I was determined to remedy this but then I discovered The Everyday Life of a Young American Girl in France.
And I would have been OK, really, if only I hadn’t stumbled over a post called Les Toilettes (I’ll pay a visit there shortly.)
And that, I’m afraid, was me done for!
So, whether you like it or not, here’s another blog by a girlie in France.
The Everyday Life of a Young American Girl in France is Laura’s blog.
Laura says… “I am a 23 year old American girl currently living in Lille, France. I spend a lot of my time being baffled by the French (including, but not limited to, their culture, food, and language), despite having a handy dandy interpreter in the form of my very own French boyfriend (otherwise known as FBF). I have decided to share not only the moments where I feel a part of this foreign land, but also the moments where I simply don’t get it. C’est ma vie quotidienne (It’s my everyday life)!”
Now, I know that you’re dying to find about all about the latrines so, let’s start with the toilets and underarm hair bits….
The toilets and underarm hair bits….
Les Toilettes is a detailed essay of the state of French sanitation systems and will surely be the cornerstone of many a future socio-anthropological thesis!
We learn that the French have… “Bladders of steel” and that… “If you have to pee when you are not at your home, you are in for a challenge. There are no public bathrooms. Some major monuments do have restrooms open to the public, but you have to pay to use them. The American in me hates paying to pee.”
And worst of all… “Now the French do have heating, but for some reason they do not heat their toilets! It is always FREEZING in the bathroom.”
Obviously, Laura is seeing things from a female perspective.
I, like all other men in France, just pee wherever I fancy – in plain view of anyone who might be passing by!
From that post I rushed onto La Prison de Loos hoping to find out about toilets they lock you into (for peeing in the street – surely not; half the population of France would be in there! The male half, anyway!)
Unfortunately it turns out that the post is just about a prison (nothing to do with toilets at all) but the prison did used to be a monastery which shocks Laura a bit.
She says… “Even if you commit a crime and have to go to jail, you get to live in a beautiful historical building. Even when you are removed from society for doing a terrible (or not so terrible) deed, you continue to be a part of it. You get to live in an old monastery.”
C’est la vie!
At La Piscine – Splish Splash! however, whilst no one is peeing (in the street or elsewhere) or getting locked up, Laura undertakes another detailed sociological study; this time into the matted and knotted question of underarm hair!
And, quelle horreur, not only does she discover that French girls do shave under their arms, but that her French boyfriend does as well!
Well, that’s another stereotype flushed down the pan!
The slow dancing and other romantic type stuff bits….
In Les Slows Laura confesses that she is a hopeless romantic.
Unfotunately, French boys aren’t taught to dance in the same way as American ones are.
Which is why Laura’s French Boy Friend says… “oh je suis français et je deteste le dancing.”
A dancer he might not be but he does seem to like wearing wigs – as we can see from Perruques.
I’m not altogether too sure if Laura is trying to kiss him in this photo….
Or if she’s doing another of her sociological surveys; this time into hairy ears?
Yes, me too!
Happily, Laura explains everything in her treatise on Dating Customs.
But you do have to watch out because, in France if a girl kisses a boy, she’s his for life!
The beer bits…..
Somewhere along the line (and I’m sure it is a day of enlightenment in her memory), Laura discovers Bière!
Not the ice cold, watered down alcohol free stuff they sell in the States.
No, proper beer that’ll put hairs under your armpits!
Belgium beer, in other words!
She must have enjoyed it (even though she might pretend that she didn’t – out of misguided patriotism, perhaps?) because before we know it, she’d even crossing the road to grab herself another one!
Actually, if you read Traverser la Rue it’s the blonde waitress who crosses the road to get the beer.
Beer is taken seriously in Europe, you know!
I do feel that Laura is starting to be seriously taken with beer because when she and French Boyfriend go to for a visit to look around In Bruges, she has this to say… “Not only were we in a beautiful city, but we were in Belgium! This quickly translated into the fact that delicious, cheap Belgian beer needed to be drunk stat! We found a bar with practically every single Belgian beer immaginable, called ‘T Brugs Beertje.”
And then, before you know it, she’s getting her laughing gear round a pint of Barbar and learning how to say “On yer face” in Flemish!
Alas, I predict a sticky end for the young lady if she continues this way?
And continue, she does….
Moving on (as described in Mon Chien à Brugges) from an 8% beer to a 10% one!
My goodness – I do hope her poor mother and father don’t read her blog!
Doesn’t the girl know that that would classify as a strong wine in Germany?
And isn’t it strange how, when one has had one too many strong Belgium beers, one is always overcome by an irrational urge to accost complete strangers and ask to take a photo of their dog?
Happens to me every time!
And finally, the food bits….
Now if like me, you’ve been getting hungry you’ll be glad to hear that Laura seems to like La Gastronomie Française.
And why wouldn’t she?
Apart from only being allowed to eat Fromage at certain hours?
Or being warned that… “You’re going to get fat!” at a Le Barbec!
I should mention that Franco-American relations are seriously strained when Laura admits not knowing how to bake Cookies!
After all, aren’t all American girls born knowing how to do that?
Or do the French just watch a little too much Little House on the Prairie?
But then again, I do have to ask…. What was the name of the girl who wrote the book that the television series was based upon?
So, summing up….
Of course, there’s far more to The Everyday Life of a Young American Girl in France than toilets, underarm hair, beer and strange dating customs!
But you’ll have to find all that out for yourself!
And the best way to do that is to visit The Everyday Life of a Young American Girl in France.
I’d do it quick before the rabble turn up!
And me? Well, I’m going to see what Laura has to day about Learning British
I hear that Laura is trying to educate her students all about footballing players and other soccer stuff!
Good girl – confuse them enough and they’ll be as crap at the next world cup as they were at the last one!
Oops, on second thoughts, I don’t think Engerland played any better, now did they?
All the best