It is so funny to see how some social behaviors are exactly the same between France and the US, and others are completely different. One of the very obvious difference is the dating game. The French dont date So what is a man to do?
Well, this was a big shock to me when I arrived in the US. I had no idea what dating meant.
I understood of course a man and a woman could be interested in each other in a romantic way, let me reassure you.
But I was not aware that accepting to go out to dinner with a man alone gave the signal that I was possibly romantically interested in him.
Nor did I know about this first date, second date and third date business.
In France, its very common for a girl to go out to dinner with a male friend. Even for a married woman to go out with a male friend who is single: I often travel to Paris by myself, Leyla and Olivier stay in Paimpol, and have dinner with one (or several) of our good male friend(s), single or not.
Olivier trusts me, and we both trust our friend(s), who would never make a pass at me. I guess its much more accepted in France for men and women to be friends.
However, if a woman is dining with a man, you can bet he will pick up the check. Some old habits die hard. I usually trick them by asking to be excused (as if I was going to the ladys room, grab the waiter and give him my credit card).
But I would never do that to my Dad who would be very upset if I did. But I digress
When I meet a man and I am without my husband, Ill place within the first minutes of the conversation that my husband blablabla and our daughter blablabla. That usually is enough to make my state of mind really clear.
I did the same thing as a girl, talking about my boyfriend (actually existing or not) early on in the conversation.
Now, not everybody does that of course, some girls like to play, and sometimes lose themselves in the game, or hurt people. Some boys never give up and sometimes their tenacity pays off And some people are just not faithful, but contrary to popular opinion, its not worse in France than anywhere else (and several studies demonstrate it).
French people flirt. Its in our genes and its socially accepted in France. A Frenchwoman is expected to play her feminine side, and be admired for her beauty and wit among other qualities.
Frenchmen like to flirt as well, even if they know very well there is no hope of it leading anywhere. The game is the main point, its relatively innocent and usually no-one gets hurt, just a little blushed 🙂
With kissing hi and goodbyebeing the standard and French women being more flirtatious, it can be difficult for foreigners to correctly read a French womans body language.
I guess since there is no set protocol, French women are pretty obvious, and often more direct than other women.
You will know when a French girl is flirting with you: shell smile to excess, move her hair a lot, smile at you, blush, laugh hard and loud at your jokes, find occasions to touch your shoulder (or even your knee oh la la), and its not unlikely that shell make the first move. So relax and enjoy the show 🙂
As for French men. Well, they are men. Its unlikely theyll refuse to take it further, but not unheard of. Again, the game is often more important than the catch, even to men.
It all boils down to this. The woman has all the power when it comes to dating. She decides whether she wants the guy or not, and may need more than one dinner to make up her mind Then, shell make the situation pretty clear or just keep on flirting for the joy of it.
Its then up to the guy if the company of la belle is enough for him, or if the game has lasted long enough in which case no-one is forcing him to continue to invite her.
In any case, there is no obligation nor expectation whatsoever for the woman to do whatever after any number of rendez-vous galants.
So, since there is no dating protocol, French guys have to work hard for it They cannot just assume that if the girl accepts to go out with them three times, cest dans la poche (its in the pocket, its a done deal).
Maybe this is why French guys have the reputations of being so romantic, and tenacious !! We trained them well (with some exceptions of course pretty much every politician 🙁
Believe it or not, at the opposite of all the stereotypes, French people are much more about love than sex.
Sex is not taboo in France as it is in the US, and it is much more present in humor, art, tv and everyday life than in the US and so is nudity: children are often naked on the beach, women can go topless (although its less frequent now than when I was young)
Still, sex is very much associated with love. I wrote an article aboutFrench Sex Vocabularyif you are curious watch out, it is explicit and written for an adult audience.
Many of my French friends men and women alike have waited to meet someone special for their first time, didnt just want to get rid of their virginity, and have never had one night stand.
If sex between consenting adults is very much socially accepted, most French people wont rush into it, and get to know each other before jumping into bed.
Its only in American movies that I found out about this lets be exclusive concept.
In France, pretty much once youve exchanged a kiss, its expected of you to be exclusive: you dont chase several rabbits at the same time Maybe thats why things take a bit more time to develop in France we like the game, and we like to take our time playing it.
Its actually the first point they made in this video, which I really liked:
I hope this article shed some light on the French dating system or lack of it. Of course, this is only my opinion please take it as such. And if you like this article, youll probably enjoy my French women beauty secrets article.
And for more about lamour (grammar, French love vocabulary, cultural tips) in France, check out mySaint Valentin article. You may also like How To Ask Someone Out in French.
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