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And I’ve actually had to say things like, ‘I don’t know you yet, so I’d prefer not to hold hands.’”Different than in the United States—where there’s often a moment when you define the relationship (DTR) as a couple—the French believe that there's a mutual understanding after a kiss or successful date. Abinet experienced this after a three-week vacation to France to see family friends. “I ended up on a first date with the first man I’ve ever loved.” He considered her to be his girlfriend and formed a sense of commitment immediately after that first date went well. Abinet moved to Paris just three weeks after her initial trip ended.“Couples just don't have ‘the talk’ in France,” Eileen adds.
“It's just assumed that you're together, an official couple.
“French men pay attention to things like women wearing make-up, perfume, dressing well, and they enjoy a woman’s sensuality.” This doesn’t mean they expect women to be mere ‘eye candy,’ though.
To the contrary, explains Carol: “French culture appreciates both the sensual and the intellectual."American ex-pat and writer, Pamela Druckerman, famous for her bestseller expounds that in France, while generally a much more egalitarian culture, gender equality doesn't imply that you're the exact same.
While some American women might find this annoying, the women I spoke to felt it glorious to be able to just respond with a ‘merci’ and move on with their day wearing a smile.
To Carol, who dated a French man for years, it seems a given in French culture that men and women are different and that those differences are to be celebrated—not ignored.
Halfway through our first date, he asked what I was doing the day after next and suggested a restaurant we should try.
The dates he's taken me on are much more 'cutesy' than what I previously expected from a man,” she shares.
That said, wherever you are, make sure to go into any relationship with an arsenal of healthy habits, as none of those things will need translation.“Flirting is an art form in France, and it doesn't feel objectifying or manipulative."Lightness, romance, and wit are an innate part of how the French communicate.The term ‘flirting’ comes from the word ‘fleureter,’ meaning ‘to say sweet words.’ The best part of it is, French flirting at it's finest needs no interpretation and shouldn't leave a woman wondering.“It's pretty appealing to watch a French man study a wine menu like most American men read the sports page,” admits Tamara. Before finding love in France, Abinet felt lucky if a guy stuck to a plan for a date.But in France: “He initiated dates, planned them to a tee, and never canceled.
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It moved fast, but I hear that’s normal here.” Eileen believes the faster pace of new relationships is due primarily to cultural differences.