Day 272: Getting Tracked Down.

Je suis là!
Illustration by Blanca Gomez

Since coming back into town, it has been so nice catching up with my friends. The welcome back that I've received from real-life friends to cybermates has been truly heart-warming, reminding me that I am home. This sure as hell beats last year where I was the least popular girl in town. In fact, so unpopular that I went back to buying phone credits at the tabac because my 45 euros a month plan was a waste of money. But it's a new year with new friends, and if I had to go through all of the madness of last year to find these incredible people, it was well worth the trouble. No one ever said that good things come easy.

Thanks to social networking, news of my return traveled fast and my e-mail and Facebook in-boxes were bursting with notes from friends wanting to meet up. Ok, I'm exaggerating, it hasn't been "bursting" but there have been enough to make me feel special and loved. Isn't that what we're all looking for?

Now that it has been a week and have touched base with my core posse of friends, the dust has settled on the commotion of my return and my inbox is back to normal with messages from friends.

I woke up this morning and had two messages waiting for me in my Facebook message box. Expecting it to be from one of them wanting to shoot the breeze on chat and looking forward to them filling me in on the Superbowl, I was disappointed to learn that it was not from Brett or Thomas, but rather from MF...and Lucien. Double whammy! It's like I have a GPS on me where ex-boyfriends are alerted when I'm in Île-de-France.

MF's message read as if we were old friends who haven't caught up in a while: "I haven't received any news from you! I know you are in have my number! Bise."

News? Why do I owe him any news? Since I refuse to play the puffy coat game, we are not friends, and I'm still very upset with him about many things, he will not be getting any "news" from me anytime soon. Next.

Lucien's message was less annoying but still presumptuous: "Hello! I see you are in Paris. Let's take a coffee at Café Le Basil."

Oh geez. Lucien is sniffing around like he does every year to see if I am dating someone. The truth is that Lucien doesn't really bother me, in fact, I find him extremely entertaining because of what an idiot he is. Before I could close out of Facebook, I heard an instant message alert with a new chat was from Lucien.

Lucien: Hello.
Ella: Hi Lucien. How are you?
Lucien: Good, good. You are back in Paris, I hear.
Ella: Yes, it's good to be back. Cold...but good to be back.
Lucien: I see.
Ella: You see what?
Lucien: I see you love Parisian living.
Ella: Sure I do...but like any place there are both good and bad points.
Lucien: I prefer the energy and beat of New York.
Ella: The "beat" of New York? Like 103.5 KTU?
Lucien: What is a KTU?
Ella: LOL, what have you been up to?
Lucien: Not much, enjoying Paris life, wishing I was in NYC, interested in going to some intellectual cocktail parties, having one cocktail and talking about art and writing.

Four minutes pass....

Lucien: Hello?
Ella: You're still looking for your intellectual cocktail parties? I remember you telling me that when you moved to NYC you want to hobnob with Woody Allen and The Strokes at parties. Is that happening?
Lucien: Not yet. LOL. But I really want to sit around and drink one cocktail and discuss Tolstoy or Nietzsche at a library cafe likes Les Editeurs in St. Germain.
Ella: And you think Woody Allen and The Strokes want to do that wit you? 
Lucien: Why not? :-)
Ella: Also, why do you keep putting an emphasis on having "ONE" cocktail? It's annoying...
Lucien: I remember when we were together you enjoyed your cocktails very much....
Ella: Yes...and I still do. Are you trying to make a point? 
Ella: And by the way, I drank wine, you make it sound like I was Miss Hannigan with a flask of Bathtub Gin in my garter, stumbling around parties. Although that would have been kind of fun...#mentalnote
Lucien: I make no insult, I just remember you wouldn't have been able to have just one cocktail at a party...
Ella: Party being the operative word here.
Lucien: I see...

Is it just me, or is he kind of annoying? Yet, I can never stop myself from getting sucked into talking to him. He is just so ridiculous that I can't resist. It's sort of like watching "Kourt and Kim Take New York." 

