful, they’re trim, and they know how to dress (although actually, DSK is an exception to the first two criteria). They’re smart and willing to tell you about all things French (which could also translate to arrogance, but I’m trying to be positive here). Unlike the women, they do eat a bit, and they have impeccable taste. A lot of them cook. It’s just a bit of a shame that many of them probably do it for more than one woman at a time.