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Day 345: Become a French Wife?

Illustration by Inslee Haynes

I was just thinking last week that a few months have passed since I've last heard from Lucien, and was wondering if he has finally gotten that there is no point for us to stay in communication because of what a jerk he was. I know what you may be thinking, after our last exchange, why would he ever contact me again? I know I wouldn't contact me, I was such a bitch. But just like clockwork, I had a message from him waiting for me in my in-box this morning, requesting to meet up with me. It's incredible how he just keeps coming back. We're going on almost three years of this and it still hasn't sunk in that it's over. He may have gone to some fancy shmancy French University but boy is this guy is dense.

While I could have entertained myself with a snide response, my days of punishing him are over and the e-mail went unanswered and filed in a folder dramatically labeled "The Vault"; a land where all ex-boyfriend e-mails live and co-exist. I like to go through some of these messages when I want a good laugh over relationships with people I don't even know anymore, and how they were so dire and serious at the time. As you can imagine, MF's e-mails haven't yet reached comedic status, but give me another year and perhaps I'll allow myself to see the bright side.

Thinking about Lucien, and reading back on our e-mails and some of my posts that I have scribbled about him, I started to feel a little bad. Perhaps I have been too hard on him. Just as I was going to feel shame and write an apologetic note, I stumbled upon this e-mail that snapped me out of my nostalgia, reminding me exactly why I think he is such an ass, and that he deserves getting pushed around a bit by me. This is how this guy broke up with me:

(Note: This e-mail has been copied and pasted directly from the original e-mail...if you can believe it.)

"I never said you're a fat girl ; I was talking about your thighs & hips fats / cellulites [sic] problems that are common for all women, especially you and I was suggesting that you could at least, try, T-R-Y, again T-R-Y, to work on it by running around the Eiffel Tower, so please don't say "Lucien says I'm fat" I'm saying that you are fat in general and you are an unfortunate girl who needs to work harder than others to achieve a slim figure. That's all !"

That's all? Oh well, okay...

He continued to say...

"I must now go my own way and reflect on my life. Below, please see this article that will justify my actions and help you with your new life in France. Courage." 

You read that correctly, he included an article to soften the blow of him breaking up with me for my "hips fats."


As if providing reading material wasn't offensive enough, the title alone is enough to make your jaw drop. I invite you to read it. I'll wait...

Written by an English woman who offers her "expert" advice and a set of rules to abide by, should you dare become a French femme. The article, where she is basically justifying her French husband Pascal's ludicrous demands and emotionally abusive behavior as being a cute French thing, and thinking she is très chic for abiding, takes ridiculous generalizations to the next level. And we thought "Bringing Up Bébé" was bad! I seldom criticize other Anglo's observations and experiences in France, but this article made me question the writer's self-worth and her credentials (besides being in an unhealthy marriage with a French man) to write this article. I couldn't help but think of her as someone who wanted to fit in with the cool girls in high school and is now carrying her desperate need for approval into her marriage and life in France while becoming "sleeker and chicer version" of her former self. How sad. It's stupid articles like this that freak my mom out and confirm my grandmother's suspicions that France might not the place for me, even when I plea with them that these are extremes.

I was fresh off the boat when I first read this and while I was appalled by these words, I was in no position to question its validity because it very much could have been accurate. At the time, what did I know? Now having several French relationships in France under my belt, I can say that this article is incredibly misguided, false and tragic. Perhaps it was meant to read as tongue-in-cheek observation of inter-cultural marriages in France but to me, it read as a woman who will do anything to fit into a 1970's cliche of the French, and degrading herself to live up to the impossible expectations of her creepball husband who believes that a fat wife is grounds for a divorce, and takes away her wine should she pour herself a second glass (something she has allowed herself to do no less than five times). The second glass? Oh, Pascal and I would not get along.

While I have certainly picked some questionable suitors, each relationship secures my belief that no man, French or not, is worth marrying if he has an obvious lack of respect for you...and controls what you eat and drink. Am I crazy here? Perhaps I am wrong and this is an honest portrayal of marrying a French man. After all, I never made it down the aisle in France. So I'm asking my ladies who are married to French men, do any of her points ring true for you? Do your husbands tell you what to wear to the market, criticize your weight, control your drinking and expect that you prepare a home cooked meal for eight of his friends with an hours notice?! If so, I'm hightailing the hell out of France!

26 comments:

  1. Oh. My. God. That is horrible and hilarious! what a jerk!

    I had a similar experience last week, where I was going to message an ex for his birthday, but now that facebook has linked messages and chat, when I pulled up the page to write him, I read through some of our last convos which reminded me what an ass he was and kept me from giving in and writing him. What is wrong with men?

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  2. the person who wrote that article is back in the bews in UK with an article in the Daily Mail about the fact that women do not like her because she is so beautiful - article went viral - google her Samantha Brick and realise that she is a very deluded lady about many things I would never take advice from her and wait till you see Pascal!!!! Take care.

