zeldathemes
Real insight on French culture from a French native point of view.
Mostly run by Em, 26, living in Paris.
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When I hear people talk about relationships in France, they make it seems like it's normal to have an affair. Is this true? Or is it considered very bad

Anonymous

The French are pragmatic people when it comes to love. They know that some people have desires they can’t tame, they know that some desires also shouldn’t be tamed, and that it’s pointless to fight something that will happen anyway sooner or later. And we don’t have a “couple culture” like the Americans might have. It is okay here for a woman to be sexually very active when not married, just like it’s okay for a couple to be independant, to have a separated life from their partner. That can go from having an affair, which is the extreme version of an “independant life”,  to simply not seeing their friends with their partner and run a parallel social life.


The thing is that we don’t talk about intimate subjects. You have to understand that we do have a strong “culture du secret”, where you don’t talk about what is nobody’s business. It’s nobody’s business if you have an affair. Maybe your partner knows and is fine with it, maybe they don’t know and it’s bad, but it’s your problem, period. Here we don’t talk about people’s affairs unless they do make the first step, we don’t talk about money, incomes, politics, or even religion. These are personal subjects that are extremely intimate and we generally respect this intimacy.
For example, if you compare, our president Hollande had an affair with an actress what forced him to break up with the First Lady (they were not married though). The only thing we truly talked about regarding what happened is the brand of the scooter he used to visit her and Hollande and his scooter became a running joke. That’s it (no bullshit). With the Lewinsky case, it seemed like the whole world shattered. When Americans are like “OMG OMG OMG”, we’re like, “Hey, shit happens. Wants more wine?”

Shake your booty like a femme gauloise.

Asked rebloggable

Asked rebloggable

How does the French feel about long distance relationships? Me and this amazing French guy have been seeing each other and having an awesome time together but he's going back to France for studies in September. I hate long distance relationships but I wouldn't mind it with him, so if most French guys won't do it, I'll just try not to like this guy even more :( aaaah

Anonymous

I can’t tell you exactly because everybody’s different, everybody reacts differently to long distance relationships.
My opinion on long distance relationships is that there are codes you should be aware of before comitting into it :
- Both need to be quite talkative. Talking is all you have in long distance relationships, you’d better date someone who doesn’t mind calling you/being called very often.
- It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality : When you see each other, you have to do really cool stuff together and spend really quality time together to keep the flame burning, you know what I mean.
- Be creative is a very enjoyable point : Being far away doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your partner, especially with internet. Little attentions are a key to me to preserve the affection you guys have for each other
- You also have to be quite independant to deal with the frustration of not having hugs or kisses or even social life together.

Think about all these points first. If you think you both are capable of that, then just directly talk to him about that. Honestly discuss that with him, and you’ll know right away. It’s better to have an honest “no” (so you know you can move on) than a shy “let’s try” and being stuck in a shitty situation!
Courage <3

French dirty talk

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What is the most important thing to you in a relationship?

Anonymous

Hm… Trust I guess. When you know you can trust your partner, you can move mountains together. But sadly, trust is also one of the hardest things to have. 

Can I ask what the French think about what is attractive for a guy? I know looking natural is important, but what about muscle? Are buff guys considered attractive?

Anonymous

Well as a general rule, attractiveness or even beauty in France is mostly defined by harmony. You can be curvy, muscular, thin or anything as long as it looks harmonious and healthy. Like a very tall guy with huge muscles will look quite harmonious while a little guy with too much muscles will leave no doubt about his use of steroids and hence he won’t be “attractive”. Just like a too obese girl won’t look attractive because people will wonder about her health. 
And anyway, it’s all about personal taste too. Some girls like muscles on their man, some others don’t, just like some guys like chubby girls and others don’t. Consensus isn’t important when you find your right fit! :)

While I doubt I will ever have the pleasure of dating a French man, I do have a general question on dating. Is it true that dating in France is generally done with groups of friends? And that just a few kisses (not even passionate kisses) kind of means you two are in an exclusive serious relationship?


What do you mean exactly by “with groups of friends”? If you’re pointing the fact that French people hang out in bars in groups, that’s true. But when it comes to dating, the couple can go out with friends just like they can go out alone if they feel like sharing a moment just the two of them together… It’s up to them!

