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 !
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”, 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.
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however decided to try and get past the blatant lie that I reckon posting an outdated, better photo of oneself is, and see if I could simply enjoy his company.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.
* Not his real name, which was, in reality, unbelievably old-fashioned, difficult to pronounce and as cumbersome as him.