French Men: Generous Lovers or Plain Cheap?

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.

Read a few anecdotes from my personal experience and maybe you too will be careful not to get lost in the illusion of beautiful romance that the French are so well known for.ballet-couple-paris-Favim.com-271532_original

Jean-Pierre

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

Do French men like beer?

Do French men like beer?

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!

Julien

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.

Silvain

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.

Florent

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. couerSweet, 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.

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Let’s Talk about Stereotypes! – Italian, French, German

Every time I am interested in a guy from a different country, I make sure to read some of the ‘truths’ of dating this specific culture. I type in something like ‘dating a Spanish guy’ and get a variety of articles about how the Spanish are romantic, passionate and should call you often. I must admit, it’s very entertaining, and there is definitely some sense to them.  I live for stereotypes, as I’ve been told countless times… but how true are they? Or is it just easier to make an assumption?

After all, how many ‘do you drink vodka and do gymnastics’ do I get just because I’m a Russian. The best is ‘But you are not BLONDE!?’

So let me break down what I believe are facts and myths of popular stereotypes.

The Italians

Stereotype 1: Italians are whores.

Fact: Obviously there are great guys that are looking for a serious relationship, but to be frank with you, many of them are just not that good looking or confident.  The majority of the good looking guys will never be faithful to you. Even when they’re fifty. Even when they can’t get it up any more. The important part of their southern culture is passion, which is a great thing. The bad part about it is this passion will need to be fueled up every so often, preferably by different women. If you notice a man holding his girlfriend’s hand and eyeing you, he is doing that mostly to feed his own ego and to feel he still ‘has it’ in him. And we wonder why Italian girls are so high maintenance! What would you do if your boyfriend couldn’t be faithful to you for one minute? In the words of Ariana who scored a beautiful ‘Dolce and Gabbana’ lookalike Alessandro “Once a bitch was looking at him. I say ‘Ey,you. Who you looking at, Puta?’ I have to be like that or someone else get him, you know?”

Stereotype 2: Italian men are in love with themselves

Fact: If you’ve ever been to an Italian beach and seen a man spray-tanning himself and orlebarbrownthen staring at his chest with a mix of awe and love, you will get what I’m talking about. What about the crazy bright colors that the men so enjoy? Pink polos? Green capris? A variety of scarves?Tiny white shorts? Styled hair (that literally waves in the breeze) and plucked eyebrows? In North America, all of the above mean only one thing: you are gay, my friend. (But just for the record, I love it)

Stereotype 3: Italian men are beautiful at seduction

Fact: One thing that I find Italians are wonderful at is getting you into bed effortlessly. How do they manage it? Well, for one, they understand that we girls are starved for attention, passion and spontaneity… especially if residing in countries where men are too scared to make a move and even if they do, it is more robotic than sexy .  On the contrary, Italian men ooze sex appeal, they know how to make you feel like you are the center of the universe, how to create romance and how to convince you that if you don’t have sex with them it will be your loss, not theirs. After all, you will miss out on the night you will never forget. Probably a week of tears as well, especially if you were convinced he really liked you.

simonThe French

Stereotype 1: The French are the best dressers

Myth/Fact: This one really depends. I have dated two French guys who had very little sense of style, but Parisians are a whole different matter. I recently went out with a Parisian who was dressed to the t: stylish jacket, collared shirt, impeccably smelling. As in any culture, it depends on the person, but when they have it, they really have it. Not only that, most French guys will appreciate a woman to be well put together. By that, I don’t mean short dresses that show off your crotch. They appreciate a woman who has an elegant style, good hygiene and classy perfume. Bonus to you if the perfume is French as well!

Stereotype 2: French look down their noses at everyone

Myth/Fact: I was sitting at my friend’s house when his Parisian roomate I just met, decided to share his opinion on people from Montreal. It went along the lines of “Zos people sink zey are French, but zey are NOT! Zey speek sheet language! It is not French! It is like saying Americaines are from England. It is simplee not true!” And this went on for a good half an hour. But again, Parisians are special. We all know that.

