Posted by / Category London /

Dating Isn’t Aways Plain Sailing (Port Moresby)

It happened again over the weekend. I caught up with a friend of mine. She explained to me that she had just met this French guy, and that she really liked him. And then, she asked me the dreaded question:
“- So, tell me, what should I do? Do you have any advice as to how to date a Frenchman?”
I started to panic. The thing is, I have not played the dating game for a very long time. I tried to mumble something about just being yourself, but I don’t think that it made the cut. In short, she left without an intelligible answer. I thought about her question for a long time, and started remembering that, because of my engineering studies and my various technical jobs, I used to be surrounded by men. More often than not, I used to be the only woman in a meeting/project/office…After all, she was probably right to ask the question, because I had to learn how to read guys. It was a survival matter, really. So here is what I should have told her. Better late than never, right? Here we go…

1. There are no rules. 
Unlike in the US, there is no specific plan as to what you need to do at the first, second or third date. You can go as fast or as slow as you want. You are in control. Obviously, he often will want to go fast, but it is up to you to slow him down, if you so wish. Now you are warned. 

2. Exclusivity goes without saying.
What is it with Anglo-Saxon guys dating several women at the same time until you declare your love to each other? If you date a French guy, he is with you, and you with him. Period. From the very start. As for the misconception that French men are serial cheater, well, I say that fidelity has nothing to do with nationality. More controversially, I also say that is all about risk management: take as good care of yourself as possible, and you will limit the chances of him having a roving eye.

3. Always be at least 10 minutes late.
I know that it is silly, and personally I hate being late. But it is all about not appearing to be too eager.  And chances are, he will arrive even later than you. It is a French thing, and I can’t stand it. But in Rome, you have to do as the Romans do, right? Well, it is the same with French men.

4. Don’t smile too much.
I know, I know, you weren’t expecting this one. But apparently, men just love a woman who pouts. That’s probably one of the reasons why Victoria Beckham became so successful. It is beyond me, because I am a happy-go-lucky sort of person, but it is a tried-and tested thing: if you appear to be too happy, they aren’t interested in you. Men in general (and French men in particular) seem to love women with issues. I had a friend who never smiled or laughed. She always had men flocking around her despite her sad face. So unfair. Maybe French men love to be the knight in their shining armour. It must be their romantic side. So look serious and worried, he will love it. Come on, you can do it. Think of something sad.

5. Ditch the granny pants.
And the M&S nighties. As you know, it is one of my pet peeves. He doesn’t care about your wobbly bits, I can assure you. Especially if you wear laces.

6. Do not take the initiative.
Most French men are quite old-fashioned: they want to be the one to take the initiative and do the first step. So much for trying to be independent women, right? The good news is that it usually doesn’t take them as much time as their British counterpart. But often, it is all about making him believe that he took the initiative, when clearly you have paved the way for the relationship to start. And yes, it is a conundrum. So good luck!

7. Feel free to ignore my advice. Yes, all of it.
After all, you are a big girl, right? This is the opportunity for you to start a clean slate. Come on, I am pretty sure that you don’t need my help. Yes, he might be the one, or your fragile heart might end up being broken again. There is simply no way to tell in advance. Whether he is French or not doesn’t really matter. Just go with it, and enjoy the journey!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • This is not very comprehensive. You have said nothing about the smell of Gitanes and garlic, the silly beret and the string of onions around the neck. Are you sure this is really aimed at foreigners?

    • We don’t do the silly beret any more, David. As for garlic well, what can I say? I don’t really mind!

  • I might say ignore all the rules you just posted and teach a French man that there are other ways to think about a relationship, especially ditching #4 and #6. However, I’ll never get to test this out since I plan on being married another 30 years to my non-French man.

    • Good for you, and congratulations, Julie! After all, it is all about being yourself, right?

  • Haha.. I really do wonder at times where the term ‘French kissing’ originated. Might it be a very “french’ thing indeed? That said, I loved how you said ‘Men WILL be fast’. Can’t argue with that, really 😉

    • Well, as you know, all romantic things come in french, right? As for men moving fast, well, some things never change, wherever you are!

  • He probably just expects her to be herself… Which is all she should do, whatever the nationality of her knight in shining Armani. After all, Frenchmen are men like all others… except they speak French.

    • Are French men like others? I sometimes wonder…Seriously, the do have reputation, right?