Ella: Sooooo...Valentine's Day is coming up...seeing anyone special?
Lucien: I have options but make no commitments. No one meets my beauty plus intellectual demands..I know I am difficult to please..I am living the workaholic life in libraries, analyzing papers, deep thinking and I must wait for the right women to come to me.
Ella: To go to intellectual cocktail parties with...?
Lucien: Exactly.
Ella: So what you are looking for is someone with the looks and body of Gisele Buncheon, the biting wit of Tina Fey, and the intellect of Simone de Beauvoir who doesn't mind that you're broke, not very attractive and on top of everything, kind of an jerk? Tall order, my friend...

Five minutes later...

Lucien: I see that you still paint our relationship black and cannot move past how I have insulted you in the past...have fun in Paris.

..and he was gone.

This is why it's generally not a great idea to talk to ex-boyfriends whom you have no feelings for and find incredibly irritating because you'll just end up making fun of them to their face. Ex-boyfriends sometimes are like taxes, they come back around once a year and ignoring them does not, I repeat does not make them go away. Like taxes, they will only come back with more interest. Which reminds me, I need to do my return...

Anyway, it's been a fantastic week back and am looking forward to the next few months of positive challenges, excitement, and new beginnings. Paris, I've missed you.


  1. Okay, so I know "my people" are known to go too far with the boozing on occasion, but that judgementalness of (some) French guys is definitely the annoying flipside. I remember I was minding my own business in the park once and this guy who was trying to pick me up acted like I was an alcoholic when I said my plans for the evening were to go home, make dinner and have a glass of wine - because apparently hitting on strangers gives you the right to judge their perfectly reasonable lifestyle choices?

    1. It is annoying. Even if it's that second glass of wine on a Tuesday night seems to invite "comments". Seb isn't like this that's why we get along so well, he in fact enjoys his second glass of wine as well.

      But yes, I've dealt with these comments A LOT here in France and I really don't get it. I have friends divorcing over this (a Franco-American couple)...crazy, right?

      This on will always be a mystery to me...I had one guy tell me that he didn't think I'd live to 40 because I have wine every night (2 glasses!!!!!!) infuriating!

  2. Ugh, an IM ping from an old flame is the worst! You can't sign off immediately and you're forced into an awkward back and forth. I really need to learn how to change my settings for those people to invisible.

    1. Yes, beware of the IM can be from anyone! Creepy, huh?

      Lucien is entertaining so i actually enjoy talking to him but with the others I just deleted was easier. :)

      Why do exes always creep back?? I find its always the ones that broke up with you that have a guaranteed bounce-back rate! he he he!

  3. Lol, that makes me want to go out and have ONE cocktail, many many times, just to spite someone I don't know.

    1. You go have that ONE cocktail! I'll have the second for you! :)

      How annoying is this guy?! When we broke up, I went down to the brasserie at La Motte-Picquet and had TWO mojito royales! It felt GREAT.

  4. "Lucien: I have options but make no commitments. No one meets my beauty intellectual demands..I know I am difficult to please..I am living the workaholic life in libraries, analyzing papers, deep thinking and I must wait for the right women to come to me."

    I like myself. Who do you like?

    Is he fer real?! What a pompous ass!:) That loser has a serious chip on his shoulder:)

    The fact that you see him exactly for what he is shows how much you've learned and growned. Power to you, girl!:)

    Funny, I recently received an email from an ex who used and abused me in my 20s, and I let him because I was painfully lonely and had very low self-esteem after a destructive relationship... I'll have to tell you about that when we meet one day. It's a long story and in the end, I get the last word without ever wanting it. And it happens in a super cosmic way... I think you'd love it!:)

    1. Ahahahaha. What an ass, right?

      Thomas emailed me and was like "there is no way that this guy said these way!". I copy and pasted the exact convo and emailed it to him. He was stunned.

      This is why I love Lucien stories because they are far out! I had TONS more...! The guy is on another planet. I was sad over this break-up for exactly one week and then it became the biggest joke.

      Oh no, what did your creepy ex say? Oh I want to know! The things we accepted in our early twenties is heart-breaking. I was open to such a abuse too...never wanting to come across as "needy" or "demanding" while completely lowering my standards on how I should be treated.

