Observing the battle of the sexes in Paris
02.09.2013 - 02.09.2013 30 °C
Ah oui Paris! I skipped class today to spend a day of just eating, reading and sitting out in the sun. It felt like just the sort of break I needed. I am living in the 14th district of Paris on Boulevard Jourdan. It feels very different from the Paris I visited in 2011. For a start, there are actually heaps of French people around. The French in all their hues and all their languages. I had had to make liberal use of "Parlez-vous Francaise?" only to get a response back in Arabic, or Sudanese. This feels like the Paris of everyday people. No tourist traps, just a normal life,
I am sitting on the lawns of the Fondation Hellenique. It's a glorious summer evening. There a group of men playing bocce nearby - topless, as is obligatory. Children play - the college has a tennis court and a swimming pool which will reopen in 2 weeks. It all feels quite idyllic - until I get yelled at by the French teacher tomorrow.
I hung out at my local bistro for hours ; having lunch and then a chocolate milkshake. Was also pursued quite aggressively by a Frenchman (the second in two days) for my number. The interaction of the sexes here is something I have yet to get used to. In Australia, dating is a game. Men don't want to appear too keen, neither do women. Everyone is busy, and angry and think that they can do better. Its all very cat and mouse.
Paris seems more honest ( which isn't necessarily a good thing) and somehow, more direct. Its all out in the open. Men show interest straight away with a "Would you like to have a cup of coffee?" or a straight out "I'd like to call you, can I have your number?" Its refreshing but also, confronting. I've had to play the silly foreign tourist card a few times. Also I have an imaginary husband/ boyfriend but it doesn't seem to make a difference. I'm only asked to clarify if I respect my marriage and/or husband (?!!). Being a small , and usually suspicious Indian girl travelling alone - the likelihood of any rendezvous' eventuating are pretty slim ; but it's fascinating to watch the Frenchman in action!
On the agenda for the next few days are French lessons, Ballet lessons, visiting/ running in the beautiful Parc Montsouris next door and perhaps, a visit to the Palais de Tokyo or a fashion show at the Galleries Lafayette. I seem to be in no rush to join the tourist bandwagon; my little piece of 'real paris' has me quite contented. But I'm sure there will be more to come.