The French like beverages.
They like having lots of different types of beverages during a single meal.
In my experience, a typical French meal will start with an apéritif, which is composed of two parts: little snacks (chips or nuts), and a cocktail. During the rest of the meal, there is a glass of water, as well as a glass of white wine during l’entrée (hors d’oeuvres) and a glass of red wine during the main dish. Then with desert comes champagne, which is swiftly followed by un café (coffee).
It’s a lot of beverages. Especially considering during dinners at my house, my brother and I drank only one drink, milk.
This love of beverages isn’t restricted to les repas (meals), but it would seem that enjoying six beverages over the course of a meal is the result of the French love affair with liquids.
They like meeting up at cafés to boire une verre (have a drink). They like offering drinks to their invitées (guests), and they love accepting drinks from their hosts.
Now, I know that in America we too offer our guests something to drink, but we’re not as aggressive about the whole ordeal as our French counterparts seem to be.
Sometimes when I go over to a friend’s house to hang out, I am not thirsty. Sometimes I just don’t want a beverage of any kind. I can still have a good night without something to sip on.
This fact does not seem to register with my French counterparts. If I refuse their offer for a beverage, it seems to make them uneasy. They will without a doubt ask me again a little while later if I’m sure I don’t want anything to drink. They have all sorts of beverages readily available to suit any kind of beverage related craving I might have.
In the beginning, I would accept people’s offers just to make the situation less awkward, but I’ve had enough of drinking unwanted beverages just to make the French comfortable.
I was at a friend’s house the other night, and they offered me something to drink no less than 4 times! They even brought me out an empty glass, just in case I changed my mind.
I realize that they are being polite in their culture, and I appreciate their attention to my level of hydration, but can the French really be this thirsty? Or do they avoid drinking until they are in company? Or do they have bladders of steal and never have to pee? Or do they just like going to the bathroom a lot more than I do?
Whatever the reason, one thing is clear, you will never die of thirst over here as long as you have friends willing to invite you over.