Dividing my time between England and France has allowed me to date my fair share of French men on both sides of the Channel. So, it was interesting to think about what the experience actually taught me and whether dating French men lived up to expectations. Here are 5 lessons I learned:
1. ‘Drinks’ might be the norm in England – whether that means getting in one round each, or you end up on the dancefloor at some nightclub – but French men are readier (in my experience) to suggest an alternative, like an exhibition. It can certainly help take the pressure off conversation by giving you something to talk about… and if you do decide not to see each other again, you (probably) enjoyed yourself anyway. I once managed to tick the Piero Fornasetti exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs off my to do list, as well as gaining an education in Haitian art at the Grand Palais.
2. They love a British accent – no, really! As much as you love their accent (which apparently, they find just as hard to believe) they can’t get enough of yours either. As an added bonus, there’ll inevitably be plenty of opportunity for both of you to make mistakes, either by pronouncing something the wrong way or using the wrong word completely, which can be endlessly entertaining. Walking hand in hand through the park, I once convinced my date that the English word for squirrel was “spaghetti”. Miraculously, we’ve actually stayed in touch and can still laugh about it now…
3. They probably don’t have to try that hard, as pretty much everything they say (or write) in French feels a million times more romantic than it would do in English. Even if they’re just telling you about the new supermarket that opened around the corner.
And yet, they can be too clever for their own good… I used to dream about the moment my boyfriend would utter the immortal words “Je t’aime”, but when it finally did happen (of course, I still remember it vividly), he decided to say it IN ENGLISH! Doh.
4. They aren’t that different, really. There comes a certain point at which you realise that French men can only be so different to English men: they do get drunk on occasion, they can get over excited and start planning dates months in advance despite having only just met you, they can also go on holiday before disappearing off the radar completely. That said, they can also be really romantic, like the one who stayed up all night prepping for our picnic, the one who carved my name on a tree (there’s a first time for everything!) and the one who turned up in a suit on day 1.
5. Language exchanges are an excellent way to meet French men, whether you’re in France or not. You’ll hopefully learn something, might make a friend, or even discover the love of your life (technically, anything is possible!). Advertising for a French conversation partner can be an excellent way to find other people who share your passion for raclette / PSG. One of them might even get you discounts on macarons at the bakery where they work (true story) and if they’re an expat, you can have fun showing them your favourite local haunts and discovering your city through their eyes.
Have you tried dating French men too? Let me know how you got on!