Stereotype 3: French men are worldly and well-rounded

Paris-wedding-France-romance-wedding-dress-arinab-photography-vintage-inspired-wedding-wedding-in-paris-3Fact: So so so true! One guy I was seeing could start the conversation with politics and end with history. He had an  opinion about everything and always thought hard about any question I asked him, then would come up with a well-detailed and thought out response. But beware ladies.. while it is all very charming and deep at first, it will soon turn into over analyzing and annoying. Such as: Isn’t this skirt a bit too short? Why are you wearing a bikini in your Facebook profile? You seem bored.. You do not like spending your Sunday watching a French theater about restorative justice? (All of the above from a real experience.. within the same day) So while at first this philosophizing is wonderful and is such a great contrast from North American guys, many of whom will quote “the Anchorman” as their source of information… this nagging, obsessing, and overly critical approach to life and to you will soon have you running up the walls or rushing at him with a knife.

 French are great lovers

Double Fact: YES!!!!!!!!!!! Not that I’ve been with the whole of the French population. But two of the best lovers I have ever been with were French so that has to say something. They put so much emphasis on your satisfaction and they will do anything to live up to their reputation. And yes, they are very sexual. Being naked is natural to them. Sex is natural and there is nothing that’s off limits. In the opinion of my past boyfriend – making love or faire l’amour is passion, craziness, wildness, softness, dominating.. while having sex is just ‘useless’. Also, having sex on the first or second date doesn’t label you a ‘slut’ or put a dead end to a relationship like we tend to believe in North America (and in fact, most of the world)

The Germans

Stereotype 1: They are pragmatic

Fact: Instead of providing you with my opinion, I will tell you a true story told to me by my German girlfriend. “On my first date, I was with my then boyfriend cutting up potatoes for the soup. Don’t even ask me why I was cutting up potatoes on the first date. Anyways, I was cutting them perpendicularly, when he stopped me and suggested I cut them the other way. After all that would save time and make them boil quicker, as a result, saving energy. So there you go, Mia, those are Germans for you in a nut-shell. First date: potatoes and saving energy.”

Stereotype 2: They are horrible in bed

Myth: Ok, not a lot of experience. But they are apparently rated number 1 worst in bed because they are ‘too smelly’. From what I’ve seen (or rather smelled), no, they are not. Not bad either. Probably a bit robotic and aggressive. Also they make some strange/interesting sounds…

Stereotype 3: They lack a sense of humor

Myth: No, they’re very funny. Just in a very dry, sarcastic and dark kind of way.  So when they make a joke, sometimes it’s not clear if it actually IS one. It’s like “ha..ha… Is he joking or should I be scared?” But, really, I love their sense of humor because it is so unexpected and because it is that dry. But that’s just me.

In conclusion, I definitely believe in stereotypes. I enjoy them. I laugh about them. I write about them, but I do think that while stereotypes are there for a reason they cannot ever be applied to the whole country. Also, this is a new generation of people which has been raised with internet, Facebook and Hollywood movies, so the whole world has become a bit Americanized.

coloStill, many men are aware of their cultural stereotypes and try to use it them to their full potential. After all, how many girls go to Paris just to be swept off their feet? And we are still asking why European men love tourists. Because they CAN easily sweep them off their feet using the cliched phrases (amour, bella.. lieben?), postcard locations (Eiffel tower, Colosseum.. the Berlin Wall?) and their ‘sexy’ accent (German? ya?) to finalize the deal.

PS. All these observations are generalizations. I am aware that there are faithful Italians, stupid French people and passionate Germans.. so do not take this too literally.

The Sexy Bartender (2009) – The South African

I was twenty-four and traveling across Europe with a Contiki tour group. In a month we were supposed to cover around eight countries: from England, to Spain, to Switzerland, to the Netherlands.

I instantly bonded with the girls on the trip and made two friends: Demi and Diana who were both from Australia. Demi was a friendly blonde girl who clearly went to Europe to let all her inner devils out as she was constantly drunk to the point of stupidity or unconsciousness.  Diana was a slightly insecure brunette, who always seemed to crave approval. Too white and too curvy, she always compared herself with me, who was ‘too dam’ tanned and skinnay!’

Oh God...

