How to Love Like a French Woman?

Really?  How To Love Like A French Woman.

This article irritates me.  It’s kind of like the annoying book which I did read, French Women Don’t Get Fat except they do.  See:  Actually French Women Do Get Fat and French Women Do Too Get Fat and French Women Do Get Fat and French Women Do Get Fat According to Obesity Figures.  **See random magazine article/photo featuring and celebrating attractive plus size French model.

Thank god for statistics and courageous people who like nothing more than to implode urban mythology!

All right so… apparently American women, on dates, are guilty of the following–

1.  TMI.  Discussing our entire life history, i.e., pathology, on the first date.  I don’t know about you but I do remember dating and I distinctly remember trying to make a good first impression on a first date.  The last thing I wanted was for my date to learn anything about the awful pathology surrounding my family and/or anything about my own muddied past.  

2.  We are guilty of thinking in terms of yay or nay, making checklists of what we want and don’t want.  Either he’s our soul mate, our prince charming, and we’re going to marry him and live happily ever after because he’s perfect or he’s a complete and total loser.  There is no middle ground for American women.  I dated many men, I even married a couple.  I wasn’t looking for perfection because perfection doesn’t exist, but after screwing up big time I did set a few standards.  I see nothing wrong with standards such as – He will not beat me.  He will  not cheat on me.  He will not use drugs.  He will be able to hold a job.  He will want children.  He will be willing to support said children.  He will be kind to animals.  He will not be a criminal.  He will not try to burn the house down with me inside.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

3.  We believe in true love instead of gradations of love.  Hmmm.  Apparently French Women view love as a ‘spectrum of possibilities’.  Whatever that means.  Kind of like Prince Charles’ answer when he was asked if he and Diana were in love– “Whatever in love means…” and we all know how well that turned out.  I am reminded of my free love days.  Remember the old song?  If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.  I don’t think one night stands or passionate affairs of the heart sans commitment are specific to French Women.

The article goes on to state:

4.  French Women are less committed to the idea of marriage because they are more cynical about marriage because they understand the vagaries of love and marriage.  They are more apt to choose co-habitation over marriage.  Thus their divorce rates are lower.  “The French are simply more willing, again, to accept that love and passion might not last forever with one person.”  If I may add– if passion fades, then what about friendship, respect, commitment, trust?

I have to ask, is this a model we should emulate?  Go, read, let me know what you think.

Further considerations–

From the BBC, the EU’s Baby Blues.

This article – really interesting.  Not for me for oh-so-many reasons.  Besides, nobody throws away my flip-flops.  Never Moan About Ze Mistress:  How to Survive as a French Wife.

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24 Responses to How to Love Like a French Woman?

  1. Lisa Marie says:

    I am always loathe to culture-bias, but in some instances, certain attitudes are more common to a certain culture. I’m second-generation French (Alsacian, actually). Although I’m not too sure about point No. 4, I do see my single gal pals commit offenses 1-3 all of the time. I was taught to be practical about love. Love is an action, not a feeling, and it’s definitely not pretty words. It’s being present in the marriage, from day to day. (I believe Rilke had something to say about the importance of making love “day labor,” if I remember correctly.)

    No. 2 … I’m not so sure that this is endemic to American women or women in general, bit it does seem to be pervasive in our culture. The single women I know are very demanding of their men, expecting them to live up to ridiculously high standards. A man must have a fairly lucrative job, nice car, quality education, no legal problems, no “baggage” … but they never hold themselves to the same high standards. I’ve never understood this attitude. “Be the type of person you want to marry” is what I was taught — and I do believe that this is what some people would call typically “French.”

    My better half is British, and I find that I get along far better with him than I do American men. We share the same sensibilities when it comes to love and marriage. We fell in love slowly and cautiously. Everything feels balanced and calm — and *very* egalitarian. This could be sheer coincidence, of course. But it does make me wonder, just a little, if my family culture had something to do with it.

  2. I do like that, Lisa Marie – Be the person you want to marry. I also agree that to fall in love is to take an action – it is not a passive thing and sustaining a relationship requires work.

    Perhaps we Americans are prone to passively falling, I guess you’d say head over heels in love, without considering the consequences, or perhaps we are too quick to marry.

    I can’t say I know many women who have ridiculously high standards, but then I don’t know all that many single women anymore– sometimes women do walk around wearing blinders, until they get a dose of reality and grow up.

    I view marriage or a relationship as a full partnership. It is not always an exactly equal partnership– there are discrepancies when it comes to child rearing for example, housework, laundry, cooking… but when you boil it down, a good relationship is based upon mutual respect, trust and yes, attraction, passion, zing. I am a passionate person- not necessarily logical, not necessarily calm. At times my heart overrules my head. I’m not sure I’d change that.

    Fortunately I chose wisely the second time around. I married a man who loves and appreciates women, me in particular, and I trust him completely.

