vendredi 3 février 2012

The Myth of the French Lover

This essay first appeared in Polly Platt's last work:  Love a la Francaise, 2008, published by Schoenhofs Foreign Books

T here is a abundance of myth circulating in regards to the amorous talents of Frenchmen. “The French Lover” is seen as a redundancy, and many of my female compatriots will attest to the pants-dropping effect of English spoken with a strong French accent. I’ve been pondering this idée reçue lately, trying to put a finger on what exactly makes the Frenchman so sexy.

Seductive tool # 1: I think I’m handsome; so should you

To us American gals, the average Frenchman is just that: physically average. Observe the French actors who are continually cast in heart throb roles: Gérard Depardieu, Vincent Lindon, Daniel Auteuil. None of these men possess the physical attributes of say, a Brad Pitt or George Clooney, yet all three of them have bedded some of the most beautiful women in France, both on-screen and off. How did they do it? Sheer confidence. There is nothing more seductive than a man who thinks he is worthy of your attentions.

Even if he is 5’5.

The Frenchman’s self-image is a reflection of France itself. You’ve got a small country the size of the state of Texas here, yet it is one notch down from the United States in terms of international relations, with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Just as France revels in its self-importance (Former President Chirac once proclaimed France “a beacon for the human race”; I once knew a Frenchman who thought the same of his penis), your average French male projects a similar sense of self-worth.

Seductive tool #2: You are the most beautiful woman in the world.

Frenchmen do not hesitate to tell you how beautiful you are. It is not necessarily used as a pick-up line; it can be a mere observation proffered as fact. Once I was riding the métro, daydreaming and minding my own business. The train arrived at my destination; as I rose to exit the car, the very normal-looking, neither swarthy nor lascivious man across from me spoke up: “Mademoiselle,” he said, “Je voulais vous dire que vous êtes ravissante” (Miss, I wanted to tell you you are ravishing.) There was no subtext to his statement, he was merely sharing his observation. Whether it is true or not, I cannot confirm. But the unencumbered freedom with which the Frenchman shares his thoughts about how he perceives you is powerful stuff.

Seductive tool #3: The Actual Act

Frenchmen love to make love. They love to make love to their girlfriends, to their wives, to their mistresses; why, sometimes they love to make love to all three of them one right after the other! Flagrant desire is a source of pride and a renewable resource. They have such a good time between the sheets! It’s like an amusement park in there!

None of this research is going to get me into the Panthéon. My statistics may be skewed because I have not done much random sampling, my subjects are self-selecting, and I lack a control group. But it is my academic duty to continue on, in the name of Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité! Aux armes, citoyens!

2 commentaires:

  1. Long live research!!! You do it admirably!

    1. Ha. This was written awhile ago. I haven't done any deeper research since then :)