Ahh, the Paris love-hate relationship, well, at least I’ve managed to keep this one going for almost four years now. We argue, and sometimes I think about leaving, but I’ve worked at it for so long now and it’s made the good times SO good, and the bad times get easier. These are the usual conversations I have with myself whilst crossing the road at Rue De Rivoli to head into the Marais.
“Bonjour! Oui, can I get a large coffee to go and a slice of how the hell one dates in this city?”……”Oh, sold out of that one? Just the life threatening amount of caffeine then please.” Sorry I forgot to introduce myself, I’m Charles, a guy who’s seeing thirty approaching quicker than the TGV (French high speed train) from Paris to Marseille. I ditched my ex boyfriend, London, four years ago to come and have a love affair with Paris, literally descending the Eurostar in, yep you guessed it a stripy t-shirt, not into clichés much at all!
To be honest, the love affairs have been few and far between, well usually ending in a disastrous weekends away, arguing about why we can’t find amazing French food in The Netherlands… I rest my case… However, there have been many odd encounters with stories one could never make up when it came to finding that perfect Parisian partner.
A series of serial dating started and instead of turning up expecting to sign a marriage certificate, I began to think about what the next odd trait these men would have, I was always surprised and it actually started to become a hobby. Friends have always been telling me that I should start writing about it, so finally with the time and sufficient boredom levels that came with the winter of 2015 in Paris, I thought I would start!
*Meow*, Oh, this is Willow, I would like to blame any typos on her in advance as she often monkey bars her way from the clothes horse onto the top of the computer. Willow is my ten month old cat. She’s grey with yellow eyes, and her personality is pretty grey too. She seems to love me, apart from when I touch her when she’s laying in her favourite place, on the shelf above the heater… Then things get violent. But with everyone else that comes to visit, she never seems overjoyed in the slightest. Yes, Willow has acquired the exciting life that every cat dreams of… Listening to some gay guy droning on about yet another bad date whilst struggling to untie his laces after yet another gallon of wine. How she hasn’t hung herself from the shower rod by now, I do not know.
Despite obvious cultural differences that made things more difficult, yes my French is still not very good, but I try… Sometimes, I’m quite old fashioned as well! My apartment is eighteen square metres, full of twee British trinkets that your Nan used to collect. Things like books I’ve never read, and have no intention on reading, I just think they look good. A teddy mouse called Sharon who takes throne on a twee armchair… Without any arms, and a cushion my sister bought me with a bicycle on it.
My idea of romance was going for a quiet dinner in Saint Germain Des Prés whilst nodding and listening to the significant other about their day at the office, where really I’m calculating in my mind if I’ll be able to pay my half of the meal… “So I’ve just been fired…”, “mmmm hhhmm that’s great news, but no more booze tonight to celebrate *snorts* you’ve got work in the morning!” Ohhh dear.
Instead Mr Romantic, well, that’s what HE called himself, had me standing in a gay bar with a speaker rapidly abusing my eardrum, whilst he danced topless flexing his muscles, and bean pole me went for the iconic Scooby Doo knee drop dance move. You know! The only dance move they had in Scooby Doo because it would have been too much additional animation to add another in. But honestly, it works for every beat, that’s it, tried and tested by me… Fully clothed of course, have to keep what little dignity I have left.
As much as I love Paris now, the first year or two was certainly a challenge. But it’s very charming and there’s something that even stops you from venturing into the suburbs. Yes I can’t date a man that doesn’t has a Paris 75 post code.
It’s like another world, full of characters and everyday opens up a new chapter. After three and a half years of getting in to this steady and stable relationship, I thought it was time to get steady and stable with one of it’s residents.
So if you don’t mind, I have a lunch date to get ready for.
Until next time!