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Artichokes



am spending a few days back home, in France, and taking this as an opportunity to catch up with friends and family. The thing is, one of my good friends happens to be a maneater. She is bright, beautiful and absolutely charming. And of course she happens to be irresistible. She is French (I have yet to meet a British maneater). I love her to bits, but it dawned on me that I would never, ever, introduce her to my male friends (am I over-protective?), let alone my husband.

Does it make me a bad person or just someone who mitigates risks? I hope it’s the latter.

I think that this is, once again, a classic case of double standard. The male equivalent, usually referred to as a player, doesn’t bother me at all, because I know that I won’t succumb to his charm. Most of the time, players know how to talk to women. They make you feel special, and I am old enough to know when to stop the fun. So why am I scared to let her meet the men I like? I don’t want them to get hurt. So much for thinking that I was open-minded. I happen to know what makes men tick all too well, that’s all. Or maybe I am bossy. That’s just me, I suppose.

To be fair to her, she says that she has a ‘coeur d’artichaut’ (literally, an artichoke heart). This means that she falls in love easily, but somehow exclusivity is not her forte (that’s a British understatement). Come to think of it, I am not sure that we would agree on what ‘love’ means or is. She also once made an hilarious comment about the fact that sleeping with an ex-boyfriend is not cheating on your current partner. Interesting philosophy, right? Apparently, this has something to do with not increasing the number of your conquests. I didn’t think that it was bothering her: after 25 years of fun, who cares?

I know that I sound judgemental. I am trying not to be. Really. She makes me laugh. She is always in control, and knows what she wants. She calls the shots, and in the blink of an eye can leave multiple victims at a time. She dumps guys easily, and doesn’t look back. I admire the way she compartmentalises her hugely successful professional life, and her complicated love life. To an extent, she is still a teenager at heart, looking for her Prince Charming. Except that she exudes sensuality, and turn all men’s heads. I will admit it: I am a bit jealous of her power to seduce men, even if at 40-something I have never felt better.

As a friend, I like her humour, generosity and frankness. It is very refreshing and makes me feel like I am 16 again. And to top everything up she showed no sign of slowing down. Until recently.

Over the last six weeks, there have been some breaking news: my friend the maneater fell in love, and might get married soon (no, she is not pregnant). The whole thing was incredibly fast. She seems happy, but the relationship is turbulent from time to time (as far as I can see). I don’t know what to think.

In fact, I am not ready to believe it just yet, and I still wouldn’t introduce her to my male friends. Let’s just say that I am not convinced. Is it a case of ‘once a maneater, always a maneater’? Am I too judgemental? I don’t know. I also fear that she might be heading towards a massive emotional crash. We will see. So, why is life so complicated? Why do we talk about players with a smile and a wink, and about maneaters as if it was shameful? And how fast can people change? I thought that growing older would give me answers. Well, it is simply not the case… 
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • Hmm… I know (intimately) of one such person… and she had the same logic. Sleeping with an ex-husband is not adultery….

  • ‘Cougar with an artichoke heart
    … interesting 🙂

  • Maybe she’s bored with being a maneater and wants a new hobby being a wife.

    Are her friends taking bets on how long the marriage will last?

    I wouldn’t let her near my man either. You’re spot on with that! No point courting disaster.

    • I think that she longs to be a wife. I am not sure that she is cut out for it.

  • Oooo tricky one Muriel. I certainly agree that there should be no shame attached to maneaters, especially as there is such a double standard with it being ok for men to be players. However, as your friend she should know not to be a maneater in your circle – in an ideal word right?? I hope she is happy and I hope she does get married if that is what she wants. Or that she goes to see a therapist and sorts things out a bit xx

    • You have nailed it. The thing is, she once went out with a guy I liked (more than 20 years ago). I am not meridional for nothing. I still resent her for this. Maybe there is something wrong with…me?

  • It’s been a few days since you posted this, is she still in love?

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