Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Nice Airport, 22nd of December 2012
Unbelievable. You may remember it, but the post that started it all (and can be found here), was about a British mum, at the school gate, who inadvertently showed her bottom and acted as if nothing had happened. At the time (ah, memories!), I thought that it was a very British thing to do. Well, it turns out that I was wrong. Completely wrong.
You see, the picture at the top of this post was taken yesterday, at the airport in Nice (you will be pleased to know that I have made it back. YAY!). The lady was playing with her pet. She stayed like that at least 15 minutes, perfectly happy with showing the top half of her bottom while she was cooing at her puppy. I can assure you that she was French.

I couldn’t believe it. I thought that French women were known for their class and restraint but she might be the exception that proves the rule. I am baffled. I still don’t know what to say. What was she thinking?

My daughters found the whole situation incredibly funny and kept shouting  ‘Look, Mum, look!’. The lady in question was completely oblivious to the noise. In the end, I took the first possible excuse to sit elsewhere while we were waiting for our (delayed, as always) flight.

But it wasn’t the end of our adventures. As I was on my own with the girls, a French guy with a red tracksuit came next to us. He started talking to me, assuming that I was single. Or divorced. Or, in any event, available. He ended up asking me out, in front of the girls. I couldn’t believe it. I turned his various offers down (what was he thinking?). In no particular order, he asked me out for a dinner, a glass of wine and/or a coffee. Why do I always attract weirdos (and dogs, for some reason)? I saw that passport control was finally opened and fled the scene with my little ones as fast as I could. I told the girls -in English, of course-, to hurry up.

We finally boarded the plane and I thought that I could finally relax. Well, not quite yet. At passport control, in London this time, the officer checked our passport and told me that he would happily go to Nice with me next time (wink wink). I couldn’t believe -If I complain, is he allowed to do a body search?- so I just smiled. I told the girls -In French this time-to hurry up and we quickly made our goodbyes. After all, I should be flattered, and I am sure that it was meant it a jokey way. You know, male jokes. I might not get this type of comments in a few years. Or maybe I will. Who knows?

In short, I couldn’t see any noticeable differences between French and English yesterday. That’s probably what globalisation does for you. Or is it that some attitudes transcend nationalities? I wonder. What do you think?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London