Oh God…

At certain times, I got along with her perfectly; other times she made me feel like I was on the episode of the Hills with all the ridiculous drama and gossiping. Her insecurity became especially evident when it came to ‘who liked whom’ and she later came up with a rule that whenever one of us ‘claimed a guy’, mostly her, no one else could steal him away. The hilarity of it was that Demi went along with it happily, until one night she ended up having sex with a boy Diana already ‘claimed’. After this night, I stopped participating in their girly nonsense and became friends with a couple of hilarious guys from the group.

our Chateau

Besides the initial connection with the girls, I felt zero attraction to all the guys on the tour. I was quite disappointed when at the first group meeting in London I have realized that there was absolutely no potential in the group. The guys were okay, but they were not someone I would ever go for. Most were loud and obnoxious Australians who drank constantly. None were my type.

Our second stop was Bordeaux – a beautiful wine region in France. The bus swerved along the green hills until we stopped in front of a gigantic imperial Chateaux. This is where we were supposed to sleep for the two next days. That is until sleeping turned into partying and water in the sinks turned into puke.

We unpacked and quickly changed into our bikinis. I wore my bright orange one, hoping to show off to the boys from the other group. They definitely had more selection than we did. In comparison to all the Aussie girls I was the darkest with my deep tan and dark hair, so tanned in fact that I literally always get mistaken for Latin.

While in the water, I suddenly spotted a group of guys in red shirts standing by the railing some distance away. One, a very cute blond one was looking my way. A few minutes later, they disappeared just as if they never stood there.

Gollum-lord-of-the-rings

Precious!

After the pool there was the wine tasting. Constantly our schedules were filled up by one event after another, which was a lot of fun unless you were sick or tired. Later on in the trip I was practically forced to walk around Rome feeling like I was going to pass out. And believe me, when you are on the verge of collapsing, no amount of statues or Italian men can make you feel better. On top of it all, I now have lost my voice and couldn’t speak. When I did speak I sounded like the Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

The bed with no railings!

I came in late for the wine tasting. An average looking plump guy was talking about wine, and then another guy took his place. That was the cute blond from the pool. Broad shouldered and athletic, with short hair and light eyes, he was funny and well spoken. And by the look of the drooling girls in the crowd, I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

Marla, the red-headed girl from my group looked smitten by him and as soon as he finished the speech, walked up and flirted mercilessly.

“This is disguising” I whispered to Demi and Diana. “Could she be more obvious?”

“Actually” I continued, eyeing Marla as she walked away. “There was one question I wanted to ask…”

groupie

Ugh

Breaking my very serious resolution to not approach this guy, simply because I hate feeding someone’s ego and I being yet another groupie, I walked up the table and directed my attention to the plump guy.

“I have no voice” I whispered “is there anything you can give me to cure it?”

The blond cutie laughed. “How about O de V? A shot of that would probably make you feel better. Even if you don’t get your voice back”

“Whatever helps!” I beamed. Demi and Diana were beaming too, a little too much. They were definitely making me feel like I was part of some boy band fan club. At least they had enough decency not to lift up the shirts so he could sign their breasts.

The blond boy poured all of us a shot from a bottle that had a worm swimming in it and we toasted. He introduced himself as Myles and the plump boy as Sam. Myles worked as a bartender at the Chateaux for a few months, but was originally from South Africa. He had the most beautiful accent I have ever heard. We talked a little bit and I could sense that Myles was interested in me. He paid some attention to the girls, but most of his conversation was aimed at me who still tried to be as flirty as I could be while sounding like a scary creature.

“There’s a party tonight” he said “I hope to see you all there.”

“Sure” giggled Diana yet again “We will see you there!” she twisted her shoulders in order to appear sexier. It made me nauseous.

Our walk back to the Chateaux was filled with the most girly talk you can imagine consisting of he’s so hot and who does he like, finishing with whoever he likes, that’s who gets him. I agreed with the plan, because I was pretty certain he liked me.

The basement bar was filled with people from our group and many from the other bus. I spotted Myles at the bar and he smiled to me charmingly. I took a deep breath. He was really gorgeous in that beach boy kind of way.

I positioned myself in his eye view and danced, turning back every so often to check if he was still looking at me. I noticed Marla on the other side of the room also throwing glances his way. I was not exactly jealous of her, but I felt that if I did not do anything soon, she would. So I inhaled deeply and walked up to him.

