While we grow up thinking about love in black and white, they grow up inscrutably grey.As post 50s swell the ranks of the online dating market looking for love, this French flower metaphor takes on new luster that merits reflection.
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A few days ago, as an American friend of mine was telling me all about her new boyfriend and how he had asked her out with flowers, I realized how different courtship and dating is for teens in France and the US. Americans go on formal dates; we keep things secret. The word “date” has no equivalent in French, and it’s simply because we don’t go on them.
Americans only say “I love you” after months of dating. You might wonder how people get to know each other then.
Well, we usually go out in groups and meet within this social group. If you are already friends with the guy, you just spend more time together, get a coffee after school or share a meal at your apartment, and flirt a little bit.
If you just met at a party, well, you kiss, and things evolve naturally.
The man-meets-woman language in France represents a major cultural difference for Americans.
When a man asks a French woman out and she says no, he might recognize this as a form of coy flirting and the desire to be pursued.
And when we do ask our love interest if he wants to have a relationship, it’s because we already kissed or at least gotten really close. There’s no such thing as DTR (Defining The Relationship) because exclusivity is implied.
Once two people kiss while sober (French teenagers drink a lot, as it’s legal), they can already consider the other one as their boyfriend/girlfriend, and assume the relationship is going to be exclusive — there’s no need to define it.
Everyone has romantic notions about dating in Paris. In movies, books, magazine articles, on Pinterest boards, blogs and Instagrams throughout the world, people tend to see the city through a very rosy, amourous lens.
Culturally speaking, the French do have a certain preoccupation with love and romance.
The French often meet their significant other through their social circle at group get-togethers rather than “date" people they hardly know.