Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Ms. Self-Help Junkie

What do the French all do in August?  They go on holiday.

This is perfect for me actually.  I can feel less guilty about taking a holiday from dating Frenchmen.  I can tell myself that there aren’t any in Paris for me to date.

I am obviously full of shit, of course.  The truth of it is, I’m just burnt out.  So many first dates, so many idiot Parisian pansies, I’m just fed up.

But the numbers don’t lie, people.  There must be something wrong here.  It’s obviously not me, since I am clearly a shitfuckton of awesome.  So it must be a cultural thing, right?  Therefore, my new project for the coming months is to get to the bottom of this.

For the time being, I will no longer be reporting from the dating trenches.  I am confining myself to a desk for now.  I will be hitting the books, conducting written research and reporting back to you all about my findings.  I need to formulate new, better-informed strategies before relaunching Operation Date A Frenchman.

I must answer the following question: how do Parisians date?

My theory is that they just don’t.

Therein lies the problem.

As an American, I cherish structure and ritual.  First date.  Second date.  Third date.  General courtship.  Pragmatism.  EFFICIENCY.

…None of which seem to have any presence in Parisian dating culture.

In other words, as an American dating in Paris, I am essentially up shit creek without a paddle.  So as any desperate determined single lady would do in America, I get my ass into a bookstore and scour the self-help section.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, I remember what the self-help section of Borders in the USA looks like.  It’s enormous.  It’s a shrine to the American work ethic and our desire to better ourselves, even if it fucking kills us.  It is a kind of testament to our obsession with pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.  It is, in a word, daunting.

However, here, I found myself staring at a small corner of the store next to the emergency exit.  And the light bulb was out.

And you know how there seem to be a plethora of books on dating and relationships in America?  Books on everything… first date etiquette, flirting, ‘The Game’, how to find your sugar-daddy, ‘The Rules’, etc.

Well, here I had to crane my neck to see the selection of a couple dozen titles on the top shelf.

That’s right, folks.


And this is where it truly gets interesting…

The dating books can be divided into only two categories:

  1. books about how to find your dream mate
  2. books about how to prevent the relationship/marriage from utterly falling to bits.

There are NO titles that advertise advice about dating etiquette, about flirting, about online dating, texting, sexting, or anything specific about the nuts and bolts of dating as we Americans perceive it.  I’m looking at titles like:

  • What Men Really Think: Know Them and Land Them
  • How to Find the Man of Your Dreams
  • Where to Look for the Man of Your Dreams
  • Your Husband, He’s Out There!
  • How To Find Love
  • What You Need to Do to Attract your Ideal Man
  • Women Are Crazy
  • Divorce: How to Avoid It
  • Easy Ways To Maintain Your Relationship

This is what these titles seem to be saying to me:

  1. Hey, you single women, there is something seriously wrong with you.  Get a man already.  We’re gonna tell you how not to be a pathetic, sad sop.
  2. Men, it’s not that hard to land a women; they’re all desperate to have a boyfriend ASAP.  But relationships are hard, so here’s how you put up with her.


I thought to myself, how am I going learn to date à la française??  These books tell me how to get that first date but then skip immediately to how to deal with the relationship you got yourself into after that first date.  What the hell do they do in between?

I’ve never felt more… American.

But I said to myself, “Suck it up, Man-shopper.  You have a blog project.  And you’re a researcher, dammit.  Put those skills to good use.  And you know what they say… When in Rome…”

So I chose the book that seemed to offer the most comprehensive information about the dating process.  It is entitled, “How to Find the Man of Your Dreams.”  (Shut up.)

I admit that I was a little ashamed of being seen with this book, so I tried to be surreptitious about slipping off the top shelf.  But as I am petite and was off balance on my tippytoes, this embarrassing little book fell off the shelf and landed on my face.

This was not an auspicious start to my cultural education.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I slid the book under my arm and scurried to the till.  I was greeted by a disgruntled-looking woman in her fifties.  She glanced at my neon pink book (yes, of course, it had to be neon pink), and she raised her eyebrows.

Disgruntled FNAC employee: “Oh, I have this book too!”

Man-shopper: “Really?  What did you think?  Will it help me find a man?”

Disgruntled FNAC employee: “You’re buying it for YOURSELF?”  She looked me up and down.  “You’re pretty.  Shouldn’t you already have a boyfriend?  Is there something wrong with you?”

Man-shopper: “Euhhh…”

Disgruntled FNAC employee: “Did you used to be fat?  Did you have a gastric bypass?  You look great!  Don’t worry, you’ll find a man now.”

Dear readers, this man-shopper has officially fallen down the Parisian rabbit hole.

God help me.


Filed under Misses

Mr. Almost There – Part 2

As some of you may recall, in my two-month anniversary post, my goal for March was to go on a second date.

And as of this week, I have finally broken my long string of first dates.  Mr. Almost There, the ONE decent date that I’ve had all year, asked me out for a second date!

And even though sparks didn’t exactly fly on our first date (he was a munchkin), I said yes so that I could give him a second chance to charm my pants off — a second chance to make me overcome my inability to be attracted to a munchkin man.

So this past Thursday night, and even though I had pulled out my flattest pair of shoes I was feeling optimistic…

The same jacket, I swear!

…until I saw him.

Mr. Almost There looked like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.  (This is the second time that my date has resembled a character from Alice in Wonderland — see Mr. Cheshire Cat.  Perhaps my dating life is just one endless LSD trip…)

He was wearing that very jacket AND carrying an enormous umbrella with a wooden hooked handle.  What made it worse was the fact that the length of his umbrella was almost 3/4 of his height!

I had to take deep breaths to avoid laughing hysterically.  I almost gave myself the hiccups.

His legs were this short too...

It didn’t help that when he started walking, he looked like the Disney version of the White Rabbit —>

Absurdly funny, but definitely not sexy.

Especially considering that I was still taller than him in my flat shoes (again, I’m 5’3″, people).

But then it got worse.

On this second date, Mr. Almost There came across as a bit of a condescending prick.  He asked me where I went to university, and after I told him, he started acting like a patronizing ass-face.

He probably felt insecure about whether he measured up intellectually.  Either that or he thought that I’d be turned on by a man who antagonized me about everything from not putting accents in emails sent from my iPod (the thing doesn’t even do accents!) to being unable conjugate “promouvoir” in the subjunctive (dude, I know French people who can’t conjugate it in the present tense).

What an asstard.

Munchkinosis + asstardedness = zero chance of hanky-panky.

Basic mathematics.

His insecurities about our intellectual equality were well-founded after all… because he definitely didn’t understand that equation.

Going in for the kill?

Mr. Almost There somehow thought that our date was coming along swimmingly.  At the end of the night, as we were saying our goodbyes, he leaned in for the kill…

It’s times like this that I LOVE living in France — a country where la bise, the kiss planted on each cheek, is a perfectly polite greeting and parting salutation.

Even Obama knows la bise.

… so I deftly executed what I call the Mouth-to-Cheek Slide, my best post-date-kiss evasion tactic.  I round off the move with a full la bise and step back to admire my handiwork.

The look on his face was priceless.

Befuddlement, sheepishness, and irritation.

The best thing about all this: the condescending turd can never accuse me of being impolite!




Filed under Misters