Ed. Note: My wonderful and wonderfully talented friend D.A. is back today musing on love and her French man. I, as you know, am somewhat of an expert on the subject and I see many, many similarities in our men.
Just yesterday I was informed that I do not talk to him enough, that I’m too wrapped up in my writing and, oh, yes, “are you sure you’re eating enough vegetables?”
Now, he and I are off to Paris to buy coffee, tea and a special Clarins product I need (I’ll tell you about it next week). Then, naturally, we’ll have lunch on a terrace, perhaps in the Seventh arrondissement. It’s a perfect day to linger in Paris and then return to the country for dinner in our gazebo. Thanks to D.A., I can take a vacation day.
Please click herefor more from D.A.
“Let’s make a meal, take a walk, or… ”
His voice trails off and he takes my hand, raising his eyebrows and grinning.
I laugh. Though he knows I’m at my laptop working, it’s now late afternoon and I’ve been at it for seven hours. He’s about to lecture me on my typing posture and poor adherence to a regular eating schedule. He’s off for the summer and we’re together each day, but as I’m not “off,” it makes for some interesting juggling and occasional negotiation.
As for his desire to head to the bedroom?
I adore the concept of such lively inspiration. I adore the twinkle in his eye. I adore him – and the way he adores me – but all I can do is smile when he says: “I’m very basic when it comes to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Food, exercise, sex.”
It’s still my work day, and though I pause to discuss the possible menu for the evening, more tasks at my computer await and he knows it.
Now let me be clear. One of the pleasures of loving a French man is his pleasure in a delicious meal, preparing it together, then lingering at the table for two hours as you savor each bite and even more so, the conversation. And yes, dessert.
One of the challenges of loving a French man is his pleasure in a delicious meal, the time it takes to prepare it together, and that same two hours at the table, as you bite your lip and worry about the work that’s yet to get done… after dessert.
|A fascinating book. Imagine the conversations — and more — it could provoke.|
So how exactly do you love a French man? Is it different from loving any other man?
I recently related our love story, or rather the encounter that led to our love story, which I told in the context of years of online dating as a femme d’un certain âge. I will add that I have dated on both sides of the Atlantic, and always got on much better with Frenchmen than those from my own country.
As for loving a French man? This French man?
He is old school in the ways that matter to me – honor, integrity, discretion – and values that have little to do with materialism and everything to do with living a full and good life. That “full and good life” thing? In my experience, it’s very French, which is not to say that it’s exclusively French.
He is also forward thinking in many ways – keenly appreciative of new ideas, uninterested in easy labeling of people and situations, and attentive to detail in discussions. Oh, the discussions! And on virtually any topic.
Occasionally he’ll muse on what it would’ve been like had we met 25 years ago. And who doesn’t play the “what if” game from time to time? But I remind him that he wouldn’t be who he is today without his long marriage, his now grown kids, and the divorce he went through a number of years ago. Nor would I be the person I am today without my history – for better or worse.
And isn’t loving another person always a matter of merging the past, present, and future? Isn’t it about who we are at a point in time – what we’ve been through, what we’ve shed that is of no importance, and how we’d like to conceive our tomorrows – together?
We may be easy to love or complicated, resistant to love or afraid of it; we may be convinced we’re too jaded, too tired, too unyielding, or too old, with our days of “great love” behind us. We may be stuck in a holding pattern waiting for something that doesn’t exist – some perfect partner by checklist. In my experience we mesh or we don’t, we seek common values or we’re toying with trouble, and we move beyond that honeymoon stage of limerence into something solid and real, rather than flitting from flame to flame with a heart that is singed over and over.
How to love a French man?
I love this French man through our tussles over my working less and relaxing more. I love him through his insistence on fromage at the end of the evening meal, and his love affair with butter that he claims as his Norman birthright, even as I cut him off before he demolishes the brie layered on beurre layered on baguette.
I love him for tolerating me in my prolonged quiet periods though it’s difficult for him; he is gregarious, and odd as it may sound, I have only recently realized that I’m something of a loner.
|Eh, oui, one of the great love stories and, of course, food was involved. . .|
I love him by balancing yes when he needs it, yes for us both, and when necessary, no – for yours truly. And yesterday afternoon in my home office, though he wanted to eat or walk or play, my answer was no. So I kissed my man, whispered je t’aime, and politely declined all invitations as I resumed my research. A few hours later we took a stroll, made dinner, and chatted at length. While we were talking, he turned to me suddenly and said: Chaque jour est important – Every day is important.
And I am reminded not only how I love him, but why.
Perhaps loving a French man is like loving any man and being loved in return – equal parts genuine communication, shared pleasures, common values, a willingness to make yourself vulnerable – and one or the other of you there to point out: every day is important.