Friday, August 20, 2004
You know, there are a lot of very beautiful women here in Toulouse. Girls in this city keep slim, and know how to look good.
One of these days I am going to take my digital camera around town and request snaps of the many beautiful bottoms on display, squeezed cheekily and temptingly as they are into low-cut jeans. Of course, the pictures will be tastefully taken and turned into a post to demonstrate to you all the truth of what I am saying - Toulouse is bottom heaven.
Unfortunately, it is also frustration hell.
I’ve been here nearly two years and in that time I have remained annoyingly single. Not only me, but also pretty much all my male friends are also single.
It’s not as if I am some sort of (totally) freaky male-orientated engineer geek type. I have a lot of very good friends who are girls. I am just stuck in that singleton rut that some of us get into.
I confess that I am quite shy when it comes to chatting to girls I meet randomly in bars and stuff. I am the warm-up slowly type, and not the flirty chat-up type. Contrived chat-up situations make me stiffen.
But whilst this might have something to do with my being single, I don’t think it is the whole story.
My friends and I often ponder on the causes of our status as “celibataires”. We have come to the conclusion that French girls, who naturally form the majority of the women in this city, are mostly only interested in French men.
Now, it always gets a bit dangerous when using such terms as “French girls” or “English boys” or “Japanese people”. These terms encompass a wide variety of different and unique human beings. Nevertheless, there is still a mainstream of people whose behaviour can be commented on in general terms.
So, making a generalisation about the mainstream of French people from the region around Toulouse, I feel confident in saying that they value their life and culture here highly. The culture includes what I perceive to be a fairly rigid framework of rules which must be followed during the activities in which they socially mingle.
These activities include evening dinners, or outings to the restaurants or cafés, or calm house parties where the music is so low you can hardly hear it over the hum of conversation.
And this I think this is the crux of the problem: the French engage in conversation in polite and rigidly defined social settings.
A significant function of this rigid socialising is to allow people to measure and advance their position in the social pecking order.
Importantly, to engage in the social network, you must be in a couple.
So, I may be wrong, but my conclusion is that in general, relationships amongst the French here in Toulouse are not entered into purely on the basis of love, liking or interest in another person. Having a relationship facilitates a person’s entry into French social life, and therefore has a functional purpose. You need a partner to be somebody in France.
Given this situation, there would be no point selecting a partner who was not well versed in the delicate rules and nuances of what to say and do at a French social meeting. Being with someone who committed various ‘faux-pas’ just wouldn’t do, so you wouldn’t get invited, and you would be a nobody.
And there we have it.
Being foreigners, we are high risk social material. I mean, invite us out and we might do anything. We might talk loudly, or mention McDonalds, or not know the name of the current foreign minister, or have a dissenting opinion about the ban on Muslim teachers wearing their veils in schools, or fill our wine glasses beyond the two-thirds mark.
What a nightmare! How could you bear all the shock and embarrassment?!?!
The other explanation I suppose, is that I am just pig ugly ;o)
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