Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to prove you're really French.

So tomorrow we return to the Préfecture to prove that a. we really are married and that b. Monsieur J really is French. Which brings me to the question, how can you tell if someone is French?

My friend K and I did a lot of thinking about this, we've come up with the following:

1. The fruit test: If Monsieur J and I are both given apples, he will deftly peel, slice and eat the fruit, whereas I am inclined to just bite right in. Being American, I am likely to cut off a finger peeling anything without a vegetable peeler.

2. The driving test: For him, driving is like over-caffeinated bumper cars, honking and insulting are encouraged. I prefer to take my time, letting pedestrians cross the street, etc... to the dismay of all French motorists behind me.

3. The bus test: Waiting at a bus stop is not enough here, you must signal to the driver that you would like for him to stop. The French have a subtle yet effective way of doing this, Monsieur J is a pro. Meanwhile, yours truly always ends up frantically waving to the driver, which is just so not cool, or French.

4. The footwear test: French women can walk for miles in high heeled shoes and somehow they appear graceful and never seem to trip on the cobblestones. I still have blisters from wearing flats a month ago. Guess who's not French?

5. The temperature test: The French dress according to the season, not necessarily according to the daily forecast. This means that if it's an unseasonally warm day in March (75 degrees) the French will still bundle up in sweaters, coats and scarves. This probably explains why I get weird looks for walking around in jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt, silly me.

I guess the only alternative would be to sweat my brains out, which could actually help me pass the smell test around here.

I think I'll pass!


  1. 6. The sandwich test: You will both be given a sandwich, nothing messy, just a regular old sandwich. Julien will without a doubt wrap some napkins around the bottom of the sandwich so as not to touch the bread. You on the other hand will grab that sandwich right by the bread! God, can you imagine what they would do with a burrito???

    7. The pizza test: You both go and order a pizza. Your husband smiles gleefully as his pizza arrives covered in swiss cheese and with an egg plopped (eww gross word) right in the top. You instead turn up your nose at it and ask where the mozzarella is and if someone could kindly remove the breakfast food from the top of your pizza.

    8. The Binder Test - You go to the prefecture with a bookbag full of all of your binders that contain three copies of every document ranging from your kindergarden report card to 28 years of dental records all carefully placed in page protectors. No need to give a comparison, you are clearly American. Your binders are like kryptonite to the French!

  2. I LOVE this!! The Temperature Test is sooo true. The minute it becomes September, get out the scarves!!!

  3. The temperature test always perplexed me. Why on earth would you wear gloves and a scarf in 80 degree weather regardless of the season? On the other hand, I've noticed that American teenagers like to pull out the shorts and flipflops in 40 degree weather in April so maybe we are not so reasonable after all.

  4. I know, they really are funny about the temperature thing. Every time we go out to run an errand, my husband always reminds me to put on a sweater or jacket, followed by a little proverb: en avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil. En mai, fais ce qui te plait! It more or less means that in April you shouldn't uncover yourself, not even a thread! But in May you may do as you please. Is it May yet? I'm getting sick of sweating 24/7!