Not so long ago we received the following email:
My expat friend in China sent me your link and I love your site. Especially that bit on Parisians. I laughed uncontrollably as I read that piece. Being a foreign girl, I find from swapping stories with other expat females, many of the stories are similar. (Although, I must admit the expat men that go to China seem to be ATORCIOUS reminders of the slimeball hs kid with too much acne and the 24/7 porno high-look.) I’m an American and Korean girl (horrid combo to be in, my “exotic” foreign look and thick American accent seems to scream, “PLEASE OBJECTIFY ME!” or “FOLLOW ME HOME!”) in Paris and I have never been as objectified or glad to have a home in the red white and blue. I’d love to share some of them and I’m sure other expat girls around the world would love to share theirs too.
We immediately responded with a "mais oui!" and two days later, a nice, plummy story about love (or lack thereof) in Paris landed in our email box. Read on...
Not So Much Fancy Lover as much as Fancy Rapist
Okay, the story isn’t as severe as the title. But, it still is the most appropriate for lack of a better word as you will soon see. So herein begins my first and what I hope to be my only naive sleaze accident with a French man. I had just arrived in France a month ago still trying to figure out the details of culture shock. For the most part, I could tell, in France, hobos on the street and random old men had license to follow you around, even at times physically tug at you, offer you money, and at the very least, drop a line, like, “Vous etes belle, ma cherie. Zoo you hab a bouyfliend?”, which despite an affirmative response is returned with “But, you can hab two.” It also did not help that my cheap craigslist find was in a shady district with neighbors warning me of the drug dealers on the street.
Needless to say, I was very happy and optimistic when I met, - ohhhh for anonymity’s sake, let’s call him - Slimeball #1. He was in his 20’s, often hung out with a gorgeous model, and in other respects seemed completely sane. He had happened to notice my fluffy dog at the cafe a couple times and eventually, this led into a conversation, wherein he discovered I was from the States and I discovered he wanted to practice his English. He eventually invited me to sit with his friends at the café. Upon discovering I hadn’t toured Paris yet, he offered to be my tour guide on a free weekend, and he expressed keen interest in obtaining a similar tour guide if he were ever in the States. Wow, at this point all seemed like a natural fair deal between two people of the opposite sex with no other intentions than an exchange of language and culture. But somethings are too good to be true.
The tour seemed to be fairly innocent. In fact, in general, he was a nice gentleman and he certainly did make that weekend more pleasant than it could’ve been spent alone battling French bureaucracy. Afterwards he invited me for tea and when I arrived for tea-time at his apt joined again by some other friends. Harmless enough right?
The next night he invited me over for tea again; however this time when I arrived, I discovered it was just me. Great. I knew that it would be extremely rude of me in the French culture to cut the evening short and leave early, so despite being alone, I said nothing and sipped my tea politely; my first mistake.
I was soon to find out etiquette was only part of his dangerous con. It was probably an hour later, I found the room really hot and I could feel my heart beating. As an anemic, I didn’t think it was caused by anything external but my own dizzy inclinations. I asked for some water and as he walked to the kitchen he chuckled and my haphazard French picked up something like, “I purposely put more in, so you’d have to stay over.”
Him: Haha. I will return with your watah.
Had I imagined it? My French was spotty.
Man, second mistake. Feeling sick I asked him to walk me to my ghetto street but he declined saying he had to wake up early but he said he wouldn’t mind if I waited off at his place. So, instead of stumbling to my ghetto street lined with drug dealers, I decided to wait off the buzz from the “tea”, which found me 30 mins later dozing off on his couch. Unfortunately, 15 mins later I found my hands being caressed, and I mean the unsexy kind, where he’s playing circle circle dot dot from third grade, and his skinny French arms pulling me into an embrace. Gross!
Me: What are you doing!
Him (with the ever so innocent puppy eyes): You don’t like it?
Like it? What the hell? Since when did somnambulism under sleep-inducing tea equal consent?!
Me: What?! I’m leaving.
Him: If you go… I’m not going to be your friend anymore!
Friend? I think we crossed that line when he practically tried to rape me in my sleep. Okay, it wasn’t rape per say, but being cuddled in sleep induced by him isn’t consent.
Me: I don’t care. I’m leaving.
Him: If you go, I’ll take you off my Buddy list!
Oh man… Buddy list? This guy really must’ve been stuck in the primary school years. As if my biggest worry was not being on his list of friends. I bolted out of there and just to rub it in his face, I laughed in his face as I left. Vindictive, but totally justified. If this had been home, I could have called the police.
The amazing thing about not just rapist but French men in general, is that despite the rejections, they keep coming back as if they were the nicest, most innocent gentleman. Primary school slime rapist #1, yeah I feel like calling him that now, still texts me every 2-3 months with something like, “Hello, How are you? You forget me? Missing you. Bisous.” Ewww… shudder. It’s a good thing I screen.
For the record, ever since, I haven’t visited any French men’s homes unless accompanied by a mutual female friend, or for that matter spoken to any unless he was my waiter or my employer. I’ve even earned a couple, “Casse-toi, Bitch!” by angry snubbed men. (What a double standard, huh?) But, even Puritanism gets shady, as slime rapist #1 was followed by slimeball #2, slimeball #3 as well as the additions I can make for my other expat friends. But those are shocking stories reserved for other times. In the meantime, now I understand how a country like France could wait until 1944 to enfranchise their women.