Are French lovers really the best when it comes to romance? If so, how and why?
Me: Do you love me?
The Hubby: Chicken or vegetables?
(The usual Wednesday night text exchange with my beautiful husband of 12 years and the father of my three children.)
Yes, this is how French lovers kick romance’s arse!
When I think about French vs. American romance, I always think about a girlfriend who worked in diamonds in New York. She explained “upgrade jewelry” to me: A man proposes with a diamond ring and for the ten-year wedding anniversary, he pays a few grand to upgrade it to a bigger diamond. Apparently, it’s a very common thing in the United States. For me and my French girlfriends, this is so unromantic.
We French are not into dramatic or classic gestures. I would never want, expect or accept a “date night” with my husband. If he had proposed with rose petals on the bed, a video camera to record the moment, and had gotten down on one knee with, “Will you, Alexandra, do me the honor…” I would have barfed. Said no. And barfed again.
We celebrate our anniversary when we want; would never, ever consider renewing our vows; think Valentine’s day is ridiculous. I would have died laughing if Philippe had asked my dad for my hand in marriage.
Does it sound too down-to-earth? Maybe. But let’s get real: Pierre, Arnaud, Benoit, Jean-Claude and Gaston definitely have the moves, say their wives and girlfriends!*
When it comes to l’amour, French men do something that (as my dad always said) gets a woman halfway to bed: They make us laugh. In any circumstance. It can be silly or raunchy, out loud or in a whisper, but whatever we go through in our lives — being sick, missing planes, losing loved ones, fighting over politics or money issues — we always manage to laugh. That’s not only a lifesaver but a love elixir.
Then there’s the other side of dating a Frenchman: Monogamy.
Only in American movies have I heard the phrase, “Would you go steady with me?” In France, you don’t go on dates, kiss or sleep with someone, all while knowing he/she is doing the same thing with someone else the next day. It just doesn’t work like this. You can fool around. You can have sex buddies. But you don’t pretend to have a relationship with one person while dating others and then decide you want to “go steady.” You’re either in or out.
Can the French Lover be a myth? I believe that most myths come from facts. Isn’t there a bit of truth to all clichés?
The French lover is indeed a romantic. With the French Lover, conversation flows like champagne, he can dazzle you with his mind for hours; he knows about art, political scandals, the fall of the euro, architecture, design. The French Lover seduces you with his brain, then makes you fall into his arms.
The French Lover wants to celebrate life, food, wine, a new museum exhibit with you… Nah, forget that. Like all men, he’ll get you drunk (on Bordeaux — so much classier than tequila) to make your head and body spin!
Nevertheless, no one can contest that the French Lover is totally charming. Is it the accent? Is it the total absence of knowledge that France is not the center of the universe?
Whatever it is, dating a French man is a must on the fantasy bucket list, along with sleeping with a Club Med GO (gentil organisateur) or having an affair with an older guy when you’re 20 and a younger one when you’re 40. If only because the French Lover has a masters degree in compliments. He doesn’t compliment parts of you but the you that you don’t even know he can see. He will compliment your intellect if you’re used to compliments about your ass and vice versa.
If life is a joke, sex is a game. It is taken seriously in matters of achievement — i.e., orgasm is an obligation — but there has to be fun and good feelings. Games and laughs are part of the equation. Minds (and bodies) are open in matters of foreplay, locations, positions and number of persons involved.
It’s about quality not quantity, mutual pleasure being mandatory. As one of my friends said, “Maximum once every 2 months but when we do it, we do it properly, it’s worth waiting for and gives us something to look forward to.”
Be careful, ladies, the downside of all these exciting clichés is that the French Lover is aware. He knows he is a myth, a souvenir you must bring home like a “J’aime Paris” t-shirt or an Eiffel Tower keychain, and he’ll take advantage. But so should you!
* Thanks to all my girls who shared their international expertise and confirmed that the French Lover is fun and funnier than other nationalities.
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