Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fundamental Difference Between French and Americans

Frenchman: "My English isn't very good."
American: "Ooh it's not so bad. I can understand you."

American: "Je ne parle pas très bien le français."
Frenchman (with a grimace): "No you don't. Your French is pretty bad. Let's just speak in English."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chez Jeanette

Last night I decided to go to a vernissage at the 12 Mail gallery with a couple of friends. As the gallery was very tiny and as the number of people inside exceeded a safe capacity and as there was no free booze flowing we left in search of other adventures. Our initial plan was to check out another vernissage not too far away and then to grab a quick drink. However, when we failed to find the second gallery we decided what the heck "let's go get our drink on" and that's exactly what we did.

We headed over to Chez Jeanette, the popular hotspot for young Parisians. I've been to Chez Jeanette several times in the past and despite having good time with my friends I was mostly underwhelmed with the ambiance and atmosphere of the place and the service of the bartending staff left a lot to be desired. But something was different last night. We cozied up to the bar, ordered three pints and started chatting away pausing every few moments to check out the new "merchandise" walking through the door. As we were finishing our pints and deciding what to do next (the consensus being to head home and call it an early evening) one of the bartenders surprisingly started chatting us up. A few moments later three shot glasses, filled with an indiscernible red liquid, were placed in front of us and like that our plans to call it an early evening were tossed by the wayside.

There's something to be said for friendly bartenders and free drinks. Since a bartender's wage doesn't depend on gratuities as much as bartenders in the US it's rare to find friendly bar staff let alone get free drinks out of it. But suffice it to say, the small gesture by the bartender last night has completely changed my opinion of Chez Jeanette and it's now a place that I'd willingly and happily frequent again.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Parisian Love by Google - Not So Fast

This morning I watched the Google Superbowl ad entitled "Parisian Love". Initially, I found the ad to be sweet, charming, romantic and everything that is wonderful in the universe. I could hear my mind chanting "Go Love!". But then almost instantly, something dawned on me and it was as if my usually dormant cynical and bitter self awoken (which she tends to do around this time of year) and shouted "that ad was crock of bull". And then I thought about it some more, it's really not because I'm cynical and bitter that I didn't like the ad. It's because I've been living in France for the past two years that I was able to evaluate it with a bit more of a critical eye than someone who hasn't had a similar experience.

In case you were wondering here are the top 3 reasons why the ad didn't resonate so well with me:

1. Every male Anglophone expat in Paris knows that it's not so easy to impress French girls. If it were so easy then maybe the ratio of Anglophone men dating French women to Anglophone women dating French men wouldn't be as skewed to the latter. I'm not going to speculate here as to why this may be but feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.

2. Implying that one can impress a women simply by buying her chocolates is antiquated, overly simplistic and somewhat demeaning to women.

3. If it were so easy to find a job working in France having very little French skills, then I probably wouldn't get as many emails as I do asking me how to accomplish such a feat.

And in case you haven't seen it, here it is: