i, honey. We need to talk.
So I’ve decided to start acting more French, and you’re going to be seeing some changes in my behavior. Exactly what this will entail is difficult to determine, particularly because I have never been to France. But it’s my decision, and I’m sticking with it. Anyway, I’ve got some general ideas on how to do so. Hence the beret.
Why have I chosen to do this, you ask? In celebration of my heritage. I’ve recently been made aware that my last name is probably French in origin. This is not certain, but fairly likely—maybe 60 percent. It’s either French or German. Anyway, I don’t really want to act more German, nor would I know how to do so even if I did. So French it is. Want some baguette?
Please don’t object to this. And don’t fight it. If you want to fight about it, I’m going to have to run away. It is widely acknowledged that French people don’t fight. We are lovers, not fighters. Perhaps I could get someone to do the quarreling for me, if you’re insistent on arguing. Anyway, I’d rather not fight about it, as it’s not in my nature. Let’s just have some wine and a long skinny cigarette.
What do you mean it’s too early for wine? Not in France, it isn’t. French people are drunk 24/7. I’m really going for full-on Frenchness here. So when I drunkenly turn my superior nose up at everything you say, please don’t be offended. It might help your situation some if you wore this Canadian flag patch on your backpack. French people dislike Canadians to a lesser degree than they do Americans. Wear this and hopefully I won’t spit on you. Thanks.
So I was thinking we could head over to the Louvre this afternoon, and then maybe go to the café for some cuisine—perhaps crêpes à la carte. Sound good? How was my pronunciation, by the way?
Are you ready to go? We’ll need to allow ourselves plenty of time for the meal. French people take exceedingly long meals—often nine or ten hours in length—because they savor every nuance and flavor of what they are eating. It is also not uncommon for two French diners to go through 27 bottles of Bordeaux at a single meal, so pace yourself, O.K.?
Sacre bleu! I suddenly find myself conflicted, because as a French person, I am also culturally obligated to enjoy and be amazingly skilled at cooking. I stand for hours on end over an old Wedgewood stove in my Parisian flat, pouring spices and wine into large pans and cauldrons, often sniffing deeply and approvingly as I do so. Usually I am making stews or escargot. Do you want me to cook for you? I guarantee you’ll sleep with me after. French people are that good when it comes to food.
At some point here, I have to stop by the dry cleaner to pick up my tight-fitting, horizontally striped shirt, so there’s that to squeeze in to our day as well. Honestly, though, time really doesn’t matter all that much to me. We can go whenever. I’m pretty nonchalant about punctuality, which it is my understanding non-French people often mistake for ennui.
In case you were wondering, I’m not going into work today. You Americans work too much. It’s ridiculous, your capitalist society. All you think about is money. Maybe you should try cutting your work week down to just two days and relaxing a little. That would leave you more time for the finer things in life, like long meals, copious amounts of wine, and long, skinny cigarettes.
That Jerry Lewis! Oh, my God, what a wonderful man! Remind me to do some research on that guy. Can’t exactly seal the old “I’m French” deal without a deep appreciation for Jerry Lewis, can I? Is he still alive? What was he, a tennis player?
Well, O.K. I’m tired now. I’m going to take a nap. Pretty much all of my days now are going to be devoted to two things: eating and sleeping. Of course there will be some drinking and smoking in there too—usually in conjunction with the eating. But you need to understand that naps are a huge part of my culture. Please be quiet while I’m napping, O.K.?
Object all you want, but it’s who I am. This is what life is going to be like from now on, dear. If you don’t like it, you can go back to Canada.