Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

It is this time of the year again: Christmas parties are in full swing. Today, I met fellow bloggers of BritMums and it was nice to put faces on all the names. On top of this, I had my fist sip of champagne at 11 am. That’s the beauty of Christmas parties: you can start having fun earlier than usual.

But not all Christmas parties are good. I have had a few Corporate Christmas parties (with and without hubby). After some drinks, I can guarantee that some well-meaning colleague will ask the dreaded question (we have had it at every single party so far. In most cases it was directed to my husband, but I wasn’t too far).
“ Is it true that all Frenchmen have mistresses? (Usually, a “Wink Wink” follows, with a heavy laugh. Lovely)
Here we go again. So, what are we supposed to answer?  We might be French but we have a pretty normal life. Between the business and our daughters we simply have no time to fool around. Not that we would want to.  I sometimes wish I could hit back with some comments like.:“Oh yes, actually my husband’s mistress is driving me back home tonight, we are very relaxed about the whole affair thing, it has been going on for so long…” But most of the time I am too polite to say something like that or not sarcastic enough. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that the DSK affair hasn’t helped, and that “we French” have such a reputation, but having the same question almost at every party is becoming a bit of a bore. Maybe we should pretend we are from Quebec? Worth a thought.
Despite all this, during the parties, I am trying to be nice, polite and not to hit back. But my problem is that, after even a small cup of champagne, for some reason I usually become a lot more direct. Once, a colleague of mine, who was slightly inebriated, came to talk to me and explained to me, standing a bit too close, that he once had a French girlfriend. She looked exactly like me. Even her personality was similar, according to him. I deeply regret what I did there and then. I told him:” She can’t have been like me because I would never have gone out with a guy like you. Not possible”. He hasn’t talked to me ever since. He resents me because I ruined his Christmas party. Apparently I am a killjoy. What was I supposed to do?
So, honestly, how do you survive the Christmas season?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • hahaha!!! i LOVE it! Ah, office parties…. always something interesting going on!

    I think you survive exactly as you did….
    maybe with a little champagne at 11 am and some witty sarcasm? 🙂

    And I like your resopnse about the mistress…. hahaha…. I’d probably take it a step further and say, ‘yes, she’s driving me home, sometimes she and i hook up sometimes too’ or something like that…. I love those sarcastic crazy remarks like that leave people wondering ‘suuuurely that’s not true…… or is it????’ 🙂

    Great post, always plenty to write about during the holidays!

  • Oh you are bad Muriel! How do I survive the Christmas season? Same way I survive any other traumatic experience – duck and run, grin and bear it, smile through my tears, drink as much good red wine or Kilkenny as my budget allows.

  • He deserved it.

  • I think your colleague was interested in your husband. And I agree with Thom he deserved it. You should have splashed some champagne at him like an exclamation mark!

  • You did fine telling him off, I am at my worst at official functions, always trying to be nice and swallowing the worst insults. And the witty answers are 10 hours late.
    Am I glad that we Swiss do not have such a reputation, but it is not much better being asked where you keep all the money hidden, you bank gnomes, ah, and the mountains (hallo hillbillies), chocolate and watches, or the reference to Heidi guarding goats or whatever.

  • I think if you can pull off that great line about the mistress driving you home, then you will have found a good way to hold on to your Frenchness. And sometimes you have to speak the truth, like when you told off the low life at the party. And from an earlier post — I love my American gravy, but when I eat bechamel I know I’m in France. Viva le bechamel!

  • an award for my favorite French Londoner:

  • Well, I haven’t gone to a single Christmas party this year! I have managed to avoid all parties with my new employer. Sure I’m now being labelled as a bit anti-social, but I also wasn’t in town for 2 of them, and the others I had started my new eating plan, so it was a great excuse. I do feel like I have missed out though…but I’m just so over mixing work with alcohol.

    As to the mistress thing, obviously that hasnt made its way to Australia…we believe its the Italians instead!

  • OMG, some Englishmen can be so boorish especially with a few drinks inside them. If you/your husband is asked that question so often, you should have some ready made answer. I’d suggest something like having mistresses is not exclusive to Frenchmen. How about Prince Charles for starters or some other well-known Englishman? All the juicy scandals about MPs.

    I know what you go through having got my bellyful of anti-American jokes in England, and anti-English and anti-Mexican here. Oddly enough, Mexicans are extremely circumspect when it comes to foreigners and what they ask them.

  • Muriel, so funny! I barely survive the holiday season, but now that our office party is over with, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Good for you for telling your coworker the truth. Honesty is the best policy. So under no circumstance tell people you’re from Canada! ;p

  • I think that is a universal comment found in most countries at most corporate Christmas parties. Thank goodness the place I work at doesn’t have parties (at my level anyway) except for lunches, sans alcohol. Or I would have made much the same comment as you did. Perfectly appropriate, and no loss for you I bet. 😀

  • That was a good come back and part of me is jealous that you were able to do that, haha! How do I survive Christmas parties?…at least in the past when I was still working outside the home?…well, two things: either I don’t attend or don’t stay long enough for things to get ugly. Kill joy? Perhaps. But I never cared, lol! As for the Quebec thing, well, as long as you’re okay with being bombarded with Celine Dion comments, then it might be worth giving it a shot! 😉

  • I know I hear this every time! Like a fatality really. Thumbs up on you answer to that guy, very good! At some stage you really want to say something that would close everybody;s mouth.
    At work they are Ok but they love teasing me about cheese and bread. What can I do if I am born in a place where cheese, bread and wine are one of the best!!!
    All done now, I can relax. Take care Muriel.