While growing up, I always had the idea that French women were mysteriously appealing and had an innate sensuality. Coming here and meeting my fair share, I can see why. They are, for the most part, utterly beautiful. They know fashion and also know how to accentuate their best features. And it never hurts that, to our untrained ears, the melodic, flowing French accent can make any request sound suggestive.
Once arriving in Paris, I found out that the French have their own ideas about English-speaking women. Interestingly, it appears to be difficult for French men to distinguish the British English accent from that of an American so, in this case, we are all lumped together into a loud, oblivious and aggressive estrogen-filled swarm. In contrast to my Puritan upbringing, the idea that we are seen as bold, crass, sex-crazed, out-to-have-a-summer-fling sluts was a bit of a shock. Apparently the ‘my body, my choice’ slogan underwent a completely different interpretation on this side of the pond.
However, this evening, as I was sitting and enjoying an cool apéritif, putting an end to a frantic, seemingly endless week, my friend C and I noticed these girls across the street.
First, I could hear the loud, nasal English from my table. They were barely walking two feet apart, but the entire block could hear their conversation (and it was clear that they were on the prowl). Second, I would bet money that they were no older than 16… 18 on the outside, as I am getting older and I have a harder time discerning true age. Third (and most importantly), what ARE they wearing? I know it has been swelteringly hot today and if you are going to wear spandex like a second skin, less is better. However, when I get dressed to go out, I always look in the mirror with the main criteria that my dress completely covers my arse (even if I take big strides, as if I was stepping off of a curb). After multiple glimpses of the gaggle of glittery girls (they walked by us again and again, pacing the street and waiting for the Friday action to start), I was convinced that at least the checkers girl does not follow my ‘mirror check protocol’.
After dinner we saw them again, this time canoodling with new boys (one each) outside of the metro station. Each guy seemed to be trying their best to compliment them in broken English, while the girls endlessly took photos. The boys seemed pretty sure of themselves, at least if their hand position tells me anything.
Never again will I question the source of English girl cliché. The continuous downward tugging of the checked skirt, the completely out-of-place red, lacy bra strap hanging out of polka-dot’s dress and the speed at which these girls found tonight’s companions showed me a stereotype in action. For once I enjoyed feeling like I was too old to understand…