Tag Archives: cultural issues

Ms. Nice Girl

Anne. Yes, HER.

After the countless first dates (and the very countable and singular second date) of the past five months, I’m finally starting to realize that there is a fundamental problem with dating Frenchmen: the French language.  Simply put, the French language simply is not capable of expressing my strong — and decidedly Anglo — personality.  In French, I come across as — horror of horrors — a very nice person.

(In this context, I equate “very nice” with “hopelessly boring.”  Like Anne, from Arrested Development.)

Don’t get me wrong, I think that French is a beautiful language.  I’ve had a love affair with the language since a very young age.  The silky, elegant language that I learned in school, the language that I use at work in academia, is perfect for expressing inconsequential musings, philosophical diatribes, passionate poetry, and all-around fluffy bullshit.

However, when it comes to, for example, calling someone out on their fluffy bullshit, there simply aren’t words or constructions in French that could accurately express an Anglo’s feelings.  So instead of saying “bullshit,” I must settle for “conneries” — which is woefully inadequate.

Furthermore, when you say “conneries” aloud, you sound like a pansy.

Therefore, in the dating context, my Parisian dates receive a similarly watered-down version of my personality — through no fault of my own.  I blame the French language.

For example…

English:  I’m so off-my-face shit-housed right now.

French:  I’m very drunk.

English:  That bankteller today was a fucktarded sonofabitch, and I wanted to rip his face off and set it on fire.

French:  That bankteller today was annoying, and I wanted to kill him.

English:  Dude, what the hell is your problem?!

French:  Euh, what are you doing there?

English:  <insert any generic yo’-mama joke>

French:  ….

English:  I don’t date losers.

French:  <System error – There is no French word for “to date.”  Neither does the word “loser” exist in French.  And when I say “I don’t” without finishing the sentence, my date also thinks that I’m a little slow in the head and assumes that I will therefore stupid enough to make him my boyfriend.>

English:  I’d rather give birth to cactus-people quintuplets without any anesthetic than go out with you again.

French:  I’d prefer not to go out with you again.  “Bonne continuation.”

English:  You are so full of crap.

French:  Stop saying “conneries.”

English:  Son of a whore shitfuck fuckityfuckmotherfuckingfucker FUUUCK.

French:  Putain, merde.

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

Part of the problem is the fact that French isn’t my native language.  Of course, I recognize that.

But I wholeheartedly believe that even native speakers aren’t able to replace good ol’ American vulgarity with a French equivalent.  And I can tell you from personal experience that sarcasm never translates the same way either.  My dates spend a significant amount of time giving me blank looks.

On the Parisian dating scene, I'm like this car. The wrong shape, too brightly colored, and parked the wrong way.

In English, I find that I can sometimes be borderline offensive.  I like to think that it’s part of my unique charm.  However, in French, I can’t seem to offend anyone even if I tried.  If I could properly offend anyone, I wouldn’t have to deal with a Parisian guy calling me every week for over a year after I went on one date with him.  If I could adequately express my wrath, shock, dismay and general disillusionment to my Parisian dates, they would not be so deluded as to think that they have a chance with me.

What’s the French equivalent of “I’m just not that into you?”

As far as I know, there is none.

La personne suivante, s’il vous plaît.

(See how goddamn nice that sounded in French?!)

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

n.b. When the French translated the title of the film “I’m Just Not That Into You,” it became “Ce que pensent les hommes” (What Men Think).  Do you see what I have to deal with here?!


Filed under Misses