      You seem like you have the perfectionist bug like I do..wanting to be perfect girlfriend even if it meant accepting pure bullshit. Good thing those days are over, right? :)

    2. GROWN... not GROWNED... oh dear...;)

      No, the guy is perfectly nice now... cuz he's lonely and can't keep a girlfriend. The mind boggles..;)

    3. Can't keep a girlfriend....exactly...


  5. I think someone has a rather high opinion of himself.
    And who the hell wants to talk about Niche and Tolstoy in French with only ONE cocktail?! I'd rather jab a pencil in my eye. What a twat.
    bis x

    1. Twat's the word, my dear!;)

    2. LOL! You don't want to talk about Tolstoy in French sober?!?! Sara Louise, I guess you aren't cut-out for intellectual cocktail parties either!! : P

      As you can tell, this guy was nuts.

      Ahahahahah, I love this story..Lucien never fails to entertain!

  6. There are some people who like to manipulate and control people and they are good at figuring out when someone is vulnerable. MF, Lucien and Phil aren't special or clever. If you had never met them some other asshole would have sensed you were vulnerable and found you. And you would have got over it just like you did with them. They should probably just admit defeat, accept that there isn't room in your life for them anymore and prey on someone weaker next time.

    Unless someone has experienced moving to a big city alone, I don't think they can understand the pressure to make it and the loneliness and emotional exhaustion. And to do all that with a language and cultural barrier makes it ten times harder. So it's easier for people to weasel their way in when they say they want to "help" you or act like a "friend". In normal life, when you meet new people, you aren't distracted by finding an apartment/job etc. And if your radar is off, a friend, or co-worker will catch it for you. Maybe for you, because you seem like you have a pretty strong personality and people normally wouldn't try and manipulate you, it was something you had never dealt with before so you weren't aware of the signs.

    That's just my two cents. I don't know you, but I admire the fact that you picked yourself up and kept fighting at a time when most people would have thrown in the towel and gone home.

    1. Thank you so much for taking them time to write your comments. They are quite insightful. Thank you, truly.

      MF and Lucien, I give them a pass because of cultural differences, language barriers, immaturity and fear. I poke fun at both of them but I really do wish them both the best and hope they find mates that work with their personalities. I don't think they took pleasure in hurting me. I sincerely believe that.

      Phil...he sniffed out my insecurities and exploited them. For example, my father was in AA for 25 years before he passed away in 2004, Phil knew this and would accuse me of being an alcoholic. He would condescendingly tell me that he was worried that I wouldn't live beyond 40 because I drink two to three glasses of wine a night, read my book and go to sleep (Party animal...I know).

      3 glasses is plenty (I agree)...but trying to brainwash me to think that I had a major drinking problem because it runs in my family and I just don't realize it because I'm "so drunk" is abusive.

      Kitty wanted me to move back to NY right after everything happened but I wanted to stick out a little longer and see what could happen. I'm so glad that I did! I knew that I was supposed to be here and had to overcome a few challenges. Now I know the beauty and the grim side of this city!

    2. What's lower than low? Oh...your dad died? That sucks. Oh he drank too much? That must have been tough. Now how can I turn a painful experience that you trusted me enough to share so I can use it against! Who does that?

      French people drink a lot. They just do it with meals. Otherwise they might relax and the stick would fall out of their ass.

      So, you are a stranger in a strange land.... and at the end of the day you can't go watch a movie with a friend, you can't curl up on the couch and watch trashy television, you can't go shop at your favorite store because you don't have one, yet you are in the land of cheap wine, cheese and pastries. What else are you supposed to indulge in?? Oh, I know. You are supposed to only depend on your "friend" to help you through it. Pffffft.

    3. Just an FYI, Phil isn't French. He's an American in Paris who painfully does not speak French.

      I'd chalk our interaction up to cultural differences but I can't because he's a "ricain" just like me. So his judgements were designed to be evil. He'd say something really mean and fucked up to me after I'd had a glass of wine and call me a drunk if I defended myself. Can you believe it?!

      Also, my dad was sober by the time I was born, so I only knew him as a teetotaler! :)

    4. I just meant to show how twisted his head thinks and how he turns something you said into an entirely different story to make himself look like a concerned friend instead of controlling.

