March 11, 2010

Dating Customs

I am now another American girl dating a French boy. I am currently living out the fantasy of many an American girl who comes to this country.

This probably has to do with watching Beauty and the Beast when we were little. Dating a French guy, however, is not all enchanted castles and magic spells. Dating someone from another culture is weird a lot of the time.

I met my own personal prince charming at the New Year's Eve party I went to. We spent most of the night talking to each other, and before the party was over he had asked for my number.

He invited me to go to another party with him and his friends, which I gladly accepted. I wasn't sure at this point if he was actually interested in me, or just wanted to be friends with the American girl.

Once at the party, he pretty much ignored me (I later learned this was his strategy). While being ignored, I talked to the other French people at the party, and I asked a privileged few if they knew anything about the cute French boy who invited me to their party.

Because in America, when you're interested in someone you hang out with them, kiss them, and see where it goes before having the conversation about whether or not you want to be "exclusive," I decide to take matters into my own hands. I gave Monsieur France a kiss just as the night ended.

He called me shortly there after and invited me to see Avatar. I thought things were going on track, and was waiting to see how things went before having the exclusivity talk. He, on the other hand, was already exclusive.

I realized this when he used the word "girlfriend," referring to me, maybe a week later.

My immidate reaction was, "when did we talk about whether or not I wanted to be your girlfriend?"

I was then informed that when you kiss someone in French culture, that means you're really seriously interested in them and want to be their petite amie/petit ami. The label is automatically applied, unless, of course, it's for a one night stand.

Since ours clearly wasn't a one night stand, I was automatically his girlfriend in his weird Frenchy brain.

Their way of doing things seems outdated to me, as if I'm suddenly in the 1800s and whoever I kiss I need to be serious with.

My American way of doing things seems childish to him. He thinks it's really weird to have different steps.

I believe our way of doing things allows you to get to know someone before you decide whether or not you want to "take things to the next level." They seem to skip over that in France.

FBF's reaction to that was, "typically in France, you already know the person pretty well before kissing them." Not that I believe him, of course, as he clearly didn't know me that well.

Regardless of which dating system you prefer, I definitely am his girlfriend, and am quite content to have the label.


  1. Looking forward to meeting your petit ami!

  2. I didn't realize this fact! Thanks for the cultural info! I never had this 'talk' with my Frenchman. We just kept seeing each other, and after many, many months we were okay with telling our friends/family (took him longer though).

  3. This is almost exactly the same thing that happened with me and my French boyfriend! I met him at a party one night and we ended up kissing, then we kept seeing each other and a month after that first night (while I thought we were just talking and hanging out and stuff) he mentions how we had been together for a month. I was a little caught off guard by that, but I went with it and we are still dating now a year and a half later!

  4. I think this makes so much more sense! Always have thought American dating ways were weird, even as a teenager. Too much indecisiveness and compartmentalization between physical attraction, interest, commitment, and devotion. Mixed signals, missed messages and concerns about being "played" abound in American dating, we just choose to live with the madness. Seems like to the French, you either want someone or you don't. Makes sense to me. : )


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