He seemed genuinely interested in talking to me and actually asked me personal questions about my job and my life. The conversation was going very smoothly, until Demi, who was standing to the side of me laughing with Sam and drinking, simply collapsed to the floor. She did not look sick nor did she prepare herself for the fall. She literally collapsed like a sack of potatoes, killing my conversation immediately.

I was scared for her but also angry at her for ruining my night. I rushed to her side immediately, screaming “Demi!” but she wouldn’t even budge. Myles offered to carry her to our room and Sam helped him, while Diana and I walked alongside them. Once in the room, Demi gained consciousness, but at this point I couldn’t exactly leave her alone, so I nursed her back to health. Myles and Sam left back to the bar.

After Demi stopped throwing up and started laughing like her usual self, I decided to head back. I tried to talk to Myles, but he was distracted, so I went back to dance. Soon, he came to join us. Slightly drunk, he danced close to me, but for some reason I felt uncomfortable getting really close, even though I was extremely attracted to him. Marla, however, did not hesitate a bit. She was suddenly all over him. Wanting him to realize that I was classier and would not slobber all over his body, I held back. Torn between the two of us, Myles looked like a lost child. The top part of his body leaned my way, but the bottom wanted an easy lay.

The bottom half clearly won as soon he disappeared through the door. Marla followed him. The rest of the evening I sat on the windowsill and cried with Cassie, an older girl from my tour.
“Why are guys like this?” I asked. “Do I have to be a slut to get someone?”

“No, you don’t.” Answered Cassie. “You only have to be a slut to get someone for one night and that’s what Marla will get.”

Obviously Myles wasn’t my soul mate and clearly we were not meant to be together, but it hurt to be rejected like this. My pride held me from chasing after him and I would not go against myself in order to attain someone. In order to have meaningless sex with someone I barely knew? Still the picture of them two in bed was depressing. Here I was, trying to be coy and playful and all she had to do was follow him out the door. How is that for subtle?

I went to sleep in tears. Thankfully I didn’t fall off my bed with no railings! Otherwise I would have been crying in the vineyards.

The next morning I have decided to try another strategy. After all, we still had one more day. At this point it was my self esteem that needed a lift. However, I didn’t see him until the early evening. During the morning we had to go for a picnic to the vineyards. Marla was there with her little clique and I still remember how much I loathed her. Every laugh I saw, every smile just made me imagine her in bed with Myles. And I was extremely jealous.

The picnic was torture. It was extremely beautiful: rolling green hills and a variety of fruits along the way, but all I wanted to do was get back to the Chateaux so I could see him again. I knew I shouldn’t even talk to him again after what happened, but I could not let it go.

I saw him later on when we went down for dinner. He was behind the bar, but paid very little attention to me. I was so conscious of him being there that I could not concentrate on anything. I absentmindedly listened to people talk and smiled at appropriate moments. Why wasn’t he paying attention to me?

I was so miserable and felt so insecure that I have even changed my clothes and put some makeup on so he would notice me. However, that changed nothing. So I sat there furiously until I thought enough is enough and went up to my room.

I sat on the bed feeling dejected when Demi walked in the room.

“What’s wrong?” She asked me.

I ended up telling her how disguising I felt about the whole situation. I was still obsessed with a guy who was ignoring me and has already slept with another girl.

Demi sat on the bed. “Mia” she said in a conversation I never forgot to this day. “You are the most beautiful girl on this tour. Not only are you pretty on the outside, but you have an incredible personality that goes along with it. So start believing in yourself.”

The fact that Demi could comfort me without a touch of jealousy or girly cattiness literally wowed me. In that short speech she had lifted my spirits so high I felt like I was on top of the world. It is incredible what a surge of confidence can do to your appearance and how people start looking at you.

I changed into my heels and a sparkling yellow top and walked out the door – my head Wonder-Woman_Animatedhigh. Every step I made was filled with  confidence. I am pretty! I do have a great personality! And I am confident! I thought as I walked down the hall. Who is he or Marla for that matter to make me feel insecure?

Suddenly, I felt as if everyone became so utterly insignificant and here I was – radiating with confidence.

Diana caught up with me in the hall and stared at me with even more insecurity and some confusion as she followed me down the stairs. Immediately, I walked up the bar stand.

“How are you?” I asked Myles playfully. His face literally lit up. I could control him like a puppet, I suddenly realized.

