Frog is to Gene Kelly…

Frog is to Gene Kelly…

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If certain stereotypes prove true and the Frenchman is to body odor, machismo and rudeness what the American man is to lazy, beer and “bad in bed,” what is a single girl living in Paris recently broken up from her metrosexual boyfriend to do?

I have not been so into the Paris dating scene. Frankly, I haven’t met one French man that I’ve been attracted to in six months. My last boyfriend, Marc, is only half-French and was raised most of his life in San Francisco. Nicolas, who I flirted with from across Le Danton café, and who I still wait for every Thursday night, in hopes he will return for a scarf or jacket left four months ago and find my phone number, for all I know, could be Russian.

My recent crush is no exception. While he was visiting last weekend from Chicago, Jake and I stayed in Lauren Bacall’s suite at a boutique hotel in the 6th. True, Jake would be considered a catch on any continent–he travels as a photographer documenting the education programs in underdeveloped countries. (Plus he‘s hot, not that that‘s of any importance, he just happens to be extraordinarily attractive.) But there’s something different about an American guy when he’s abroad–something spicy and romantic, something…I’m searching for an adjective that could be used to describe an intoxicating cologne.

Laura and I have conducted much late-night research at pubs, bars, clubs, (Starbucks) in regards to “Who is dateable in France, if not the French?” What we have determined is that basically, you can take an average American guy and move him to Paris, and as soon as he steps off the plane he is 30% more attractive than the rest of his demographic pool he left watching the NBA playoff game in Chicago, and 55% more attractive than the average French man seated at a Parisian corner café. Paris + American= Gene Kelly.

In Lauren Bacall’s suite, I discovered something quite delicious and it wasn’t the chocolate left on our pillows. It turns out that an American man à Paris…is yummy, indeed.

Colin Ferrall: Colin Firth
As far as I’m concerned, the best thing about traveling nowadays, is the movies. On a twelve-hour flight from Paris to San Francisco, I can catch up on at least four Academy Award nominees.

So, naturally, when I met Jake at the metro station, the first thing I did after extending an empty gesture to help him carry his Tumi hanging bag, was ask him what movies he watched on the flight.

Bad Boys II.

Not a completely terrible answer–if Will Smith was the deciding factor. What were the other choices?

Something’s Gotta Give.

Now, he’s lost a point. He didn’t want to watch two people his parents’ age hooking up.

Two hours later, Jake and I are sharing the breakfast menu at Le Bar du Marché, reviewing a Pariscope (30 cent Paris movie guide). Jake flips a few pages and stops. “Big Fish looks good.”

Did I hear him correctly? Big Fish? Surely he can’t mean the Big Fish with my adorable Ewan McGregor and (the also very cute) Billy Crudup? He must mean another Big Fish. The futuristic film, where the entire universe exists inside the body of a giant submarine resembling the Pinocchio whale armed with ammunition.

Jake turns another page. “Oh, I really want to see this one.”

I’m speechless. Is this the same Jake who chose Bad Boys II over Something‘s Gotta Give?

“Kirsten?”

“Oh, yeah, sorry. Yeah. I’ve been wanting to see Girl with a Pearl Earring, too.”

I think Jake may be my real-life Colin Firth. And definitely getting lucky tonight…deep breaths…

Hot tubs: Hot Yoga
Last week, I got a phone call from my friend Katie in Los Angeles. She was crying. Between her sobs, I made out, “The guy from my office I’ve had a crush on finally (sobbing) asked me out and, then, then (sobbing) no date–just wanted me to go in (more sobbing) his hot tub.” The rest was incomprehensible.

Looks like LA guys couldn’t wait for California to slide off into the ocean, they’re taking their dates underwater now. Note to self: start carrying a bikini in my purse.

While Katie was on her wet date…though mine was indoors, it wasn’t any drier. I took Jake to my hot yoga class. And it was his idea. He suggested that we spend Sunday evening stretching in 110 degrees, and I hadn’t even told him about the supermodels who would be there.

Sunday morning over brunch, I started to have second thoughts about bringing Jake to Yoga for obvious reasons. One, the supermodels who would undoubtedly flock to the only cute, not French or gay guy in the room; and two, I would be pulling my legs behind my head, drenched in sweat. This could greatly decrease my odds of getting a kiss later.

So, I suggested that we get beers and go see an action film. Jake said that sounded like fun, but that we should do something good for ourselves on Sunday. That we should go to Yoga.

Beer/Action flick: Yoga.

Okay, he’s perfect. Well, almost…

Map: Man
As it turns out, even in a foreign country, American men still won’t stop and ask for directions, not that they’d get them if they wanted them. In Paris, if you stop someone and ask them nicely how to get from one point to another, the only point they‘ll direct you to is the nearest newsstand where you can purchase a Plan de Paris (basically a hardcopy version of Yahoo Maps) for six euros.

Last weekend, Jake and I walked all over Paris. And thanks to my Plan de Paris, we didn’t get lost once. At no time did Jake stop and ask for directions, though he did insist on carrying my Plan de Paris, after forgetting his at the hotel, and then complained about how much better his blue-cover, yellow-highlighted edition is than my un-highlighted, red cover, which I had chosen simply, because it was a euro cheaper.

In the U.S., the man views the map as a last resort, a second to his perfect “sense of direction.” In France, the American man is all about map. In fact, rather than his confidence being grounded in arriving at a destination without the assistance of Yahoo, his perceived power comes from the holding of the map. And the more he looks at the map, the more powerful he becomes. He gets off on finding roundabout routes to the restaurant or short cuts from Odéon to the Luxembourg gardens.

Jake pulled out that map, a lot. But still…

Kirsten Guenther: Starring in Ice cream on Pont Neuf
The British call the French “Frogs.” In fairytales, a kiss from a beautiful maiden can turn a frog into a prince. Perhaps an 8-hour plane ride from Chicago to Charles de Gaulle airport can turn the average American guy into Gene Kelly.

The French may have Americans beat with better bread, better cheese and better wine, but I argue that it was not the French man who brought the “French kiss” fame, but an American man in Paris…I call him Jake.

On our last night together, after eating falafels in the Marais, Jake and I went for a walk. We wandered over the Pont Neuf, where we were the last two customers at the ice cream stand. He had coffee, I, caramel, both petites on a cone, both wanting more when we it was fini.

I’ve had first kisses in the backs of cars, in the fronts of cars; by a pool, in the pool and one at Point Reyes overlooking the San Francisco Bay. But none of them compared to my first kiss on the Seine.

It was just like the movies. But better, because I got to be in it. That’s the thing about Paris: everyday behavior is film quality. Edith Piaf plays from windows and balconies over cobblestone paths in the left bank leading to the Seine. Where, for a weekend, you get to hold hands with a guy who really is, ever so dreamy.






Kirsten joins Bonjour Paris from Los Angeles, California where she recently graduated from the University in Southern California with a  BFA in Acting. Last year Last year she co-wrote the book and lyrics to a new pop musical which expects to open in Los Angeles next spring. Two years ago, while studying at a conservatory in London, Kirsten fell in love with Paris and decided that she was destined to return for some time. She’s thrilled to experience this dream come true.

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