  • My son (nearly 18) says that all the girls he knows always have issues and want to talk about them endlessly. Basically they want to talk about themselves. He finds it very tedious. Maybe he’s not as French as all that. 🙂

    • What you are describing is typical of provincial cities in France, me think…It was the same where I grew up.

  • I didn’t know exclusivity existed anywhere nowadays! Glad to hear it does though…

    • When did we all become so cynical Marie? What happened to love? I sometimes wonder…

  • Liz

    Hi Muriel,
    I started reading your blog a couple of days ago, and really like it (trying to learn more about the french culture). I’m from the US and met a french guy here, and back then, I was unaware just how much culture differences play a role in a persons mannerisms and with dating too. For example, this guy was blunt with the things he would say, I’d catch him staring at me (staring in the US is not acceptable), but what impressed me the most is that the french don’t kiss someone unless they are ready for a relationship. Anyway, maybe I’ll have better luck with the next french guy now that I have this new knowledge, but for the mean time, I look forward to reading your blog and learning some more. =)

    • Welcome Liz, and glad you enjoyed the blog. I am sorry it didn’t work out with this French guy, and I wish you the best of luck for the future.
      Oh, and as much as I criticise French guys, I have a soft spot for them. Keep us posted! x

  • Keenan Lily

    hi muriel.. it’s only a month or two (not remember the exact date), i met this french guy online, and then we started to have almost everyday text conversation. we met 3 times, we live in 2 hours away city. on the 3rd meeting, we watched movie, as he started to play with my hands and hold it until the movie finish. then before he go back to his city, he kissed me, twice. are we in relationship now? bcs we did not talk about it (i dont mind tho but now just curious) should i ask him?

  • Keenan Lily

    hi muriel.. it’s only a month or two (not remember the exact date), i met this french guy online, and then we started to have almost everyday text conversation. we met 3 times, we live in 2 hours away city. on the 3rd meeting, we watched movie, as he started to play with my hands and hold it until the movie finish. then before he go back to his city, he kissed me, twice. are we in relationship now? bcs we did not talk about it (i dont mind tho but now just curious) should i ask him? and he is an introvert like me, but when we met, we just had lively conversation and he remember every small things i told him (when even i think that is not important).

    • Well, may I just say that he is a hard one to read? Have you heard from him? I would say that yes, you are in a relationship, but maybe he is too shy to talk about it. Personally, I would ask him where he sees this relationship going. But that’s just me, and I am (far too) direct. Good luck, and follow your guts… x

      • Keenan Lily

        Hi, thanks for replying.. we never missed a day without contacting each other. He initiates some and i try to balance it. We’re live in different city, and due to my schedule i haven’t meet him again but next week we might have time together. Should i ask him about that? Bcs I’m not good at it too 😢
        Thanks again!

        • I think you should. But you see, I am very direct. Good luck in any case and keep me posted! x

  • Jennifer Ann Greenwell

    Thank you for this. I’ve got a date with a French guy on saturday. This seems really great advise x

    • Right. How did it go? I want to know now. feeling v curious…

      • Jennifer Ann Greenwell

        Unfortunately he cancelled. He did it in a very respectable way saying he wasn’t over my ex and didn’t want to string me along.

        • I am sorry it didn’t happen. Good luck for your next date. Take care x

  • Cheetara

    Much needed advice! Thank you.

    Im a 44 yr old black American woman who lives in America. I met a really nice 35 yr old black French man 6 days ago who is working in America. We met at a soccer (football) game. We have so much sexual chemistry! We have gone on 3 dates since we met (we are supp to have a 4th date tonite which should end with sex). We tongue kissed passionately on the first night we met, which was also our first date. And we’ve been kissing since then. I really like his style & mannerisms. He makes me feel like I had been dating frogs & now I met a prince. I love the way he looks at me, hugs me, holds my hand, kisses my hand/arm & listens to me. I didnt want to feel this strong for someone I just met, but I do.

    When we first met he told me he has a girlfriend in France, but hasnt seen her in 7 months. He said she hasnt made an attempt to visit him & when she had vacation time she choose to go on vacation with her parents. He has traveled back & forth from France & the US in the past 2yrs, but these past 7 months is the longest time he stayed in the US w/o going to France. He says he feels like the relationship with his girlfriend is ending but they havent made a move to terminate it. Knowing that our dating cultures are different, it bothers me that he doesn’t just end the relationship with his girlfriend in France. I want to be the only one & I dont want to feel like Im w/a cheater.

