"The Look", Beds, Catherine de Medici, Chateau, Elisabeth of Austria, Elisabeth of France, English, Flight, France, French, French or Foe, Henry II, King Francis I, Language, Louise of Lorraine, Marseille, Mary Stuart, No Strings Attached, Queen Margot, The Duke of Guise, The Fighter
Well, we woke up at the crack of dawn to fly back to the states. I couldn’t sleep, as I often can’t on planes, so I read, listened to music, and watched No Strings Attached (or to the French, “Sex Friends”) and The Fighter. The Fighter ended just before we were landing, so I was super jacked getting off the plane. This was good, since I went to lunch with the family after. I needed something to get me pumped up enough to muster the energy. Unfortunately I was in the mood to kick ass instead of eat lunch, but I channeled it well, I think.
Coming back was different this year. I wasn’t ready to come back. It wasn’t hot enough in France to yearn for cooler air. The food was so good there that I feel like I may never be satisfied with American food again. And shoot, I was really getting used to “the look.” What can I say, I like the attention :). However, I’m home now, back to the cold and rain, back to high fructose corn syrup and non-organic veggies, and feeling unnoticed (well, not completely, but it isn’t the same). So, I might as well share what I’ve learned this time around:
- First of all, if you are female, no matter what age or shape or size, you will most likely get “the look” from French men if you put an effort into looking good. Polly Platt, author of French or Foe, describes this look as a look of “unmistakable intensity that lets her know that, for that man, she’s got it” (166). The same thing goes for men. The look isn’t meant to be creepy, or mean that anything will happen for it. It is instead an acceptable form of appreciation. It can be a little disconcerting for an unsuspecting American who is used to this type of look as being inappropriate, but if you know understand that it is just a form of appreciation, it’s not so bad. A girl could get used to this.
- French people are not rude, despite popular belief. For the duration of my stay, I was never treated poorly for any reason. The people that have a bad experience with the French are the same people that believe that everyone should speak English and automatically assume that everyone on Earth does. I would be rude to those people as well, and I speak it. The French were exactly the opposite of rude. They were extremely nice, and would go out of their way to help us with any problem we were having. For example, Kenzie and I were in a shop and were asking if they had a larger bag in the same style in a different color. Although they didn’t have the bag, the woman called her other stores to see if they had it and pointed us in the right direction. Another example is that I was trying to find a certain product, and though they didn’t speak English and my French wasn’t too great, they worked as hard as they could to figure out what I was asking, and we ended up communicating with a pen and paper. Finally, Madame complained that the internet didn’t work in her room at the hotel in Marseille, and when we returned from our activities that day, they had installed another router closer to her room so that she could have internet. There are many other examples I could give, but I think you get my point.
- I have heard from several people that the French don’t want Americans to attempt to speak French because we butcher the language. This is also extremely untrue. The French, like anyone else, appreciate the attempt at speaking their language, even if it is only to ask if they speak English to make communication a little easier. I think anyone who goes into another country should learn how to ask “Do you speak English” in their language, because I know that I would be much more willing to help if someone made the attempt here.
- If you want to study any French history, or go over there knowing something about their past, study Francis I. He is the Henry VIII of France. Superstar.
Besides what I have learned on the trip, I also learned something about myself. I always have a weird pattern in my photos on my trips. In the Caribbean, it was feet, in Europe last year, it was windows, and this year, it was beds. It is a little strange, but I found myself taking pictures of all the different royal beds, especially in the chateaus. So, I thought I would share you my new collection of royal beds. Some are specific to certain nobles, and some were the equivalent to a “guest” bedroom. I have a feeling many of you are just as interested in the bedrooms of the royals as I am 🙂