Monday, May 07, 2007

French Women Part II

Gem's Guide to French Women Continued...

2. Most young (and by young, I mean 23-30) French women I know have boyfriends. This isn't exactly surprising since there is no concept of casual dating in France. What may be a bit more unusual is the length of the relationships. Jube has friends who have been dating since high school and are now entering their 30s, still together, but unmarried.

Advice: Be patient! For Americans in France, this can be problematic, since French women already have a large group of friends and are not ready to take the time to add you to it. Remember: this is not a "French" thing! Without realizing it you probably did the same thing in college by not thinking of inviting the international student out with you. That's okay! Be persistent!

What would any guide be without personal anecdotes of failure? I have not always been able to follow my own advice.

My French female friends were limited to those I got to know through Jube, and I wouldn't have gone out to the movies with them. I had a good time when we got together but it was hard to initiate contact. Now back in the US, I can see that this was my biggest problem, and I've been trying to get to know other people the way I wish I had back then. So this year, I have friends from outside of my program; friends from other countries; and friends I met at work. I still have a ways to go...

Stay Tuned for Tomorrow's Installment...


Kim/Thomas said...

I lost your blog ling for a while! But just found it again:) yay!

I always laugh, because when jube posts a comment, it sounds just like something my frog would say! And when i was reading through some archives, the one about what he says annoys him about you...the answer and the comment about dr. phil could have been verbatum to what Thomas would say:)

I'll keep reading, and I'm so excited to read about you guys being here!

Gem said...

Why thank you Kim! It's always nice to get a fan letter :)

Jube is indeed a character. I'll be sure to tell him you think he is like another Frenchman--I'm sure he will DENY, DENY, DENY!

Jube said...

Yeah, like all frogs are the same! Kiss my ass!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about this. I have a former coworker that was born in France to a French father (I actually wrote a post about her on my blog several months ago...okay, it was really a post about her shoes, but whatev).

Anyway, this girl was tired of living in the US (she'd lived here for a majority of her life and if you'd never seen her passport there would be no doubt in your mind that she's American...

Well, she moved back to France and came up here to visit about a year later (to NYC) and she was in tears because she found it impossible to make friends there. Now, she's moving back to NY where she finds it easier to meet people.

When I was younger, an international student would definitely have been included in our circle of friends and peppered with endless questions about what their country and culture are like.

NYC is often rumored to be the "loneliest" city in the US...particularly to those that move here with big expectations of living like the girls on Sex and the City, but it's very true. We New Yorkers tend to be very distrusting of meeting new people and very have to be careful because there are so many nutjobs here, so you never know. You'll make new friends through work and school, but that's about it (and school is a little sketchy). But it's extremely difficult to make friends in NYC.

I can completely imagine that the cultural approach to meeting new people in France could be similar to our approach here in NYC.

Gem said...

I think your comment proves my point exactly. You said, "an international student would definitely have been included in our circle of friends." I take this to mean that there weren't actually any international students included? Was this because there weren't any international students attending your university? If not, it might be because you didn't actively seek them out, and they may have been shy about doing so.

Even though I consider myself open to diversity, especially where it concerns international students (Jube and I met when he was studying in the US), I don't have any close international student friends. What I was trying to show in my post was that we don't realize that international students (or newcomers to the US) might have difficulty getting to know us--and that French people react in the same way. I wasn't trying to say that you wouldn't be interested in speaking with or hanging out with international students, but that it might not have crossed your mind.

I am really trying to overcome my own tendency to fall back on comfortable relationships, and extend invitations to students who might be too shy to express interest.

I can't speak for NYC vs. another part of the US, but here in Virginia I haven't made any "native" friends--perhaps because they have their own circles already?