Can you figure out what all these good-looking bad boys have in common?
Frenchmen are said to be grumpy but they also have the reputation of being good lovers, romantic, artsy, stylish and sexy. Does the stereotype actually live up to reality? We asked female clients at Marianne Vera Salon to tell us about their experiences with French men and this is what they said:
“French men are into you”
“They love women and admire them”
“They’re not afraid to look at a woman”
“They’re edgy and fashionable”
“They embrace life”
“They’re charismatic and know how to carry themselves”
“They’re insistent with women”
To my surprise, none of the interviewees corroborated the stereotype of the romantic lover man. Could it be that Frenchmen lost their rank to fall behind the Italians or Brazilians, or that the stereotype has been nothing more than a cliché with no real foundation? As a French/American woman, I can affirm that not all French men are romantic. In fact, the French are considered romantic from an American standpoint but they don’t really consider themselves romantic, quite the opposite. In France and from a French standpoint, the French are rather down to earth, practical and realistic. Nonetheless, they are undeniably passionate about life and they do take the time to socialize with the people they like. Frenchmen love women that’s true but they’re not all womanizers and cheaters. If you go on a date with a French man, it is unlikely that the conversation revolve around work and money. In fact, the French don’t define people by their work but rather by their personality, their conversations and the way they live their lives in general. In short, the French work to live; they don’t live to work and for this reason, they also have the reputation of disliking work. Let’s not forget that most French employee enjoy an average of six weeks paid vacation per year in addition to numerous holidays. So what’s wrong with that? “Nothing at all,” the French will say. Life is to be enjoyed, and to do just that, one needs time off. In fact, our two-week yearly vacation time seems quite inhuman and cruel to the French. So yes, French men definitely love life, and what also distinguishes them is that they have a strong interest in other cultures and arts in general.
Not every French man is artsy, that’s part of the stereotype, but every French man has some knowledge of art, cooking, music, painting or literature. French have conversations, so ladies, if you have a date with a French man, be ready to talk about anything and everything but work. The good news is that your evening will feel like you’re spending time with a friend as opposed to being in a formal date. One of the things I enjoy about the French is that they see character flaws as a thing of life. After all, we’re humans and therefore imperfect, so it’s really no use trying to hide and wanting to appear perfect. Clearly, if you’ve just come out of rehab, you might want to keep that for a later time but if you have no heavy stuff in your life, just be yourself and be real! Don’t be afraid to show your good stuff and your not-so-good stuff. For the French, the way to really know someone and create intimacy is to discuss essential topics. French hate phonies and superficiality. So if you want your French date to take you seriously, be yourself and play no games. Remember, French men appreciate women and they like to be the man.
During our informal interview, some women said that, “French men are not afraid to look at women.” Many women claim that they feel alive when in France. They exist, because men take the time to acknowledge them. French men look at women in their own subtle, respectful manner. In addition, random acts of gallantry reflect French men’s good manners but it also gives them the chance to stop to their surroundings. Furthermore, French men are very attentive to details. While some men only notice the protruding parts of women, the French notice every detail and every part of a woman’s body, the hair, the hands, the clothes, the perfume and the make-up. This practice also applies in bed. French men will give attention to every part of your body. Making love is about spending time with another person so while climax is important; it is not the primary goal from the get-go for the French. Some people are nervous in bed because they see lovemaking as a mission to procure an orgasm to their partner. When you’re making love with a French man, don’t rush and don’t be so eager to satisfy him or be satisfied. Simply enjoy the moment and go with the flow.
With regards to dating, French men don’t have rules so you can discard all the conventions and etiquette of American dating. French men simply follow their guts and feelings. They call when they feel like it, even if it’s three times a day. There are no rules regarding waiting to initiate a second date, giving space to the other person, or needing to look detached. These rules make no sense whatsoever to the French. If they like someone, they just go for it! From my experience and observation, French men like to be in a relationship. Some relationships might even appear somewhat co-dependent from an American perspective. In fact, the French don’t seem to need their space as much as Americans do when in a relationship. However, as much as they love to be in a relationship, they also leave or wander elsewhere, if it doesn’t work out. The good news is that you are likely to know where you stand in your relationship with your French man from early on. Americans it seems, take a lot more time to commit to someone. But again, this is a generalization that doesn’t apply to all individuals.
Stereotypes play a major role in shaping our own opinions and often times, they perpetuates stigma and misinform rather than inform. In fact, as curious as you are about French men, so are French men about American women. If French men have the reputation of bad boys who cheat, American women have the reputation of being sexually loose. Although this might have been the case in France with some tourists wanting to taste the local flavors, we know this is not the absolute truth. This takes us back to the importance of being you. Don’t force yourself to look overly happy, positive and cheery if this is not how you feel at the moment, as this may be interpreted the wrong way. Don’t drink too much and behave like lady. If you drink beer, you should always use a glass.
These are just general reflections about observed French behavior, which can be taken as guidelines or interesting conversation topics. In any case, remember that each individual is different, bringing his or her own experience and personality to the equation. In effect, your perception of a person might be different for someone else. In addition, a French man does not behave the same way in New York as he does in France or other countries. While we enjoy observing the cultural traits that have made up the French man stereotype, we also look at each person individually. Remember, not every French man is alike.
Have you dated a French man? Let us know how your experience was!