I should be glad but, curiously, the whole affair feels bittersweet. The good thing is, during Christmas parties, we are not asked any longer whether all Frenchmen have mistresses. No, instead, it is all about the Euro crisis and the war of words against Britain.
If you have missed it, let me explain. France is on the verge of losing its triple-A rating. Instead of doing something about it, our politicians have behaved like petulant children on the verge of being told off by the head teacher in the playground: they have said that Britain was even worse than France and should lose its triple A before France does.
The British didn’t like the comment, which they believed was “not helpful” (what a very British understatement!) and this morning the British press is all about the complicated relationship between the French and the Brits.
It made me wonder: how did this happen? They will of course deny it until their very last breath, but the French and the Brits are more similar than they would ever admit. For starters, London is the biggest French-speaking city outside of France. And to make matters even worse, more than 500,000 Brits have bought a holiday house in France.
Now, let’s talk about language: most of the good words in English are French. The “savoir-faire” is clearly French, as is the “saucisson”, not to mention the “pot-pourri” and the “pousse-café” (the liqueur you have after coffee).
As for the French language, all the trendy, edgy words are English: the “week-end” is of course an institution. “To manage” (manager) is now part of the French lexicon (France is full of manage[u]rs now), as is “hot dog” and “design”.
I strongly believe that, when two populations are so intertwined, any differences, even if minor, become magnified and take huge proportions. Nothing to worry about. After all, French bashing (and its counterpart in France, British bashing) , is a favourite pastime in both countries. That’s what happens in an old couple.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London