The power that confidence can give us is truly incredible as he no longer treated me as invisible. In fact, I was more than visible as he literally could not take his eyes off of me and my new found confidence.

“If you turn on some Latin music” I offered “ I can teach you how to dance salsa.”

“Deal” he smiled and we shook hands on it.

Minutes later he ran up to me saying he could not find any Latin music, but we could still dance to something else.

“Let’s get some air instead” I offered.

I'M-SEXY-AND-I-KNOW-IT-песочница-114840He followed me up the stairs commenting all the while about my fit legs and how often I must go to the gym. We sat on the hill outside the Chateau right underneath my window and talked. In reality, maybe because he was drunk or tired, or possibly because he really was not my ‘type’ we had not very much to talk about. Our conversation was quite hollow and very dull. In fact, I felt as if I was slowly being slaughtered.

Suddenly we heard voices from the window above us: “Just do it!” Turned out afterwards, it was the girls from my room who, much like me, could no longer handle the agony of this painful conversation.

“Well, I should go” he suddenly said, but did not move.

“Let’s go then” I said, pissed off at him and stupid me for trying to ‘entice him’. I think I even tried my Russian accent on him, which is usually my last plan. And which generally works quite well. I began picking up my shoes.

“I should tell you something” he then said. “I am very attracted to you, but I already hooked up with one of the girls on your bus. And to be honest, I didn’t really like her.. She was just there and I went for it.”

His honesty took me back a little. Ok, so at least he had the decency to let me know.

“I know” I told him. For some reason I exclaimed that Marla wasn’t even attractive and muttered about how sad it was to chase after a guy like that. Even though, technically, that’s exactly what I was doing.

He stared at me for some time, then realizing I was not angry and was still interested, leaned in to kiss me. We kissed for some time, though I felt cheap, as if I was still the second best. Here I was, putting down the girl for sleeping with a guy, yet still taking her hand-me-downs.

After we kissed, he had to go back to work and I went back to answer multiple questions from girls. When I came up to the bar, Marla was there, but he was smiling to me. It felt amazing. However, it clearly infuriated her and she tried to get his attention any way she could: she flirted and danced with another guy in front of his face, but he did not seem to care.

Later, Demi and I as well as a few other guys from our group, sat on the couches outside of the Chateau. Myles came out of the door of the building and awkwardly smoked as he stared my way until I picked up my shoes and walked towards him, through the hooting of “he’s dreamy!” that a few guys started.

e372d92cMarla eyed us as we walked into the doorway and I definitely felt a lot of pleasure from her watchful gaze. He led me into the Chateau where he pressed me against the wall and kissed me passionately. He would tease me by kissing me deeply then pulling back and running his hand over my neck and stomach. The bastard knew what he was doing as every time he pulled away from me, I wanted him even more. I swear it was incredible.

However, I would never be someone’s second best.

“I will not have sex with you” I smiled to him. He seemed a little bit thrown off, but continued kissing me as if I haven’t said anything. He told me he would close the bar and find me.

He may have come out looking for me, or I may have created that illusion to console myself, because when he did come out again, Marla joined him. I was incredulous. “Does he expect me to go there with both of them?” I asked Demi. I looked, but I couldn’t move. They sat side by side talking and suddenly disappeared in the doorway.

I guess his lower half won again.

I was disgusted with both of them: with her because she knew he was with me and yet had no pride to say no to him, and him because he had nothing besides his penis to think for him. I sat on the bathroom floor crying, then finally sobered up. Who was he to cry over? I created an illusion out of a guy, simply because he was ‘my type’. A guy who constantly fooled around with eager girls passing by Bordeaux, hoping to have their little fling in the vineyards. Marla and I were just one of many.

I never told Marla about my side of the story after we became closer friends. Apparently the night with Myles also meant a lot to her as it was the first time she ever had a one night stand and I didn’t want to ruin on her parade. It was kind of ironic how much I hated her when in reality it was him who made the choice.

1de113708cdf75ebeec48b601e6b4925-d2y5bshI realize that this is a pretty insignificant story. However, for one reason or another, I still remember this player boy from time to time,especially the thrill I felt while being kissed against the wall. And isn’t it what we all want – some passion? Even if it is followed by some tears in the bathroom!