“Mais, tu n’as pas d’humour” (Where’s your sense of humour?)
This is what my Frenchman says to me sometimes. And I think, what, was that a joke?
I don’t know whether it’s just me, but I don’t always find the French sense of humour very funny. From what I can see it’s an in your face, very evident humour, that’s often based on sex. I guess sometimes it’s passable and I laugh, but other times when everyone’s hooting with laughter like it’s the funniest joke ever, I wonder where the hell I’ve landed.
Personally, I’m more partial to clever banter, quick repartee and deadpan dry humour. But it tends to sail right over the head of many Frenchmen. But not all thankfully. Frenchmen who’ve lived abroad, who speak English, and have spent time in the UK or North America seem to have an appreciation for sarcasm and such. But Frenchmen who don’t speak English, have no interest in speaking English and who consequently have never spent any time in an anglophone country just won’t get it.
So which is my Frenchman? The latter, unfortunately. I have dated Frenchmen before who have had this English side to them, and I kind of miss it in my Frenchman to be honest.
Now here’s a question for you – can you truly be yourself when you’re always speaking another language, containing your natural sense of humour and trying but sometimes failing to find a foreign sense of humour funny?
When I’m passionate or excited about something, I often slip into English. Or if a funny comeback creeps upon me, I’ll just say it in English. And my Frenchman? Well, he stares at me blankly. It’s frustrating to not be funny and not be truly me when I speak French.
Don’t get me wrong though, my Frenchman always sees movies with me in English with French subtitles, bless him. And this weekend when we were out for dinner with his friends, he was very attentive and considerate and translated parts of the conversation for me that he knew I hadn’t understood. Because I may be bilingual and all but I still can’t keep up with everything. I appear to have reached a plateau with my vocabulary. And as for the humour, I don’t think I’ll ever fully grow into that.
So what do you think? Do you think it’s possible to just accept the state of things. Or do you think at some point you think, we just don’t speak the same language, in more ways than one?
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