What would we do without stereotypes? I sometimes wonder. Whenever I catch up with friends over a coffee, I often get comments about how disappointed they are with a French lover one of them has (or had, actually). This usually begs the following question:
What happened to the myth of the French lover?
They look at me intensely, hoping for some meaningful answers. I usually nod quietly. To be honest, there isn't much I can say. Because to me, it is a classic case of expectations that are too high.
Get real, girls. No man, French or not, is going to sweep you off your feet on a white steed. Just get your own life. But you know what, in the name of the sisterhood, I am going to try to debunk the myths for you today…Here we go:
Myth 1: He is such a great kisser/lover (you get the gist of it)
Right. Where do I start? I am fully aware that the French kiss is, well, French, and that we French are supposed to be experts in the love department. That said, the old romantic in me is still convinced that a kiss is not just about technique. As I know that some of you like numbers, let's say, for the sake of argument that a kiss is 20 percent about technique, and the rest about, you know, feelings. In short, it is mainly about compatibility and butterflies in your tummy. It can't be explained, it has to be experienced. And it has nothing to do with nationalities (this much I know).
Myth 2: French men all cheat on their partners
I have heard this one so many times that it feels like listening to a broken old record. Yes, I know that French politicians have a tendency to have mistresses and fool around, and the statistics apparently show that more than 55 percent of French men (I read it somewhere) have cheated on their partner. But I am of two minds about this. Because there is something I will never understand. Here it is: if more than half of French men cheat on their partner, surely it means that a sizeable proportion of the female population is cheating on their partner too? In short, it is a two-way street, right? It takes two to tango…So why do we keep blaming men in general and French men in particular? I don't get it.
Myth 3: French men are effeminate
Well, some French men can be quite sophisticated, and more in tune with their feminine side. That said, I would argue that it is a Parisian thing rather than a French one. Some French men are indeed proud to be vocal about their love for art and are not afraid to wear pink shirts. And what's wrong with this? Nothing, right? Well, apparently not. Maybe in some cultures showing your feminine side is seen as a weakness? I wonder.
Myth 4: He believes that he is irresistible
There is something about French men and confidence. Look at French actors like Vincent Lindon or Jean Reno. Let's be honest here: they are less buff than George Clooney or Matt Damon. But still, they go out with the most beautiful women of this world. It is all about confidence. They ooze it. Well, if it works for them, then why not? I know, life is unfair.
Vincent Lindon at the Berlin film festival. Photo: verni22im/Flickr
Myth 5: He complains all the time when he gets sick
Well, it is not for nothing that a cold is also called man flu, right? I am not sure that it has got anything to do with being French. I often wonder how men would manage if they had to deliver babies. I will never know, and it's probably better because it would be really ugly.
So much for the myth of the French lover…I sincerely hope that you are not too disappointed. On a lighter note, this morning my teenage daughter asked me what her husband's nationality should be. Seriously, she added, what would be best for her? I almost choked on my croissant and answered that it didn't matter, as long as she was happy.
London-based blogger Muriel Jacques. Photo: Alejandra Moral