Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Lesson One

First Lesson: Every Moment is a Special Moment.
(part of a series, beginning with 'Lessons in French Courtship')

I come from the South. People smile, call each other “Sugar”, and wave from the front porch as cars pass on the street. We engage each other in conversations in the elevator and say hello when passing strangers on the sidewalk. This is no exaggeration.

I quickly learned that Southern hospitality has wondrous effects on the French population. Or at least, the male population. During my first week in Paris, five different Frenchmen followed me off the metro into the halls, allured by my Southern charm.

Each time, I’d noticed a man staring at me from across the car. So I did what I’d always done. I gave them a tight smile that was meant to say, “I can see you’re staring at me. Please stop.”

In France, however, this smile is mistaken for, “I am madly in love with you, Metro Man. Please come talk to me.” The men came up behind me on the quai as I made my way to the exit, getting close to my ear. What’s your name, chérie? Where are you going? Let’s walk a little bit of your path together. Just a little bit of your path. Your path of love. After all, we shared a special moment.

A special moment is defined by any moment in which a woman, accidentally or not, acknowledges the French stare. Whether it be a tight smile, an aggressive glare, or merely a remarkable discomfort as the woman runs out of other things to look at, the very recognition of a stare is special in itself.

As far as I can tell, special moments can only be avoided if sleeping, unconscious, or wearing some sort of protective helmet which covers the eyes. Not easily lulled to sleep on the train and too poor to purchase hats, my special moments in Paris have been plentiful, though very rarely shared with good-looking men in my age bracket.

Only the old and/or sleazy choose to strike up conversation. And without fail, they always cite the special moment as grounds for the debut of a metro love affair. But now I know what to tell them as I stand to move away: that I’m going to miss my transfer, and that, besides, every moment is a special moment.

(Reread the Intro)
(Move on to Lesson Two)
(Skip ahead to to Lesson Three)
(Skip ahead to Lesson Four)
(Skip ahead to Lesson Five)

5 Comments:

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Empty said...

Priceless. You should talk to a publisher.

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger Susan said...

You make them feel funny in the belt area, that's nothing to be ashamed of. Your have always struck me as unusually brazen, and I'm not surprised the French men are filled with gross desire. OK I feel gross. I'm going to go outside to the nice VIRGINIA day and walk down the nice VIRGINIA street and look at magnolias and people walking dogs and get smiled at innocently by all of them.

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger Susan said...

PS - I want your mom to read MY blog TOO! But warn her that sometimes I get out of control and curse a little.

 
At 2:33 PM, Blogger Josie said...

Oh Emily, you make me smile! Thanks for letting me know that your jewel of a blog existed. You are right about it not being an exaggeration. I can't wait to read your five easy installments.

 
At 7:51 AM, Blogger Katies time abroad said...

I love this lesson! and i completely agree! It made me want to say yes yes and yes!

 

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