Adventures in French Flings : Guillaume

Surfer boys, Biarritz

Surfer boys, Biarritz

During my summertime escapades into the seductive world of Parisian dating, I learnt my third and perhaps most lousy lesson about French men; they don’t always post up-to-date photos of themselves on dating sites. 

 

I had begun chatting online with a man who seemed to be living an unusual and remarkable life.  Exceptionally well-travelled and educated, Guillaume* chose to divide his time between Paris and Barcelona. 

Sure, it’s not uncommon for businessmen in Europe to live and travel between cities, but what made this gentleman particularly intriguing to me was that whilst in Paris, he lived in a péniche (barge) right underneath my favourite Parisian icon - the Eiffel Tower.  Incroyable !

Lesson No 3 :
French men don’t always post up-to-date photos of themselves on dating sites.

In this péniche was housed not one, but two grand pianos.  Which he actually played.  And at a much higher level than my comparatively modest 5th grade classical level.  

And most weekends, all the owners of neighbouring péniches would gather for parties on eachothers’ floating funboats!  

Also in his péniche lived his two adolescent daughters, for whom he cooked every night when he was in Paris!

His profile photos made him look like the French answer to Eat, Pray, Love …

His profile photos made him look like the French answer to “Eat, Pray, Love”, which only added to his allure.  As did the witty, intelligent, thoughtful dialogue he engaged in leading up to our first actual date.

Formidable !  Quel homme, non ? 

Without a doubt, I awaited eagerly my first rendezvous with the fascinating Guillaume. 

However, the second I clapped eyes on him in my local bistro, and his extra 10kg of bodyweight lumbering towards me with overgrown beard and coiffure, I wanted to leap up out of my seat like a coward and run off as fast as my stilettos could possibly take me in the opposite direction to him.

Guillaume was nothing like his profile photos.  Pas. Du. Tout.

I wanted to run off as fast as my stilettos could possibly take me in the opposite direction to him.

Failing to run off in time before he spotted me, I then considered delivering my surefire, honest exit strategy,

Desolée, but I don’t think this is going to work”,

however decided to try and get past the blatant lie that I reckon posting an outdated, better photo of oneself is, and see if I could simply enjoy his company. 

Unfortunately, the one glass of wine I consumed over two hours was not nearly enough alcohol to entice me to view his surplus bulk and beard as an Aussie might, with a few extra glasses under one’s belt, ie:

“You’re such a spunk when I’m blind drunk ...” 

So I bid my deceptive date adieu, went home to pour myself a very large, mind-numbing glass of cheap rosé with which to erase him from my memory, and ticked this particular monsieur off my dating list. 

Next!!!

 

* Not his real name, which was, in reality, unbelievably old-fashioned, difficult to pronounce and as cumbersome as him.

 

 

Paris on a Plate : Sexy Stuffed Figs

Sex on a plate is what cheekily came to mind the first time I made these moreish little morsels.  

 

Stimulating the senses is what the French are all about, and what could be more seductively frenchy than luscious, juicy figs stuffed with salty pancetta and creamy chèvre?

Being totally un-vegetarian, un-vegan and dairy-rich means you won't impress those in certain circles, but the lucky ones upon whom you do bestow these beauties will be your new best friends.  And in less than 10 minutes flat.

Seductively frenchy ... luscious, juicy figs
  1. Allow two figs per person.  If necessary, clean gently with cool water, pat dry and snip the top off each stem.
  2. Cut a cross in the top of each fig three-quarters of the way through, without cutting the base, and place on a foil-lined baking tray.
  3. Form little rosettes of finely shaved pancetta and push into the centre of each fig.
  4. Fill each pancetta rosette with a spoonful of fromage frais de chèvre (soft goats cheese) and grill for 5 minutes or until the chèvre starts to melt.
  5. Sprinkle with freshly chopped rosemary, a grind of pepper et voilà!
  6. Devour without inhibition.