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    1. AHHHHH!!! I just saw Hoda and Kathy Lee mentioning this on their show!!! I can't believe it's the same woman. I guess I didn't pay attention to the name. Shame on me.

      She's insane. Now it all makes sense. Now Lucien is ever MORE of an asshole for attaching this woman's article in his break-up e-mail! Wow.

      Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. So juicy. : )

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  3. Maybe it's because my (French) husband lived in the States for 10 years that he is pretty easy to live with. Also, I don't put up with much of anything. If he tried to take away a second glass of wine he might end up with the wine in his lap. He has been critical about a meal a few times in front of guests but I really came down on him hard when they left and he knows better now. I find many French men, especially younger ones, to be very spoiled by their mothers and expecting special care and never helping in the kitchen, etc.

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  4. Just like there are cliches about French people, there is the cliche that American/British women turn into fat, alcoholic fatties who go shopping in their pajamas after you marry them. So pizza and beer set off alarm bells in French heads. (but not dessert, everyone has the right to eat dessert).

    I'm sure my (french) husband (and my mother in law) would like to point out when I have put on weight or drank too much, but if they did, they would pull back a mangled claw. If he wanted a passive French wife, he would have married one.

    Poor Lucien. He just dug himself deeper and deeper trying to defend himself. I'm glad you didn't listen to him. You would be an uptight chain smoking miserable bitch (which is what he will end up with) instead of a laugh out loud blogger full of joie de vivre.

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    1. Yes, I've heard the cliche about us turning into fat drunks with roots. It's so funny and in some cases so true.

      It's all about balance...enjoying life yet staying healthy, that's all. Lucien was an idiot and it was easy to get over him! I'm not even tempted to take him up on meeting me. Why would I?!

      I'm glad that you have a healthy relationship with your French in-laws. : )

      "laugh out loud blogger full of joie de vivre" Love that! Thank you!!!

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  5. I just read the other article. Wow.

    Maybe if she stopped being too beautiful (dressing like a fifteen year old) men would stop sending over bottles of bubbly (propositioning her because she looks like a hooker).

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    1. It's ridiculous, right? I wonder what he editor thought when she submitted this fine piece...it makes me laugh.

      As for the being too beautiful bit, sometimes it's best if you let people discover your beauty. No one wants to be told what to think, even if it might be remotely true.

      Ah, I love the internet. Never a dull moment, eh? : )

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  6. Oh my goodness, La Brique stricks again! Did you see the picture of her husband on the article about how hot she is, this makes it even more hilarious! I do actually know a couple that seem to fit this pattern a little bit i.e. we'll go out and she'll stop after a couple of glasses of wine because she's seeing him the next day and it's "his time" and he'll be upset if she's not perky in the morning or whatever. But not quite this bad, I don't think. He INSPECTS her?? He TAKES AWAY HER WINE? Lord almighty.

    The bit about French women kind of rings partly true, not that I've noticed them being very forward about propositioning men, but they do seem to do the girly night out less and be very suspicious if there's anyone within 100m of their man.

    Glad you've moved on from horrible Lucien!! I'm not saying let yourself go completely or whatever, but I try to take the attitude that if they're with me after seeing the "hips and thighs fat" then they presumably don't have a problem with it and I shouldn't be hung up on it either.

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    1. Yes! I googled "Pascal". Oh la la. He said that if anyone says anything bad about his wife, he'll shoot them, so I'm going to watch what I say. I really don't need a "Day 363: Get shot by Pascal" post.

      The inspecting thing creeped me out, but I can't help but think she is just looking for reaction. There's no way a college educated woman who has worked in the corporate world would accept that. There's no way...

      As for her point about women, I hate to generalize that it's just French women, American women do shady things too, I think it's women in general...some can be such predators!

      Yes, I'm definitely over Lucien. It took me a whole two weeks to get over him. He made it pretty easy. : )

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  7. Oh Lucien.. he sounds like a guy I've bumped into after a night at the bar.. who I just tore apart in French cracking jokes. They just don't give up! I said a dirty word in French and he was like, "Why do you say that? You are a woman" and I continued talking about dicks, balls, sperm etc.. And he still didn't walk away until 20 mins later! (Wish I had it on tape!)

    That article is horrible. No, my Frenchman doesn't comment on my weight, he knows it'll piss me off. Anyway, he's a guy who likes curves (those are the ones I get, they're just usually not white boys! ha). He had commented on some things in the beginning of the relationship though, like my clothing and my hair (which has changed, for better though!).. which makes me wonder!!!! I def got the feeling that I needed to dress a bit chicer with him.

