One of the reasons I was so upset about losing my only American friend in France is because she was the first American I’d met here who was…how do I put this?...um… like me?-- In the sense that neither of us were:
Tourists. I don’t think a lot of people realize just how many Americans visit Paris every year. Throw a pair of mouse ears on top of the Eiffel Tower and you’d think you were at Disney on a Saturday afternoon. American tourists are easily picked out by one of the following:
1. A fanny pack
2. A baseball cap
3. Socks with sandals
4.Oversized sweatshirts or fleece jacket
5. Sneakers (tennis shoes)
5. An ability to project their natural speaking voices loud enough to be heard within a 2 mile radius.
Married to filthy rich businessmen. When I first arrived in Paris, my daughter was only about four months old so naturally I was excited to find a group of American mothers in the Paris suburbs. After a couple meetings though, I realized I didn’t have much in common with these (very pleasant) ladies. Their husbands were wealthy businessmen who had been assigned to France for some work-related project. I visited their rented luxurious French suburban houses where most of the group members sat around complaining about …the French. Or living in France. Or their cleaning ladies. They had nannies even though they didn’t work and spent most of their time at the gym or at the spa, getting coffee with friends, or meeting with their therapist.
Green to the point of actually sprouting roots. The polar opposite of the rich American desperate housewife is what many refer to as the ‘Green’ mothers. Now, I’m all for recycling your garbage, keeping an eye on power and water usage, buying local produce and I’d even go so far as to start a compost pile in our yard. But the Green ladies I’m talking about are the kind of women who only wear recycled fabric clothes, don’t bathe more than necessary in an attempt to save our oceans, won’t go near a normal grocery store and married Frenchmen so they could live out their dreams of opening an organic breastmilk tapioca bar in the Parisian suburbs or something to that extent.
or High Culture Fanatics. As a writer ex-pat living in France, I suppose I could be as eccentric as I wanted and everyone would just say ‘Oh, well…she’s a writer in Paris. Aren’t they all a little eccentric?’ Not all. But many Americans who’ve chosen to come live in the bohemian city are a little eccentric to say the least. Dressed like they’ve just stepped off the Gautier platform, (think Mad-Hatter top hats, square glasses and 'foulards') They hang out in the literary cafés and have in-depth conversations about existentialist art or the feminist movement.
Needless to say, there is a reason I only had one American friend around here.
Have a great weekend everyone!