Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Guillaume Canet

What would we do without stereotypes? I sometimes wonder. Whenever I catch up with friends over a coffee, I often get comments about how disappointed they are with a French lover one of them has (or had, actually). This usually begs the following question:

What happened to the myth of the French lover?

They look at me intensely, hoping for some meaningful answers. I usually nod quietly. To be honest, there isn’t much I can say.  Because to me, it is a classic case of expectations that are too high.

Get real, girls. No man, French or not, is going to sweep you off your feet on a white steed. Just get your own life. But you know what, in the name of the sisterhood, I am going to try to debunk the myths for you today…Here we go:

Myth 1: He wasn’t such a great kisser/lover (you get the gist of it)
Right. Where do I start? I am fully aware that the French kiss is, well, French, and that we French are supposed to be experts in the love department. That said, the old romantic in me is still convinced that a kiss is not just about technique. As I know that some of you like numbers, let’s say, for the sake of argument that a kiss is 20% about technique, and the rest about, you know, feelings. In short, it is mainly about compatibility and butterflies in your tummy. It can’t be explained, it has to be experienced. And it has nothing to do with nationalities (this much I know).

Myth 2: French men all cheat on their partners
I have heard this one so many times that it feels like listening to a broken old record. Yes, I know that French politicians have a tendency to have mistresses and fool around, and the statistics apparently show that more than 55% of French men (I read it somewhere) have cheated on their partner. But I am of two minds about this. Because there is something I will never understand. Here it is: if more than half of French men cheat on their partner, surely it means that a sizeable proportion of the female population is cheating on their partner too? In short, it is a two-way street, right? It takes two to tango…So why do we keep blaming men in general and French men in particular? I don’t get it.

Myth 3: French men are effeminate
Well, some French men can be quite sophisticated, and more in tune with their feminine side. That said, I would argue that it is a Parisian thing rather than a French one. Some French men are indeed proud to be vocal about their love for art and are not afraid to wear pink shirts. And what’s wrong with this? Nothing, right? Well, apparently not. Maybe in some cultures showing your feminine side is seen as a weakness? I wonder.

Myth 4: He believes that he is irresistible
There is something about French men and confidence. Look at French actors like Vincent Lindon or Jean Reno. Let’s be honest here: they are less buff than George Clooney or Matt Damon. But still, they go out with the most beautiful women of this world. It is all about confidence. They ooze it. Well, if it works for them, then why not? I know, life is unfair.

Myth 5: He complains all the time when he gets sick
Well, it is not for nothing that a cold is also called man flu, right? I am not sure that it has got anything to do with being French. I often wonder how men would manage if they had to deliver babies. I will never know, and it’s probably better because it would be really ugly.

So much for the myth of the French lover…I sincerely hope that you are not too disappointed. On a lighter note, this morning my teenage daughter asked me what her husband’s nationality should be. Seriously, she added, what would be best for her? I almost choked on my croissant and answered that it didn’t matter, as long as she was happy.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • PF is French. He owns a pink shirt, and wears it without looking like Dame Edna. He complains as much as any other man when he has a cold, and (as far as I know…) doesn’t play away. I must however say that when I first came to France at the end of the 80’s and saw men carrying those weird leather handbags, I did get a little concerned. Tinky-Winky was but a twinkle in her inventor’s eye, but I can’t help wondering if a trip to France sparked off the idea for that particular Teletubby… 😀

  • Looking around me locally, I’m not sure many of the French men I come across would live up to the French lover type.

    My DB is French but does not have a pink shirt and spends most of his time in black casuals from Decathlon. He is more biker-type than metrosexual and doesn’t live up to the stereotype either. But then, who does? 🙂

  • HA! Don’t you just love the various myths & stereotypes? I get it all the time as my man is a proud black man. I’ve dated enough black men to tell you – it’s all a myth and stereotype there as well.

  • spot on…

  • Anonymous

    Bonjour MuriEL, I am an Australian expat, have lived in Paris for 10 years, and really enjoy your blog. So, regarding the mythical french lover … I’ve got one of my own … but none of the above myths match him.
    Monsieur is a great kisser, he doesn’t cheat, he is so NOT effeminate, he sure doesn’t think he is irrestible (he thanks me constantly for being his girlfriend), and he never complains when he is sick.
    So I can confirm that there are some atypical french lovers over here, you just have to get lucky ! Christine

  • I love this post! I get asked all the time, with a nudge and a wink (alluding to my French husband), if it’s true that all French men are great lovers and if all French men are unfaithful to their wives. I’m always tempted to say that Hubs is a terrible lover, and is unfaithful all the time, just to see what reaction it would get! I’ve included this in my weekly e-newsletter for this week as it really tickled me!

  • Loved this, my husband is part French, just working out which part! Fab to discover you via the wonderful Franglaise Mummy! Fab blog!