It is so funny to see how some social behaviors are exactly the same between France and the US, and others are completely different. Well, this was a big shock to me when I arrived in the US. I understood of course a man and a woman could be interested in each other in a romantic way, let me reassure you.
One of the very obvious difference is the dating game. But I was not aware that accepting to go out to dinner with a man alone gave the signal that I was possibly romantically interested in him.
Maybe this is why French guys have the reputations of being so romantic, and… We trained them well (with some exceptions of course…
pretty much every politician :-( Believe it or not, at the opposite of all the stereotypes, French people are much more about love than sex.
Sex is not taboo in France as it is in the US, and it is much more present in humor, art, tv and everyday life than in the US…
and so is nudity: children are often naked on the beach, women can go topless (although it’s less frequent now than when I was young)… I wrote an article about French Sex Vocabulary if you are curious – watch out, it is explicit and written for an adult audience.
Now, not everybody does that of course, some girls like to play, and sometimes lose themselves in the game, or hurt people. A Frenchwoman is expected to play her feminine side, and be “admired” for her beauty and wit among other qualities.
Frenchmen like to flirt as well, even if they know very well there is no hope of it leading anywhere.
You will know when a French girl is flirting with you: she’ll smile to excess, move her hair a lot, smile at you, blush, laugh hard and loud at your jokes, find occasions to touch your shoulder (or even your knee… and it’s not unlikely that she’ll make the first move. Again, the game is often more important than the catch, even to men. The woman has all the power when it comes to dating. It’s then up to the guy if the company of “la belle” is enough for him, or if the game has lasted long enough – in which case no-one is forcing him to continue to invite her.
She decides whether she wants the guy or not, and may need more than one dinner to make up her mind… In any case, there is no obligation nor expectation whatsoever for the woman to do whatever after any number of “rendez-vous galants”.
I know that it took me years to get to the point where I didn’t need to sleep with every hot girl I knew.
My goal is to explain what type of men are most capable of creating healthy friendships with women — even if they find them attractive.
I guess it’s much more accepted in France for men and women to be friends.