    The girls night out thing is interesting.. My girls night outs are mostly with non French, and the ones who are French are usually lesbian/bi. When I've gone out with a French girl it's usually 1 on 1 or with couples. But, I'm still here for under a year; will keep my observation glasses on. :P

    Next time a guy comments on your hips and thighs fats you can tell them you are sure to keep it that way - for when you sit on their face there will be some cushion. ;-D

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    1. Perhaps you were with Lucien! That sounds like something he'd say. Good for you for having a little fun. You guys were at a bar for pete's sake!

      Don't get me wrong, I believe in looking nice for your man. When Seb comes over, I have a little make up on, hair presentable and a nice outfit, but it's done for me, not because he demands it. She has to be kidding...no woman would accept that. The article is too extreme. It's a joke...right?

      That's interesting, I too wasn't able to comment on her observation on French women, I wouldn't know. I have a few French girlfriends who would never do that (or at least I think), but I really don't know.

      This writer is entertaining to say the least and I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks she's a little "off"...to say the very least. : )

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  8. Wow! That article was absurd. She just sounds like she has a possessive husband that doesn't treat her very well. Then when I saw the name, I recognized her most recent attempt at being famous. Seriously, she is completely ridiculous.

    And you know, so is Lucien for even sending you that nonsense. So happy he is out of your life.
    xo

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    1. Isn't it crazy?! Each line is packed full of cray.

      I think you're right though, her "attempt at being famous", she just likes to be in the headlines...and lucky for us she is, because she is so beautiful.

      Her beauty truly blinds me. : )

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  9. Someone beat me to the Samantha Brick punch! That woman is a moron and I refuse to waste anymore words on her.
    Lucien is a moron too, he needs to find his very own Samantha Brick and then they can disappear up their own a**es together and live delusionally ever after.
    Wooh! I'm feeling feisty this morning!

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    1. Whoa! Sara Louise! You go girl! I've never "seen" you like this. I like it. : )

      You know, I didn't even know it was her when I wrote the post! A reader had to tell me. I was just going through old emails and came across this article Lucien sent me as an explanation for his behavior.

      Once I found out it was the "cray ball" that thinks she's too beautiful for everyone, it all made sense. It's so appropriate that Lucien would send this to me. Jerk!

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  10. Sorry I'm so late to the reply game for this one. Anyways that article was so annoying. I've read much better "top 10 french wife" lists before... we are who we are and it seems that Seb is in that camp versus taking away your glass of wine or buying an exercise bike for your apartment (who has the space!?) You will one day make the PERFECT hybrid American/French wife :) x

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    1. How creepy is this article?! I'm sure it was intended to be funny but it reads terribly.

      LOL! The exercise bike for the apartment is the best! What an eyesore that would be...especially in a little Parisian apartment.

      How did the "hop" go? Deets! : )

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  11. I read that article expecting to see a beautiful, stunning woman. Instead I got, at least by American standards, an average-looking female. I'm sure I will be criticized for making judgement on her appearance (and in turn it can be used as evidence of her claims that women are jealous of her), but SHE brought the topic into discussion by proclaiming that she is too beautiful for a meaningful and real friendship with another woman. This is an interesting accusation... mainly because I, personally, would sooner link it to her narcissistic personality.

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    1. Bep - I think you are jealous of her. LOL! No, this woman LOVES attention. She's notorious for making blanket statements all for the sake of getting a response. I've read her other articles and they all all along these lines. She's nuts.

      I love the "by American standards" bit - our standards really are high, aren't they?

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  12. I was so disgusted by this article and after seeing that she was the woman that wrote the article about being "too beautiful" it all makes sense. She is completely delusional!

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    1. She's nuts but maybe it's her sparkling personality that wins people over....? Who knows! Ha! Thanks for commenting!

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  13. It isn't nice to be judgemental about anyone's appearence but this lady has opened the door herself to it.
    She is far from being a beauty and her attitude doesn't help her looks much. And the husband...holy cow, who does he think he is?
    Ella dear, you've had more than your share of assholes in your young life, I'm so happy you've gained the self confidence and respect to make that a thing of the past.
    I think you should pile up all that toxic trash you have in the form of emails and make use of one of mankind's best inventions...the delete button.
    Sylvia

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    1. Attitude really does make someone beautiful, and someone who is shoving their beauty down everyone's throats puts themselves at risk for it to backfire on them. I lived in LA - I know the type!
      This woman loves reactions and has published several articles that have pushed buttons. It's sort of her thing. I look forward to her latest pieces now. It's like 'what is she going to say now?'. Entertaining stuff!

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  14. I am not married to a Frenchman but nearly married one. American or British men are your best bet if looking for equality and I've dated around the globe. You wanted honesty, you got it!

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I think we're all entitled to our own opinion based on our experiences. Unfortunately, I have had bad luck with dating Anglos. Not sure why. Perhaps I've picked the wrong ones. Who knows. I have since found a fantastic French guy, and we're marrying in the spring. : )

      ps - I really do love honest responses, but you don't have to hide behind an anonymous user name.

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