      My husband didn't eat bacon and eggs for breakfast when he lived in the US, he continued to have hot chocolate and bread, and I'm not going to stop enjoying drinks after work just because French people aren't into it.

    5. I think there's nothing I despise more than people who use other people's secrets and vulnerabilities to hurt them.

      Now it's quite simple with me. You smack me with one thing I told you in confidence, even as a "joke" (hahaha, I though you said...) and you're OUT. I'm a busy woman. I have very little free time for myself and those who matter, I certainly don't want to waste any energy on pathetic people who are not worth it! I've done it enough in my 20's...

  7. Lucien seems like a caricature of a parisien. They are so full of self-loathing and insecurity and they cover it up with arrogance. They are afraid of being vulnerable so they have inappropriate/undefined relationships.

    One of the first french girls I met in Paris was an intern at my husbands company when he was in the US. She only hung out with guys who were married or had girlfriends. She hadn't had a boyfriend in years. She tagged along whenever we went somewhere (and my husband always paid for all of "us").

    I was already starting to get annoyed because she was calling my husband at work to bitch about the married/not single guys she was hanging out with, but it was only when she invited herself out with my husband and I when my best friend was in town that it crystalized in my head and I realized what I had been putting up with for a year. She came into my house speaking french (she always spoke english before this), completely ignored my friend and me, and spent the whole night talking to my husband. The last straw was when she asked him to hold her Marc Jacobs bag while she went to the bathroom.

    1. This girl sounds awful! She was having YOUR husband hold her bag? Oh that would annoy me to no end.

      Why did she only hang out with couples or taken men? I guess I know the answer to that but it just seems like too much effort. I'd rather a nice single guy, it's only logical! I don't get women sometimes...

      I take it that this girl is long gone? Did your best friend who was visiting see the situation clearer than you did? It's so funny how that happens...we can get so caught up in something and not see that it is terribly wrong, when it takes someone from outside, to detect it in seconds. It's true when they say that we can't always see whats going on around us. Scary, huh?

    2. I think it's why I relate to your story and something other people might not understand. I thought Skype and phone calls would mean I could keep in touch, but with the time difference, they are drinking coffee and I'm drinking (lots of) wine. It's two different vibes. So I spent time with people here, like her. At least they were in the same time zone. And I found her "parisian" arrogance charming, because I didn't realize it was also directed at me.

      Nothing is the same as sitting in the same room talking. That's when those little details that have been bothering me but don't seem like that big of a deal all come out into the open and form a bigger picture. It only took a few hours of having a "real" friend here for that to happen.

      She was able to see exactly what I was talking about and validate that I wasn't just being insecure, something I suffered a lot when I got here.

      Unfortunately my husband won't agree with me. So we agree to disagree. But the gravy train of free drinks, tickets and food has stopped and strangely we haven't seen her much.

    3. Some women just like to weasel their way between people and stir the pot! I had one such "friend" in a new town overseas who just POISONED an already fucked-up relationship that I should never have been in... but eMerly's above description about lowering your standards because you're in a new place, drained and painfully lonely is right on target!

  8. There is nothing more tempting or awful than online chatting. I've gotten into more stupid fights because of AIM or gchat. As you do with all your situations - you handled this so well! And ONE drink? Please (raspberry sound the French make)... as if! xxx

    1. "ONE" drink! Only ONE! LOL...come on!

      Ahh! Raspberry sound! That's so much cuter than "fart" sound, which is how I try to describe this uniquely French sound effect to my friends in the States.

      I'm using raspberry sound from now on...effective immediately!

  9. Who only drinks one drink? Considered an alcoholic after 2 cocktails is a bit extreme. You can't even get happy off of that!! I can only imagine what they would think about me if they were to see me taking tequila shots every morning. Hahaha!

    1. Thank you! I feel validated! A few glasses of wine and suddenly I qualify to be friends with Bill? But as my dad taught me drinking is the symptom not the cause..that's a whole other can of worms, anyway...

      You take tequila shots every morning?! You're bad ass!

    2. Yes girl every morning. According to my grandparents it helps with high blood pressure, cold/flu, and etc...I don't know how much truth there is to that but they've been taking shots every morning for years and have absolutely nothing wrong with them. So I figured I would give it a try as well.