When things start to get at you, it is time to take action. So I took action. Of course I did. Here it is: I got tired of being asked whether I was French. Because, apparently, I look French. I have never really understood what it means, despite seeking clarification several times. But this much I know: having a British passport doesn’t change a thing. I still look French. I have therefore decided to make it easier for everybody: I designed an orange T-shirt that says ‘French Babe’. In fact, when I say orange, I mean bright orange. Here it is. How do you like it?
What I wanted was for the T-shirt to shout out that I was French. No need to ask any questions. It had to be out there. So I went out with my newly designed T-shirt. I wanted to see how people would react to it. Well, for starters, lots of guys were talking to me on the street. Yep, you read that right: even the British ones. Of all ages and backgrounds, really: from the coffee guy to the banker in the City. Who would have thought? Some were telling me that it was a nice T-shirt. All were smiling, and a few even started some small talk. The thing is, I love to make people smile. Somehow, my T-shirt was funny. Maybe being French in London is funny. I wonder. I am afraid I still don’t get it.
I must admit that I was getting a lot of attention. On the Tube, a couple was snogging. The guy stopped and looked at me, from top to bottom. He was checking me out. The same happened at my local pizzeria, when I went to pick up my take-away pizzas. This ginger guy was on a dinner date with his girlfriend. When I entered the restaurant, he stopped talking to her and looked at me. I swear, his mouth was half opened. I would have dumped him on the spot if I were his date.
‘ Darling, I could be your mother’ , I thought.
What was going on? The good old cliches are true: put a French woman in a London street and for some reason she will draw all the attention like some sort of magnet. The thing is, I feel pretty ordinary in France. It is all a matter of perception, right?
But the worst was yet to come. I was wearing the T-shirt and having my morning coffee the other day, when a guy sat opposite me.
He asked, in fluent French:
” Tu es Francaise?” (Are you French?)
‘Serious, this has to be the worst chat-up line ever…’, I thought.
I smiled and answered.
‘Yes, how did you guess?’
‘Can I offer you another coffee?’
You know what: I think that I am starting to warm up to British guys. They are, well, subtler.
I stood up and left as fast as I could. I was confused. I have always felt invisible in France and here was this French guy, hitting on me like mad.
Is it the T-shit? Is it London? I simply have no clue.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London