Paris. The city of love. And then you try to date a Frenchman.
Frenchmen are a breed of men that’s very hard to work out, unless you’re a French woman of course. If you’re an anglo like me hailing from the UK, the U.S., Canada or anywhere else, things are more than a little confusing.
To Parisian women, these things are cultural, quite simply innate, just, well, French. But as an outsider coming to Paris with your previous dating knowledge/baggage, the rules of dating appear to be on their head. If rules there are that is.
After almost a year of living in Paris, I am still trying to navigate my way around Frenchmen. Let’s start with the basics before we even get to the dating bit:
Apparently, looking a Frenchman in the eye in the metro suggests you’re romantically interested. Where I come from that mostly means I’m bored and I’m just looking around the metro car, maybe falling on a cute guy or two, just for kicks. And saying “Bonsoir” back to a Frenchman as you’re coming out of the metro after work suggests you’re open to flirting. Where I come from that mostly means I’m just being friendly and polite to someone who’s being randomly nice.
Last time I said “Bonsoir” to a Frenchman, he asked me out for a drink, then asked me to move in with him on the spot. I haven’t said “Bonsoir” to a Frenchman since.