Adventures in French Flings : André

Boys in the hood, St-Germain-des-Près, Paris

Boys in the hood, St-Germain-des-Près, Paris

The world of dating in Paris opened up to me last summer after I ended a relationship with my first French lover. “First” because although it ended, I wasn’t in the least put off exploring more. French men, that is. 

Following a two-year male drought after leaving my Australian ex-husband, I had been thrilled to be hurled head first into many women’s fantasy – a french fling – which left me keen for more, s’il vous plaît.

... hurled headfirst into many women’s fantasy – a French fling.

So I signed up to a popular dating site and prepared for … I didn’t know what.  But I wanted to know.  What I wasn’t prepared for, though, were some markedly different styles of dating between Aussie 'blokes' and French 'gentlemen'. 

I enjoyed two highly entertaining dates with André* - both involving apéros in swanky hotels in the swankiest parts of Paris, followed by equally swanky dinners.  Conversation flowed easily, he was charming, educated and attractive … so far, so good.  

Until one evening when he rang me completely out of the blue. 

Anticipating a quiet night alone at home, I had showered, washed my hair and was slopping around my apartment, sans makeup, in very little, doing very little. 

He was on his way to my place and would arrive in 15 minutes. 

"Zis is OK with you?" 

Arrive in fifteen minutes?!  For what, exactly?!  Had I forgotten about a date with him or something??  Merde !

Lesson no 1 :

French men can be spontaneous and expect to be able to see you with very little notice.

“Ahhhh… bien sûr, André … pas de problème …” 

This was not how I had anticipated a third date with a Frenchman would be.  I was going to have to move fast.  Very fast. 

I yanked on some clothes, slapped on some makeup, blow-dried my hair and straightened my apartment.  In 15 minutes flat. 

I thought frantically about what I could offer him when he arrived.  As a single woman not often at home, my fridge and pantry were embarrassingly bare.  No time either to run to Marks & Spencer supermarket to buy something suitable for this refined and elegant Frenchman. 

I dérange you?” he asked …
I stifled a snort of laughter at his use of the French word for ‘disturb’.

“I dérange you?”

he asked upon entering, seeing my flushed face and breathlessness.  I stifled a snort of laughter at his use of dérange, the French word for ‘disturb’. 

“Oh no, pas du tout !

I replied, hastily snapping closed my laptop with one hand and zipping up my fly with the other.

“You have somezing to eet or drink, perhaps?  I am very ‘ungry”.

I gingerly served him as prettily as possible some leftover, cheap rosé (big mistake; Frenchmen hate rosé), a slab of subpar Cantal cheese, a bunch of grapes, and (cringe) rice cakes. 

He gallantly nibbled on a half a rice cake and three grapes, stoically stomached a sip of the rosé and sampled a morsel of cheese.

“Normally, I never eet zis type of cheese.  Or drink rosé.  It is more for zee ladies”.

Lesson no 2 :

Frenchmen can be total snobs when it comes to food and wine.

The Aussie blokes I know - outdoorsy surfers, rugby players and tradesmen with lusty, no-frills appetites - would have gratefully devoured the lot.  And asked for seconds.

I was beginning to understand that the more quality-focused French have higher standards and would rather starve than succumb to shoddy fare ... even if it is their own locally-produced cheese 'n wine.

Needless to say, I didn’t impress André very much that evening, which probably explains why I didn’t hear from him again. 

Tant pis.  But if rice cakes and cheap rosé aren’t your bag, baby, it doesn’t dérange me.

 

* Not this fancy French gentleman’s real name … it was much less banal.

 

France in my Pants

France in my Pants

During my recent Parisian holiday, I found myself in the lingerie section of the iconic Galeries Lafayette store.  As I floated through, totally mesmerised, I realised that unlike most Australian stores, the lingerie department occupied an entire floor - covering a staggering 3,500 square metres! 

Au revoir Byron Bay ... Bonjour Paris!

Au revoir Byron Bay ... Bonjour Paris!

What on earth would make a Byron Bay girl suddenly decide to pack up her entire life in the space of three months, and move to Paris?  Especially after having visited the city of love and light only once, and only for five days?  Who the hell do I think I am - a 20 year old, carefree student or something?!