French actor Louis Garrel and actress Lea Seydoux. Photo: Carlos Alvarez, Getty Images
For anyone who has seen and lovedBroken English, Le Divorce orAmlie, the dream of French romance is a hard fantasy to escape. (Unless your introduction to Paris-set films started off withLast Tango in Paris, in which case the idea of French love has likely traumatized you.)
I’m one of those who became a fool for the idea of Parisian romance, which is why I’m now living there and in a successful relationship with a native (after many failed attempts). For those wondering what it’s really like to date a Frenchman, here are 15 things to knowincluding the truths, myths, pluses and quirks.
1. French men tend to love American girls. (Hint: If you speak just the slightest bit of French, you gain points. Don’t worry about your atrocious accent because they think it’s cute.) They love American girls because they’re fun and enjoy sex, whereas French girls tend to have cyber-coded chastity belts locking up their vaginas.
2. In many cases, sleeping with him on the first night is not the kiss of death for a relationship.
3. On the other hand, many French boys have figured out points #1 and #2, and know how to use it to their advantage. These guys are your classic douchebags and are relatively easy to spot. Douche, after all, is a French word.
4. But for the nice French boys, it’s helpful to know that he’s likely not dating anyone else besides you. The French haven’t really wrapped their minds around the concept of “dating” yet. But if #3 is any indication of how they’re catching up, I’d advise you to act now before they figure out that dating five girls at once is an unfortunate common practice in America.
5. The French move fast. They’ll probably refer to you as their “girlfriend” after the second date, say “I love you” some two weeks into it, and possibly propose to you before a year is up. (I’ve seen this happen before.)
6. Truth: they tend to have no problem with PDA. If you’re all about making out in front of grandmas on the subway, then there’s no problem.
7. Despite claiming fame to the “French kiss,” not all French guys are good kissers. There’s one technique I’ve experienced a few times that I call the washing machinewhen a guy sticks his entire tongue in your mouth, doesn’t move his lips, and swirls his tongue around in big, circular motions. Maybe you’re into that.
8. True: they love eating (but not all know what outstanding food is, or how to cook) and love a good wine. But they’re also not afraid to drink a Cosmopolitan in public.
9. Obvious bonus: an accent so hot that they can read the small print on a beer bottle and make it sound sexy.
10. A French man’s personal style is very uniform-y, and he tends to have a closet filled with variations on the same outfit. Good news for you if he’s into basic jeans, cashmere sweaters, and well-cut blazers. Bad news if he belongs to the tribe of baggy linen pants and ribbed turtlenecks.
11. You’ll have the pleasure of explaining particularly American concepts such as Snooki, Shamu, Spring Break, Texas and Pizza Bites.
12. He’ll comment on your outfits (positively) and discuss style in general more than an American boy might.
13. He’s probably well-traveled considering that living in France allows you the advantage of hopping over to Italy or Spain for a weekend.
14. Unless he magically learned English from watching episodes of Full House on repeat, you’ll likely have some language/accent issues like those seen in Broken English: Angry/hungry, happiness/a penis. I tend to find these confused moments to be hilarious and endearing. Some people don’t have the patience.
15. He’ll probably do all he can to give you respect and treat you like a princess. (But don’t think you can’t get some of the raunchy opposite in the bedroom.)