And no, few kisses doesn’t mean anything like that. French are quite fluid with their sexuality and lovelife, they can kiss or even have sex without “dating” each other for real. Dating is pretty much a decision both make when they feel they start to have feelings or an attraction strong enough to justify being exclusive to each other.

But I don’t mean that all French are like that. People have different personal stories and a kiss can shape into many forms… a kiss while drunk in a party is completely different than a kiss after longing for each other for a while. The first doesn’t mean anything while the second totally means the beginning of something. That has nothing with being French, it’s just life!

How the french people face sex and sexuality? I always heard frenchies are very liberal, is that true?

Anonymous

Yeah, we are liberal but in the meantime, we are very discreet about it. French don’t really regard relationships as sacred to be honest. They care much more about their happiness as an individual than as part of a couple. Consequently, they easily let their *minds* wander hoping they’d never have to pay for the consequences of their actions. However, it’s not in our culture to share about our night activities, like at all. You’re free to do what you want in your bed, but we just don’t want to hear about it xD 

Regarding sexuality, men and women are very equal: they get the same amount of pleasure. By that, I mean that women are just as free as men to go see if the grass is greener elsewhere. It’s okay for men OR women to date several people at a time when they’re not committed in a relationship. 

What are the French's views on finding love? Do you (the French) believe that everyone has the potential to find a mate or is love only reserved for the few, lucky and beautiful people?

Anonymous

Everybody deserves to love and to be loved back, man… 

I know that the French like to keep their intimate life private, but I just wanted to know what the general attitude was on casual sex. Is it frowned upon or accepted?

Anonymous

It’s more than accepted. Have fun xD 

Hi! Do French men prefer skinny women? Can they think a girl is pretty even though her skin might be bad (pimples etc)? Obviously this is individual but could you give me like an overview? :p

Anonymous

As a general rule, French men love confident women, who feel pretty and sexy just the way they are. No matter if they are skinny, fat, with flawless skin or not. It’s all about the general feeling the man will have when he’ll first meet you, that’s all :) 

Do you any common French pick-up lines?

Anonymous

Oh my god, French despise pick-up lines, you have no idea… You can be sure that if you try to talk to a girl by using a pick-up line, not only she’ll find it lame, but she mostly think you’re a loser. It’s like, the rule N°1 when it comes to French dating. 

The best pick-up line in French society must be spontaneous and specific to the person you’re talking to. In other words, you must adapt and try to find some subject the person might like. You better talk about the music around, if you have friends in common, the weather… I don’t know, anything will do but common pick-up lines. 

Hello :] I know you've answered questions regarding dating in France and some social customs, so I was wondering: do young French heterosexual couples (while they are dating and not living together) generally see that their finances (who should pay for dinner, the movies etc) should be split in half? Or do French guys see that their role is to pay for their dates? Thank you!

Anonymous

Well, I think it depends on people. Some guys like to pay to show “who the man is”, and some other like to split, paying only when things get serious. Traditionally, the man pays, but honestly, it’s up to you… 

Personally, I do not split. I consider that the person inviting should pay. I think it’s a proof of respect more than “power” over the other person. I’m also rather embarassed when someone pays for me so if someone invites me, I’m insisting on doing something free or very cheap. Believe me, sometimes I hardly regret paying xD but well…

My friend tend to be sad when the man asks for spliting, but mostly because they like to be treated like princesses. But they understand when the guy wants to split. They think he’s just being safe. 

You talked about what the French men are like, but what is it like dating French women?

Anonymous

French women like to remain quite independant, free, and like getting a lot of attention. In the meantime, they appreciate when their partner support the fact they like to be feminine (meaning, they like to stay really attractive hence people hit on them all the time > Their partner shouldn’t be jealous.) They’re pretty attached to fashion and skin care. They like to be pretty in any occasion, even to go out for like 5 minutes to grab a think they lack for a dinner or something… 
The fact they’re in a relationship doesn’t necessarily imply they’d settle down; they remain socially very active. Consequently, they aren’t very good housewives… :p
Usually (but each family is different…), the general rule is matriarchy here. As we always say, “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman”. It may sound very old-school but it’s still very true (at least to me).