Despite my own penchant for romantic catastrophes, I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a good story about love gone right. And so, I have decided to sprinkle some dopamine-laden optimism to this blog by introducing a new feature, in which I profile happy couples on their journey to relationship success. To kick it off, I bring to you my good friend and author of The Formula Blog, Aimee Blaut, the newly Aimee Blaut Nord. Aimee is a fellow European expat who picked up her life in New York and followed true love across the Atlantic, all the way to Sweden, where she now lives with her husband, Perfect Fools motion designer Karl Nord. I had the pleasure of attending their beautiful wedding in Florida this past November (check out the pictures here!) and I can confirm firsthand that these two have something special. And so, we sat down at Hotel Amour last Sunday to talk inter-continental love, cultural differences and post-marital sex.
When it comes to dating, there seem to be two conflicting theories. One claims that, in order to attain success in your love life, you must “put yourself out there” and approach dating somewhat as a part-time occupation, “keep your eyes on the prize” and pretty much Secret your way to marital bliss. The other, more fatalist one, pronounces that “the best things happen when you least expect them”, hence you should focus on yourself and forget that the opposite sex (or the same sex – to each their own) exists altogether.
My ski story was supposed to be a Condé Nast Traveler-worthy story. It was meant to be a story about how I met a handsome stranger while sipping gluhwein on the foot of the Courchevel slopes, charming him à la Audrey Hepburn in Charade from behind my oversized Chanel shades. Instead, it ended up being a story about me showering in communal showers and getting hauled on my butt, up the slopes, through an avalanche.
It all began on a night in mid-February, as I was dining with a new acquaintance and complaining about the stagnant state of my life. It was cold, I was bored and lonely, and, horror of horrors, nobody wanted to go snowboarding with me. The snowboarding thing was a desire that had been building up inside of me for months,if not years, proliferated by the fact that I happen to live mere hours away from some of the best ski resorts in the world. Itching to finally get my feet on a snowboard and risk my life on a Black Diamond slope, I attempted recruiting every friend I could find, finally giving up when I realized than nobody shared my athletic pursuits.
After almost three years of living in France and analyzing how French women eat, breathe, play with their hair, and approach all other life missions with the effortlessness (read: laziness) that they are so renowned for, I can confidently say that I have successfully adjusted to their ways and even taken on some of their habits. A low-maintenance person by nature, I have been particularly keen on their approach the art of date dressing, dwindling down the prepping routine to a bare minimum. And so, I bring to you the French girl thought process of getting ready for a date, sprinkled with personal reflections for good measure.
Back when I was in my early twenties and the world was still an innocent place, filled with hope and promise of potential boyfriends-to-be, it was a girl’s due diligence to pay attention to her “Number”. No, I don’t mean the numbers in one’s bank account, or even that on the scale – what I am referring to is the amount of men that one allows themselves to become intimate with. A “good girl” always kept her number around 4, while the more risqué ones edged into the “under 7″ territory and usually stopped there.
Those who fell into the 1st Wedding Round and got married around 27 withdrew themselves from the Numbers game, cashing out with their husband as their final digit (at least for the foreseeable future). And then, there were the rest of us, those who did not get married and continued to date in the modern-day sh*tshow of no promises and guarantees. Their Number, previously guarded like a national treasure, continued to grow with each passing year, with even the most selective of women surpassing double-digits and stepping into the realm of what the younger them would have considered indecent and inappropriate.
Ever so often, people ask me whether I think all men are douchebags. Let me set the record straight immediately by stating that this is not the case. It is my strong belief that there is a douchebag in each and every one of us, and I am most definitely not excluded from this equation. Sometimes it is the man who is the douchebag, sometimes it is the woman, and sometimes, it’s the seventeen year-old girl who is the biggest douchebag in the room.
Let’s backtrack a bit. You see, sometime around Christmas, my teenage niece came to visit me in Paris. The unfortunate state of my love life being a family concern, she immediately began interrogating me on whether I was dating anybody at the moment. Luckily, I was ready, having prepared a perfectly decent option I assumed would earn her approval and ensure a positive report back to the homeland. As usual, I thought wrong, which is how we arrived to the disaster that now goes down in history as the most awkward night of my life, aka the Date with the Old Flower.