How I Know I’m Not French, Let Me Count the Ways

How I Know I’m Not French, Let Me Count the Ways
Today when I was eating lunch at a restaurant where everyone was 100% French (How do I know that?  Easy, no one was fat) and a neighboring couple asked if I’d watch their valuable C&A coats and H&M purses and sleezy newspapers, I realized they thought I was French  — until I spoke. At which point they gave up hope that I wouldn’t stop eating mid-bite and run off with their stuff to Canal Street, but I assured them I’d guard their valuables. But it started me thinking.  If they mistook me for a Frenchman, or at least a Francophone, or at minimum a Francophile, why couldn’t I pass universally?  Well, here’s why: I don’t “get” Serge Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni, Jane Birkin, Johnny and Abbe Pierre, their reigning idols, and even less Woody Allen, Sylvester Stallone and Mickey Rourke (although I do get Paul Auster). I cannot stand the French national sporting passions – rugby, handball and whatever else they’re winning at each year. I think French TV is on a level of American TV and certainly not the 8th art and am probably one of the few folk whose TV only gets Mezzo and Arte. I cannot tie a scarf correctly, look cool in jeans and a black tee-shirt or “seem” French even if I buy my clothes at C&A or H&M. I rarely wear my PSG (Paris St Germain scarf), favoring instead the shirts of Rinaldo, Kaka and Materazzi. I don’t think misbehaving children are adorable and dogs who bark in restaurants are cute. I queue, almost never flee a restaurant after taking a brief look at the menu or complain vociferously about the cookness of dishes. I don’t like flatulence jokes or sounds on morning radio and never watch the Simpsons with or without translations. I like Le Figaro and Le Monde not Le Parisien or Liberation (especially since they killed the culture and food coverage.) I don’t grope my wife, well not much. I take the Metro and buses not taxicabs. I think strikes, bad weather conditions on roads and manifs are a pain in the neck not wonderful opportunities to smile at the evening news cameras and say nice things. Plus I’m tall, gawky, geeky, clueless and speak like a Spanish cow. These thoughts were indeed occasioned at a restaurant where I had a not uninteresting meal: La Gare 19, Chaussee de la Muette in the 16th, (Metro: La Muette) T: Open 7/7 Weekday lunch formulas 19-24, others 33-38, a la carte 50-60€   Please post your comments or questions and let them flow. Register HERE to do so if you need a Bonjour Paris user name and password.

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