    I made it clear from the moment we met that I was looking for a relationship. He was so pressed to have sex from the first night, but is waiting for me to become comfortable w him. He admitted that he’s horny & hasnt had sex since January. Everytime I see him though we always have to talk about having sex. I always have to convince him to Well, I want to have sex with him but Im so afraid of being dumped, or used or played with. I told him these things & he assured me he wont do this.

    Some of my other concerns are: 1.) His parents are coming from France in 2 days to visit him. They are staying for 10 days. Should I be concerned that he has not made plans for me to meet them? 2.) Although he shares an apt w a roommate he has not invited me over to his house, or even hinted at it in the future. I also live w roommates so I dont want our 1st sexual experience to happen where I live. We already planned for our first sexual experience to be in a hotel so we could be comfortable & loud. But still why no invite to his house? 3.) Should I be concerned about his relationship with the girlfriend in France?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this long post. Id appreciate any helpful advice from someone who has had experience with dating French men. Thank you.

    • Wow! Can I be direct? Am sorry if I am going to hurt you. My answers: Question 1: YES. If he was serious about you, he would introduce you
      2. He should have invited you to his house. It looks like he has something to hide.
      3. YES. Long story short: he is two-timing. Not acceptable, even by French standards.
      From what you are describing, he is not BF material, he is looking for a booty call. If you are OK with this, go for it. If not, I wouldn’t. But that’s just me, and I am far from being perfect. In any case, take good care of yourself. xx

      • Cheetara

        Muriel, thank you so much for your response! I greatly appreciated it! Prior to your response, I stopped seeing this French man. His text messages had slowed down. We were supp to meet for our 4th date which was going to incl sex but I received no phone call on the day of the date. However, the next day I received a good morning text which I never responded to. So after I got over my mini temper tantrum, I txtd him & I told him to delete my phone #. I said it’s obvious that you’re not into me. But I thought you were going to be diff from most American men, but you’re not. Im so disappointed in you bec I told you what I was looking for when we first met. I told him he shouldve been courageous enough to tell me that he wasnt interested in me, that Im a mature woman & I couldve handled it. I think I also said sumthin like I dont like having my time wasted & thats why I prefer to date men instead of boys. He nvr responded back. Anyway Muriel, I DONT like being used or taken advantage of. Im soooo happy I kept my legs closed. I guess deep down inside sumthin didnt feel right & I wasnt completely ready for sex with him. It felt so rushed & forced despite the great sexual energy b/t us. However, I liked the guy. He was the type you could introduce to your family, your boss & take to work events. He had class & style. He could hold a conversation & we had fun. Im bummed out that it didnt work out, but, Im a queen & I deserve to be treated with respect. So I wait impatiently for my king…lol

  • Alicia

    Hello, Is anyone out there now who can listen to my story of dating a frenchie?

    • Am here! Will give you my 2 cents…

  • Alicia

    Well here goes. Sounds pretty crazy to me, but I’m an american and a skeptic of love dating and romance. Married 21 years, divorced 1 yr. So happy to be starting a new life. Though trying hard to make the right choices of who to let into my heart. He, in the states for 20 years, speaks english, though in quite a broken way. It is so easy to not understand him and be asking over and over for him to repeat things. He’s also high stress/anxiety, working too much so that does not help him to speak to me clearly. Our connection is great so much of the time. Sex is the best ever, I often wonder is that all I’m in it for. But then tell myself, he has so much potential and we have like interests. But, he has 2 female roommates in home he owns. One of the women is a x girlfriend of 10 years whom I’m told is history and don’t be worried, concerned or jealous. Really, I say. She lives across the hallway from you and she’s single and you walk around naked with your bedroom door open!!!!

    • Hmmm. Don’t really know what to think. As long as the physical side of things is great, why don’t you just enjoy it and see what happens? It seems to me that after 21 years of marriage and just one year as a divorcee, you want/need to take things slowly?
      What rings alarm bells (to me) isn’t that he is friend with his ex GF (after all, it happens), but that he is high stress/anxiety. But that’s just me: anxious people freak me out. I also wonder why he hasn’t managed to speak good English in 20 years. In short, my (French) advice would be: enjoy and don’t over think!