The French Man

“I love that in France a man thinks nothing of complimenting a woman that he doesn’t know;  he compliments her on her smile or her hair or whatever—and it doesn’t mean anything more than, ‘I appreciate you.’ ”

 This quote I discovered  while reading about French men and it reminded me of a story. A story told to me by a woman that I met on a French Riviera cruise last year.

She was from Seattle, Washington, but had just been to Paris, and she remarked to me that she felt more appreciated as an older woman in Paris than elsewhere. For instance, she loved that she could sit all day in a café, or have dinner by herself in a fancy restaurant and not feel uncomfortable because so many women in Paris do so.

One day, she was sitting in one of those stylish outdoor ‘terrasses’ watching the world go by when a French man, considerably younger than herself, sitting at the next table struck up a conversation with her. They had an interesting chat, she said, on all sorts of topics. In fact, she was duly impressed with the young man’s interest and knowledge of the world. Then suddenly he had to go. She thanked him, wished him well and then was surprised when “he gracefully took my hand, and kissed it.” The woman felt suddenly awkward that perhaps something more was expected of her. But when she asked the young man his name, he replied that it was not necessary to know it. “We had a special moment,” he said to her, and then was gone.

When I think of this story, I melt a little bit. My first experiences with French men were as a young woman and stereotypical. As a teaching assistant in a French school, and in my twenties, I was hit on regularly by the male teachers, all of them maybe ten years older, very attractive but married.

One such instance, I was developing some pictures with the photography teacher in the dark room (was I really that naive?) when he suddenly reached out, pulled me towards him and started to kiss me. It was right out of movie but without a plot and, ah yes, French men know how to kiss.  So, ok, I should have pushed him away and expressed outrage, but of course, I didn’t. Come on — who knew when the next Frenchman would ever kiss me again! I savored the moment, in fact, drew it out as long as I could — but then made sure that it never happened again. He too avoided me after that.

Since then, I have casually dated a few French men over the years and had one long term relationship with the most divine French Canadian. I do think that in general French men appreciate women in ways that can be most gratifying and they are definitely hard wired to flirt. But I also learned that it should not leave a woman wondering.  It’s often just a compliment of appreciation as the quote said.

Still as a woman of a certain age, I have yet to have an experience in Paris like my friend from Seattle. But I will definitely keep you posted…

Is there a French man in your past or present?

13 Comments

  1. Tamara Thompson on November 11, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Since starting to read this blog religiously every Sunday Morning, with an aroma brew ready to jet off to Paris, of course only in my mind. When I read from my email this morning, that this weeks blog was called “The French Men” (I’ve made SURE that this blog especially is sent to my email inbox each week), it is a must, for me…I would highly suggest doing this btw!) When I read Diana Bishop’s topic for my morning ritual, of escaping to Paris was French Romance. Well, I didn’t have to shake the cobwebs away too much. I instantly snapped my head back with eager anticipation, told my eyes, “Now open up! We’ve got some serious reading to do about “The French Men”. What a treat it would be to be showered with compliments. Especially on days where we don’t feel as beautiful as we should. This blog made me feel beautiful! I love my Sunday Mornings, Diana’s blog is not just a ritual to escape to Paris, but now….on Sunday Mornings, my religion.

  2. Ann Eden on November 14, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Loved reading this since I lived in Paris for 2 years.

    • Diana Bishop on November 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Thank you for the note Ann — lucky you two years! Wow! Where did you live and what did you do there?

    • Patricia Graham on December 23, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Oh the memories. My husband and I spent June in France every year for 6 years. He’s passed now but my memories are wonderful. Will I go back alone? Not sure. Love your blog.

      • Diana Bishop on December 24, 2018 at 4:22 pm

        Patricia — June is one of the loveliest months in Paris! You much have the most wonderful memories. I have been to Paris on my own and it is different experience for sure but rewarding in its own way.
        Merry Christmas to you and thank you for following my blog! Diana

  3. Catherine Willis-O'Connor on November 14, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    A Frenchman’s touch is both special and lovely.
    You never know when it will happen again which makes it even more exciting.

    • Diana Bishop on November 15, 2018 at 8:44 am

      So true! Thanks for reading my blog!

  4. Susan Copeland on November 29, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Love your blog Diana. As you know, I spent a few years in Paris, and we’re still trying to get there regularly. We’ll have to meet up with you there … un de ces jours. Maybe in 2019 !

    • Diana Bishop on November 30, 2018 at 7:55 am

      Susan,

      My goodness how are you? I am so thrilled to hear from you. Thank you for reading my blog! I know Paris eh? It is my heart and soul.
      And yes wouldn’t it be fun to meet up again and catch up. This new blog has connected me with some of our old pals from our Newswatch days.
      So fun! Best to you— Diana

  5. Dee Stein on May 15, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Mais oui! There are several French men who live on fondly in my memory and they were/are as charming and complimentary as you say. But there is one who, for many reasons, will be my deathbed regret … *sigh!* …
    I could go on about his exotic good looks and intense stare but it was his kisses that were unlike any I’ve ever experienced before or since! That was 25 years ago but I remember the feeling like it was yesterday; something I felt right down to my toes.
    I wonder what became of him. (I hope he made his way in the world and is happy.) But I will be always thrilled and grateful to have experienced such an extraordinary connection, even if it was only for one incredible day (and night!).
    Dxxx

    • Diana Bishop on May 15, 2019 at 11:32 am

      Dee, Oh this comment is so delicious. Why is it when some men kiss you, you feel nothing and then someone comes along and it is totally electric — even when perhaps that is not the person is not right for you. I had that experience with a younger man, not really my type, but the kiss — well I will never forget it. Thanks so much for commenting and reading my blog. Diana

  6. Michelle Kimenhour on June 16, 2019 at 10:50 am

    I can’t imagine living in a culture where women are treated as a fine wine and not a crone. As we age, we become more complex and interesting individuals. It’s wonderful that is appreciated. Life is made of all the little connections we make with others.

    • Diana Bishop on June 16, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      And Michelle this is exactly why I started this blog. Paris is the hook because it is a place
      where women are celebrated at any age. But the my intention is to give women of a certain age in
      our various cultures permission to be their most interesting, complex, attractive and yes, sexual and sensual.
      Let’s own it!

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