If you browse the internet, I’m sure you will find many articles describing the beauty of being courted by a French man. First he will dine you at a five star restaurant, where the conversation will flow like sparkling champagne. He will look deeply into your eyes and insist on selecting the best wine on the list. After the bill is paid, by him of course, he will suddenly surprise you with a silk shawl that he bought for you because it matches your beautiful eyes. You will stroll through the misty boulevard and he will cover you with his jacket, in case you are cold. At the end of this perfect night, he will kiss you goodnight and insist on seeing you again. You will walk away feeling like you will never date another American, Australian or Englishman again.. because wow, Frenchmen really know how to romance a woman. And spend money on her.
If that’s how you picture dating a French man, you have watched way too many movies or maybe, just maybe you’ve been so lucky to meet a few quality men.
I, on the other hand, have not.
I really liked Jean-Pierre. He was cute, fun and an incredible kisser. We only saw each other at a New Year’s Party where we made out for some time, and he treated me to a few rum’n’cokes. Now we met in a bar for our first official date and after much thought I ordered a beer. I know it’s quite unladylike like to go for a beer, but it’s not like he asked me to get what I wanted nor did he look at the wine list. After an hour of talking, my beer slowly came to an end. So did his. “Did you want anything else?” asked an upbeat,slightly fake bar girl. I didn’t want to end the date yet, but he didn’t insist on me getting another one. “You could try the sample first” She suggested. I thought about it, waiting for him to urge me on. Instead he said “Maybe we could do some samples instead of ordering?” I laughed it off because I couldn’t admit he might actually be for real and ordered a beer. It was six bloody dollars after all. His face dropped. I swear I have never seen a shadow cross someone’s face like that. After that, the mood was gone. He seemed so distant, I really almost regretted getting another drink. When the bill came, he put down about 75 percent
of the bill, waiting for me to drop another five dollars. It was like a slap in the face.
He never asked me out again, but wrote me a message inviting me to his house for lunch. I am assuming that that would be a sandwich with kool-aid on his cheap bed, followed by some non-committal sex with no protection. After all, that costs money too!
We went out for a drink one spring day. He was a stereotypical French guy with curly brown hair, intense gaze, serious chain smoking and thought-provoking topics. This is where the stereotype stopped. He offered to get a jug of beer, instead of savoring a bottle of wine like a classy man would do, but I agreed. After our thought-provoking discussion and his chain-smoking, the bill came. He put down half. I put down half. That was the end of our romantic get together. Fin.
I met Silvain this year when I was on vacation. You would think I would have my fill of French men by this point as this whole damn year was filled with one after another, but no, I just had to go after another one. I noticed him in a club in Santorini and then somehow we ended up on another Greek Island together. He was an engineer and a professional runner from Paris, cute in a skinny but toned and tall kind of way, all of the above made me die with glee and we proceeded to meet later in the evening. We made out the whole night until the roosters started singing and then walked me to the taxi stand. “I will not let you go by yourself” he insisted as he held my arm and kissed me romantically in the middle of the now puke-and-passed-out teenager-filled street. The next day he invited me to meet again. I dressed up excitedly, thinking it was for dinner, but ended up joining him and his friend in a bar feeling very uncomfortable as they sat engrossed in the Euro finals on TV, realizing I was there every so often to mutter an apology. When I ordered a drink, he merely glanced my way and never offered to pay. And yet, stupidly I stayed, though I should have walked away.
Though I mentioned him a few times, I thought he would be a great last example! When Florent came to visit me he brought me a book Le Petit Prince, so I could learn French. Sweet, no? Unfortunately, the book was used and had a message written to him from his friend.The next day we went out to eat in a cheap restaurant, and when the bill came which was maybe 30 dollars, he only put down half. And this was for a girl who hosted him in her apartment, cooked and put effort in making sure he had a good time. For me, it felt like a bit of a slap in the face. We managed a somewhat long distance relationship, but even though he stubbornly repeated over and over how he wanted to see me, at the mention of “I am really broke.. and don’t have sixty bucks to spare” told me I didn’t want to see him enough instead of offering me some money. When I did manage to scrape enough cash, I got greeted by a vegetable salad instead of a nice dinner out. Or any dinner out for that matter. Our dates seemed to center around the living room/bedroom area and no mention of restaurant was brought up again.
So ladies, before you start dreaming of a romantic gentleman with a French accent who will show you what romance is all about, tell him about how much you would love to get that amazing French perfume. And let’s see what he says.