There I was at my going away soirée in my NW D.C. apartment, boxes were scattered about and the walls were bare. Soon, I would be leaving the District for six months to live in the city that was going to make me a star: Paris, France! It was irrelevant that I was going there to study for a semester at one of the most competitive and academically rigorous exchange programs on the European continent. At a school that’s as prestigious as England’s Oxford, I was going to meet the man of my dreams and he was going to put a ring on it. Surely, we were going to live happily ever after in Paris and I’d never look back.
To be fair, I had no idea that the program was going to be so demanding, I mean, it was quite the process to get accepted but I’m sometimes an airhead with putting two and two together. All my friends who’d studied abroad had stories for days about how they got wasted every other night and partied till the early hours of the morning with their newfound companions from all over the world. SCORE, I thought, I’M STOKED! I had been working about 50 hours a week for the past three months and taking classes part-time, and before that I had a full-time class schedule and an internship for about a year—in any case I was more than ready to high tail it out of D.C. and enjoy myself for a few months.
So back to my knight in shining armor scheme I had been working on which pretty much describes why I wanted to go to Paris in the first place! I’ve always thought about how great it would be to marry a European or a South American. It’d be a fusion of two different cultures from places on different sides of globe. We’d never run out of things to talk about, right? We’d keep each other’s interests for hours chatting away about how much we love to cross the ocean 3 or 4 times a year and back to make it work (whatever that means) and keep ties to our families and homelands strong. Our children would be bilingual and have dual citizenship, global citizens that embody what their parents always wanted to be. So what better time to net that French beau than during my six months in Paris! And at such a great school I’d be bound to run into somebody with the total package.
Sadly, that hasn’t quite worked out. School has proven itself to be a rather challenging place to find my man. Pretty much everyone I’ve come to know is haughty and snobbish, guess that’s a Frenchie for you. Even worse, the classes are something out of that children’s movie Matilda (remember with the girl who can do magic and that psycho headmaster that even the teachers were afraid of?). Skip twice? You fail. Don’t talk every five minutes in class? The teacher doesn’t know you and takes away your participation points for the day. Don’t speak French so well? Suck it up sissy, this is France remember? And French people will remind you daily, if not hourly, that you’re not in Kansas anymore! Tu n’es pas plus au Kansas, tu es en France, la lumière du monde! I think it’s quite obvious why after three months here my Facebook status still says single.
Even though nobody has put a ring on it, YET, it’s not like I haven’t met anyone. I’ve been out and about making the rounds on the Paris party scene. And by Paris party scene I mean around to the hole in the wall bars and micro dance clubs before having to catch the metro at 12:30am. I’ve met a few French “mecs” as they say and I did have a couple of dates but at the end I was left feeling lost in translation, not only because we didn’t understand each other’s native tongues (no pun intended) completely but because we seemed to have completely different perspectives on life. Frenchie’s seem to have a different way of thinking than I do. The French love their bread, cheese, embarrassingly tiny cars and polly pocket-sized appliances and Americans love their failing social programs, SUVS, McDonalds, and stainless steel kitchen appliances. Clearly there are some fundamental differences.
Furthermore, the fact that I’m American has been a somewhat hindering factor, in fact one of my French girlfriends even told me it would be best to lead with my Puerto Rican ethnicity because of the many misconceptions associated with being American. One man even told me that he prefers Americans to the French because they love to be treated like objects in bed. Needless to say that date was over and I couldn’t seem to get the check fast enough! Definitely not marriage material, babe. And where did he come off saying something like that? I should have replied with “Well I like French men because they all smell and wear berets”…jerk.
On the other dates, we tried to discuss politics, however, we were most often unsuccessful. Every guy seemed to think that I was a raging capitalist who hated social programs, implying that all Americans are greedy and not into helping the poor. On the contrary bucko, I actually favor France’s social programs over my own country’s.
So in short, I’m not sure if a French man is quite what I’m looking for. Perhaps I haven’t been meeting the right guys here but I now have a newfound appreciation for the know-it-all, motivated and poorly dressed D.C. man.
Who knows what the future holds for me or who I’ll end up with. Maybe I’ll be back in the District for the rest of my life, married to some federal employee who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Someone I don’t need to fly halfway across the world to see or learn a foreign language to completely understand. Or maybe this whole thought process about trying to “net a Frenchie” has just revealed how crazy I am?