  3. Amber Skyze says:

    I fortunately chose wisely the second time too, Julia. My husband appreciates women and he’s more loyal and trustworthy than the men I picked in the past. :)

  4. I think that we are all different and we should follow our own rules, path and choices when it comes to matter of love and lust.

  5. Savannah – simple and elegant.

  6. yoshi says:

    Serial relationships are an excellent plan in our 20′s, still pretty good in our 30′s (unless you are female and want kids) , becomes marginal in our 40′s and dismal in our 50′s. It takes a decade or more to figure out who we are and what we really want out of life. The problems I see are mostly due to marrying before we have all that figured out.

  7. Thanks for a man’s perspective, Yoshi. Well done.

  8. Honoré says:

    Clichés like those are common, and not only in Europe: Latin lovers, sulky Spanish ladies, unfaithful French women, tall American girls – etc. I lived in France for the early part of my life, was married there, go there often, it still is my country. Women in France are like women everywhere in my experience: unless they come from a really wealthy background, trying to make ends meet, raising children, perhaps working towards a difficult career against all odds, coping with male egoism, and living. As for body fat, please, I am 1.90m, 105 kgs, run every day, and in love with a beautiful German woman… and loyal :-)

  9. Thank you, Honore’. Yes, I do think cliche’s like this are extremely common. We all struggle with the same issues. And love and loyalty are just that – love and loyalty.
    But don’t ask me to translate the metric measurements. Trips me up every time. If you run everyday it’s all good.

  10. Casey Wyatt says:

    I agree with Savannah! Live and let live. Everyone is different and what one person enjoys, another may find intolerable (and it’s the same in relationships!).

  11. Ciara Knight says:

    I remember being guilty of number two in my early dating years. It is divine intervention my hubby and I ended up together. I was totally commitment phobic and hubby was recently divorced. Being friends for six months helped us build trust and a connection I never made with ‘dates’ in the past. We both were dating other people when we met.

  12. Diana Stevan says:

    I find these articles as annoying as you do. Anything that smacks of “you should” or “this is the way” or “these women have the answer” to what men want, etc. etc. is so disrespectful to both women and men.

    I like what Savannah has to say on the subject. We are so different and articles that try to lump us all in together should be avoided like the plague. As for the article…how to survive as a French wife, God, I would hate to have to be on my toes trying to please all the time. That would be the death of me. I’m curious whether there are similar expectations of French men? Do they have to live up to some unrealistic ideal as well, if that even is an ideal? Thanks for the discussion.

  13. Casey – yes, it’s true.

    Ciara – I can imagine a list. I do have standards as well. My husband and I had known each other since I was 14 so we were definitely friends first.

  14. Diana – excellent question! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. And I do hate being compared to others.

  15. Daniel says:

    The article is written for people whose primary understanding of places outside their own spheres of involvement is informed by articles such as that one. It’s fanciful. Outside of their nationality and gender, all American women aren’t alike, nor are all French women. I would say that there is more of a generational divide than there is a national divide when it comes to notions on dating and relationships. For example, I once spoke with a woman several decades my senior who said she had not been exposed to a socially accepted and expected practice of dating multiple people at the same time until she moved to the US (from France).

    I also enjoyed how to article somewhat lamented dating dogma and dos and don’ts while perpetuating them at the same time. Articles like that feed neuroticism as opposed to helping alleviate it.

    Unrealistic Cinderella-meets-Valerie-Solanas demands of people will lead to strife and futility. There is a balance that must be struck between being pragmatically compromising and maintaining reasonable standards.

  16. I figure I made a commitment to a decent man and there have been good and bad times in our life together. The commitment helps ride those out.

    My girlfriends often go out on a first date wanting to interview the man for being a husband.

  17. Interesting, Steph. I know very few unmarried women. I think level of commitment is a huge factor in surviving difficulties.

  18. Hi Daniel, thanks for coming by. I hope you aren’t spam because your comment is very appropriate!

  19. Daniel says:

    I assure you my comment about the article (“How To Love Like A French Woman”) wasn’t spam. I’m sorry if in any way it lent the impression that it possibly was.

  20. Just teasing, Daniel. Sometimes I get spam that’s right on topic! I agree the article, and others like it, add to our insecurities rather than relieving them.

  21. Tom Stronach says:

    Don’t be giving me homework to ‘go read’ woman. Sheesh Bossy or what!

    Or could it be that French Woman are so used to their men folk having their affairs and assignations, that they, the ladies, who clearly participate in the affairs, have become so blase’ as a nation to the meaning of ‘Love’?

  22. Dear Tom, French women may be more accepting and resigned and less prone to revenge, unlike us Anglo-Saxon women who prefer to pile all our philandering husband’s most precious belongings in the front yard and set them on fire.

  23. sandra cox says:

    ‘Spectrum of possibilities.’ Actually, I like that phrase. It can be used in many different contexts.
    Also liked your Dear Tom response. And agree:)

  24. Yes, it’s true, Sandra. The phrase can mean many things – along a large spectrum of possibilities!