Sunday, February 14, 2010

Paris: City of Love. Really?

Most of the time I am pretty happy about being single, but on Valentine's Day in Paris?  Arguably the most romantic city on Earth?  It's a little rough.

In fact, Paris has been a complete bust in the romance department thus far.  All those Pepé Le Peu clichés of the amorous Frenchman have been nowhere to be seen.  No leering, no suggestive eyebrow-raising,  not even a good old-fashioned ass-grab (admittedly I moved here in November and it would be pretty hard to locate my ass under my winter coat, but if you lack a work ethic in your ass-grabbing, then really, then what kind of lascivious stereotype are you?).  I am starting to get a complex about being invisible.  Or worse yet, that I am Quasimodo's uglier sister.  I check the mirror every so often to ensure that I still have all my teeth, all my hair, both my eyes and no sign of a hunchback  (so far, so good) but if I am in the vicinity of Notre Dame, I admit that I do scurry quickly past just in case someone from the church sees some kind of resemblance and tries to bring me in to ring the bells.  Because that would just be embarrassing.

But is it just me?  I think it might be, because people are getting a whole lot of loving all over Paris, judging by the plethora of condom machines which are ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE.   I mean, I can see why you would put a condom machine on the outside of a pharmacy - you're about to get busy, realize you have no condoms and the stores are closed?  No problem, you run down the road to the machine at the pharmacy and all's well.

But do you know where else you find condom machines in Paris?  At the exits from the Metro.  And I asked myself: is this really necessary?  Surely you just go to the one outside your local pharmacy, non?  Then I realized why - you need a machine at the Metro for when you are on the way to visit your illicit lover.  From my experience with the French throughout my life, they are either having an affair, thinking about having an affair, or ending an affair  - it's just how they roll.  I once had a conversation with a middle-aged French divorcée, who told me about how her husband's mistress used to call up crying because he wasn't with her (the mistress), he was off with his girlfriend. And then he divorced the wife to run off with another woman, who was neither the aforementioned mistress or the aforementioned girlfriend.  Ah, romance.  Alive and well, here in the city of love.

So, reflecting on this, I guess being single in Paris on Valentine's Day isn't all that bad - it's better than having a French boyfriend or husband, anyway.  Although I wouldn't mind a French fling...  Oh, Pepé?  Where are you?

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