Samantha Brick on French dating
Journalist Samantha Brick tells Connexion how French and British men differ in their approach to dating
JOURNALIST Samantha Brick has caused worldwide debate with her brag of being too beautiful for men to resist - and too attractive for women to like.
Samantha, 41, who is married to a Frenchman and lives in the Lot regularly writes for The Connexion. She recently claimed that 10 out of 10 men at a dinner party would be attracted to her.
Here she tells Connexion how French and British men differ in their approach to dating - and how Frenchmen are the undeniable champions of charm.
Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez are engaged because of it. Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin indulged in it for 11 years. Now Katy Perry and the French male model Baptiste Giabiconi are dabbling in it. What have they all got in common? They have experienced the headiness, the confusion, and the utter wonderfulness that comes when us expats dip our toes into the French dating pool.
Without a doubt, there is an undeniable allure in falling in love with someone French. It is something Hollywood cottoned onto long ago; Green Card, Le Divorce and French Kissing are just some of the many films that charmingly highlight the cultural confusion that arises when we fall in love with someone who happens to be of Gallic descent. Even Ridley Scott, normally known for boys' blockbusters such as Gladiator, Alien and Robin Hood, could not resist the Gallic charm of Peter Mayle’s romantic novel A Good Year. His movie saw Marion Cotillard and Russell Crowe live happily ever after - with a vineyard thrown in for good measure.
I have to make an admission here: I too have dated a French man. In fact, reader; I married him. But that is not to say it was plain sailing for us. There were many frustrations, misunderstandings and crossed wires along the way.
If you arrived in France single and looking for love, then take heart - a French romance will leave an indelible mark on your life. For no one does wooing like the French do. Perhaps you’re nervous and new to the single life in France. Or maybe your marriage simply has not survived the move across the Channel. However you find yourself back in the dating game, be warned; dating in France is very, very different.
Throw out all of the dating books written by British etiquette experts. None of the traditional British courtship rules apply to dating in France. I met my now husband Pascal while on holiday in the spring of 2007. During the heady early days of our courtship, I was still based in the UK. We would email, text and call each other regularly to preserve the passion of our holiday romance. Yet I once made the mistake of leaving it for 24 hours before replying to a text. 'Let him wait, play the game,' my mother urged with a wink. However she is no expert on the French and l'amour. The French do not play it cool. 'I don't 'ear from you!' came the earnest, rather shouty, telephone message, when he hadn't had a reply after 24 hours, 'is zat it? Is it finished?' If you're dating a French person - you do so whole-heartedly. They expect nothing less. Commit yourself 100%.
There is good news and bad news on the common perception of the attractiveness of British women. So first up, the good news. They view us British women as Goddesses and treat treat all women as potential lovers. A romance with a Frenchman is the perfect ego boost or antidote for a broken heart. Remember those dates with indifference British blokes, who would prefer going down the pub with their mates to a romantic dinner for two? French men adore female company. They love everything from our accent to our bodily imperfections. Pascal would flatter me daily with compliments and declarations of love. At first i would cringe sceptically, thinking what's he after. Gradually I realised there was no hidden agenda, he was simply expressing his love.
The bad news is that there are countless documentaries on French TV documenting 'le binge-drinking,' highlighting the problems in British consumption of alcohol. As a result the French already believe most expat women are borderline alcoholics. It isn't smart to confirm these suspicions on a first date. If you do - be warned. They love nothing more than to point out to you how much you have drunk, for they love nothing more than taking the moral higher ground. French women tend to nurse one small glass of wine over the course of an evening; get ready to do the same. After being married to my husband for the last four years; perhaps unsurprisingly, I no longer drink alcohol.
If you are normally laid back about dating, prepare to change your ways. There is a reason that a 'crime of passion' was recognised as a legitimate form of defence in France's courts. The French thrive on jealously, passionate arguments, bold attestations of love. Even if that's not your style - you'd better get used to it. Sulking has zero impact and neither does 'the silent treatment' - if you have a point to make about a problem in your relationship then make it as loudly and as passionately as you can. Your French lover will worship you even more for it.
You will know when a French man is interested in you. His body language, his shameless appraisal of your womanly form – all that before he has spoken a word! French men will make an effort with their English – but will be seriously impressed if you speak French.
Be warned; the French don't do platonic friendships. This is a controversial point that has tripped up many expats and ended many friendships. If a French man or woman is friends with the opposite sex - then chances are there will be romantic inclination on someone's part. The 'When Harry met Sally' theory 'can women and men just be friends?' does not exist in France. If you accept an invitation to dine with someone - you will be signalling that a romantic relationship is on the cards.
Remember the French work to live, they don't live to work. To be a workaholic is not attractive in France, 'I'm working late,' is not an acceptable excuse to cancel a date. You will also be expected to have hobbies, interests, and be able to converse about what's happening in France too.
If you want to end things - explain very clearly that you’re terminating the relationship. The French don't take the 'cold shoulder' or non-return of phone calls as a brush off. Explain and then move on. Or if like me, you see yourself marrying into a French family then bonne chance – you'll need it.