Wednesday, May 09, 2007

French Women Part IV

Gem's Guide to French Women Continued...

4. Flirting! Here is the big stereotype: French women are all out to steal your man. Naah, they're all out to flirt with him! Flirting is just communication. In fact, Jube and I disagree about the meaning of "flirting." Sometimes I will tell him someone was flirting with me, and he won't understand why. It's all relative.

Advice: Remember that, as fraise says, "
the vast majority of couples are faithful, and reactions to adultery are comparable" to the US. And as I would say to any of my American friends, if your boyfriend is really going to leave you for someone who is trying to "steal" him, then he's not worth it.

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

This is my darkest moment. When I first came to France, I spoke nearly zero French. Maybe not absolute zero, because I knew merci and bonjour and au revoir and bon appetit, but that's it. It would kill me when a girl would talk to Jube without including me in the conversation! Once an English major came up and asked his advice about what courses to take in the US. This irked me because she could obviously speak enough English to take courses in America, but neither she nor Jube could put themselves out to speak English with me. Did I try to keep things in perspective and remember how embarrassed I used to be to speak Spanish to a native speaker? Naahh. Who needs perspective? This story isn't really flirting, but I was annoyed.

And That Concludes the Gripping Story of French Women.


m said...

i haven't checked your blog for about two weeks because of finals and imagine my (happy) surprise to find one post a day!!! yay!!!

Gem said...

Well thank you! It is so nice to have fans ;)

jchevais said...

My husband has started telling me lately that he's been flirting with a Colombian client at work. He talks about how close he is "to concluding" and then we laugh about it.

A French men who is jealous is not a pretty sight. I once (5 years ago) got a suggestive joke valentine from another expat friend (male) and hubs hit the freaking roof. My life was miserable for two months. I couldn't even have drinks with friends because he was convinced that I was sleeping around.

It. was. ugly.

Jube said...

jchevais, a jealous person is not a pretty sight, no matter what their nationality is.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I don't know about this one either...first of all, I won't be living in France until June, so my only real point of reference are French friends that I have here and overseas and TV5.

If you watch TV5, you'd believe French men readily have affairs and French women, with full knowledge of their pre-existing marital ties, are eager, willing participants.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but I find it funny that the French would promote such a stereotype of themselves (since it's not a particularly financially lucrative stereotype, but this is going into a bigger issue I don't want to touch on...).

If you read my comments (on my blog), then you know that the girl that I was trying not to go into detail about did the EXACT SAME THING with my boyfriend when he was in a committed, very long-term relationship with another woman. She tried to "steal" him from his ex-girlfriend. What a freaking...skank. This is why I detest her. Again, I have no idea if this is par for the course in France.

My guy says what Americans refer to as "flirting" is called the "game of seduction" in France. And what we consider flirting for the French is simply their being normal or "tactile" (this is not always true, especially in his case with this skank).

The funny thing is, when IIIII do the same thing he does (allow a guy to flirt with me, as he allows women to flirt with him), he gets all crazy and does not appreciate it at all! It's like he has some special right as a Frenchman to "look upon" women (and I use this term loosely), that he doesn't see a woman as having equal right to. I already know French women have a distinct role in French society...

I think French women are accustomed to being "looked upon" and playing the coy and coquette (please). Me, I'm not. I can do some of the looking upon too (and my guy does not like this, even though he won't admit it...) Also, when a guy flirts with me, he seriously does not appreciate it. Yet, he thinks it's okay for a French woman to do that with him. Now, I tolerate, and even talk with him about, the funny flirtations of random Americans/Germans that I'm friends with. He seriously hits the roof, but I don't care...he has to know that what's good for the goose is good for the damn gander.

I'll end this here, because this topic is extremely sensitive for us! :0( After the comments on my blog, I argued with my guy for a good two weeks, it was horrible. Anyway, VA is my absolute FAVORITE state to visit! :0)

Gem said...

Of course I have to respond to such a lengthy comment! As far as pop culture is concerned, it can't be considered a completely accurate reflection of society. Two examples: in France, some of my students couldn't believe that I didn't know anyone who owned a gun. They cited TV shows, Bowling for Columbine, ad nauseum. If you believed our (American) television series and films, you would think that everyone was violent and had to have a gun to protect him/herself. 2: When I was in Spain, my host mother asked me if all funerals in the US were outside as she saw in all of the movies. No, not all of them. In fact, of the 3 funerals I had attended, all were inside. French television might be more focused on extramarital affairs, but I don't think that means they are typical.

Of course I can't speak for your situation with your bf, but perhaps the confusion comes from definitions of flirting (as I mentioned in my post). Sometimes I would come home and report that someone had flirted with me--but when I described the situation, my French family would laugh and say "c'etait pas de la drague, ca!"

But as I said in my first post on French women, these are all from my own observations. Obviously it will be different for everyone, and I think the danger comes from generalizing from one or two instances (which I have, of course, exploited here).

This is my first time living in Virginia, and I like it so far. I think the summer will be fun :)