Ms. American Whore

France has always had a reputation for being somewhat more overt in the kind of sexuality that it allows to be portrayed in its advertising, media and entertainment.  One would think that this would lead to a more desensitized sex culture — a sexually open culture that is based on instant gratification.

I thought that too when I first arrived here in Paris years ago.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Well, actually, I suppose I could have been wronger, but that means that I’d have thought that Notre Dame Cathedral was made of pineapple.

Wouldn’t that be delightful?

Anyway, when it comes to sex, in general, I’ve found that people here are so repressed that the tension in the air is palpable.  Walk up to any parisian man, and you’ll find that he is strung so tightly that any woman with a pulse could pluck his strings with just a look.

Sure, he’ll walk by a perfume advertisement featuring a naked woman the size of a bus, and he’ll be unfazed.  But show him a bit of leg on a real, breathing woman, and he’ll likely walk into a lamppost or into oncoming traffic as his eyes follow her down the street.  (I’ve definitely seen this happen.)

Here’s my theory…  I think that this media-diffused sexual imagery has been embraced by women in some countries; they’ve emulated what they see in the media, so you see women wearing suggestive clothing fashions and being more open with the way the speak and express their views about sex and relationships.

But here, I think that women have gone the opposite direction.  They try to disassociate themselves with these highly sexualized women that they see in advertisements and in films.  Women here go out of their way to associate appropriate comportment with LESS openness, LESS skin, LESS provocativeness.  If there were to be a motto, it’d be “WITHHOLD, WITHHOLD, AND WITHHOLD”.  Obviously, slut-shaming is off the charts here.

French fashion is the antithesis of daring and individualist.  Cover up.  Hide your curves.  Conceal your cleavage.  Your bare legs do not see the light of day.  Do not smile at a man.  Do not speak about sex or anything provocative.  Because, above all, YOU MUST NOT BE PERCEIVED AS A WHORE.

All this withholding and repression on the frenchwoman’s part means that frenchmen follow their lead.  A woman wearing a suggestive outfit must be “the kind of woman” who will give it up at the least provocation and is not deserving of your respect.  A woman dressed in a black potato sack, she’s a proper lady — a quality lady — that you court properly and take home to mum.

And while I don’t think that I dress particularly provocatively, I like to feel pretty and to wear clothes that flatter my figure — whether it’s a simple black dress or a bright red blouse.  In my book, it’s a matter of self-respect.  Yet I suspect that this is why I get harassed in the street but why I’m otherwise ignored by the general date-able populace.  And I suspect that this is why frenchwomen often treat me with a certain amount of disdain or otherwise just categorically dismiss me.  Both men and women here seem to be working with the same paradigms.

The men seem to get their instant gratification not from their own wives and girlfriends, who are withholding and therefore sacred, but instead from other, “easy” women, easier targets — the ones that look like what they see in the media… the ones whose legs they ogle in the cafes, the ones whose hips that they see swaying in the streets, and the ones in plunging necklines that they pick up in bars.

I’ve been told that American women dress like whores.  American women are easy.  American women aren’t classy; they are crass because they say whatever they damn well please, when they damn well please.

Compared to the alternative, I think that I’d rather be a crass American whore than what passes for the feminine ideal here.

I like to smile and laugh and wear a skirt that makes my butt look great.

So sue me.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m an egg cooked over-easy, thank you.  I’m still a classy lady who deserves some respect and decency, which is not something that I’m accustomed to getting on a daily basis.

The kind of imagery that may result in an over-sexed culture that promotes instant gratification… it can also have the opposite effect on cultural norms.  There are two sides to that coin, and here in France, I’m looking at one side of it.

It makes me miss what’s on the other side.

I wonder if the Washington Monument is made of pineapple.

* Today’s topic was brought to you by the Insomnia Club!  See what the other cook cats have to say about sexual tension in the age of instant gratification and sexual imagery bombardment…

AV Flox

The Book of Love Was Written By A Sadist

Confronting Love

Feisty Woman

F*cking in Brooklyn

How Very Lucky To Be A Girl

Jess Downey — Not What I Ordered

KB in NYC

Single Much

Simone Grant

Thank You For Your Sex

Met Another Frog

Miss Taylor Cast

My Pixie Blog

Totally Tyler

The Urban Dater

Women Are From Mars

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Misses

12 responses to “Ms. American Whore

  1. Random – I’ve always thought that Sacre Coeur looked like under-cooked meringue.

  2. Beautifully written. I agree with you.

  3. 30 years ago Spanish people had to cross the border to France to watch dirty movies… They were the open minded people back then! What happened to that?

    I agree with you when you say you prefer to look proper nice, and also, looking at their reactions you can spot the close minded people who don’t deserve your attention.

  4. Pingback: The Life and Times of Totally Tyler » GROUP SEX (THE TOTALLY TYLER REMIX)

  5. Well done! I really enjoyed reading your post. You have put in gentle words (potato sacks) what I have been madly shouting about for the last twenty years!

    Also, being myself quite an addicted ogler, I have to admit that you are quite a good observer. And the hypocrisy of the average Parisian ogler is mazing: they often don’t tolerate that their wife / girlfriend is ogled by others. Hopefully, there are still a few good items left in the wild, believe me.

    Keep shopping, you’re in the right mall!

    • I am so glad that you agree with me about the potato sacks! I’m fed up with the worldwide obsession with the romanticized idea that parisian women’s fashion is so chic and sexy.

      And it’s true that the Parisian ogler is mired in hypocrisy! I didn’t think of that until you just pointed it out, and I must agree with you.

      However, I’m still not sure if I’m in the right mall.

  6. I’m debating which I love more: your writing or the illustrations.

    Ok. It’s your writing, but the illustrations are delightful.

    oxo
    JFB

  7. Mille

    This screams of insecurity. Living in Paris, French women are your main competitors – especially since the attractive French guys tend to marry French women. You can pretend you’re unaffected, but the best thing to do is take note.

    We both know French women don’t dress in potato sacks. Sure cleavage is not big here, it is considered vulgar. So is it in most countries, but if that is all the woman has to offer, many men will take it. French women are discreet, sexiness is meant to be subtle. The French do have a lot of sex, a lot of casual sex and French men are actually very flirtatious.

    I am Scandinavian and have a lot of American friends. They have certain good sides to them – they are open, friendly and welcoming. But they tend to be a tad loud and share their opinion even when uncalled for. Sophistication is not exactly what they are known for. I’m not talking about “white trash”, I’m talking about Americans from all over the US. Sophistication, elegance and culture arrive from Europe, which is why many Americans come here – like yourself.

    You are indicating that French women are weak and not allowed to share their opinion simply because they do not dress revealing. The opposite is true. Some women are capable of having their say without being loud or appearing annoying, some women even get attention without flashing skin. If you NEED to show skin in order to get attention (or worse: to feel like a woman), it is completely logical that some people will not take you seriously.

  8. hey man shopping, thanks for addressing this issue with such honesty and clarity.

    aside from the few ethnic fetishists, all the decent french men want to marry a (potato sack-wearing, reserved, distant, sacred) french woman. you’d have to conform to the french woman way of life 100% with your entire heart and soul if you want to even stand a chance.

    for the above reason alone, i decided not to relocate to france after all. i just can’t do it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s