French Women, Slightly Decoded


Judging by the New York Times bestseller list alone, it appears that the whole world is fascinated by the mystery that is the French woman. How is she so skinny? How are her kids so well-behaved? Is she actually sort of a bitch?

The other night over drinks, I gave one of my French girlfriends free reign of my Tinder. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that every guy she spoke in the course of two hours ended up falling in love with the French version of me. The French version of me did not over type, she did not over share, she exuded an aura of mystery by keeping her answers short, yet never appearing rude. Reading back the messages, I myself started growing intimidated by this alluring creature of so few words, yet seemingly so much substance.

And so, I decided to go where many have gone before and attempt to decipher what it is that makes the French woman so endlessly fascinating, particularly in relation to the opposite sex.

1. She don’t feel the need to fill the space.  I personally hate awkward silences and will go far lengths to avoid the discomfort, often making people feel as if they are spectators on a one-woman comedy show that’s about to go off the air. A French woman will never blab n’importe quoi to if she has nothing to say. She will simply keeps quiet and listen, which makes her that much more intimidating.

2. She’s hot. Then she’s cold. Instead of engaging in the typical flirtatious Tinder banter, my friend would start by rewarding the guy with one direct compliment. Naturally, this did wonders for his ego, which she then quickly brought down by acting aloof or ignoring him altogether, sending the poor chap on a confused emotional roller coaster. (Particularly a fellow named Popeye, who is still writing to me six days later.)

3. She’s a bit nostalgique. Unlike Americans, the French are not taught that they can sprout wings and unicorn horns upon their heart’s desire. Therefore, French women don’t have an over-inflated sense of self and are often genuinely shy. En plus, being slightly sad is a French person’s natural habitat – just watch any French film, and you will see a young woman sulking around miserably, nose buried in a depressing book with a one-world title.

4. She’s quite poetic. Maybe its all that reading, but French people are generally far more eloquent and prosaic than the rest of us – a text message exchange between a lovestruck couple is often more literally challenging than Rimbaud. Of course, us foreigners find this endlessly glamorous, up until the point when we actually have to deal with the nonsensical bullshit that we are culturally unprepared for.

4. She’s independent. A guy I recently went out with actually told me that he was tired of Parisian girls “using him for sex” and then discarding of him, which I found rather entertaining. Indeed, France is becoming increasingly gender equality oriented, resulting in an noticeable growth of independence amongst women. Considering that there’s also less pressure to get married and have babies within a certain time frame, French women tend to enjoy their lives without worrying too much about the repercussions.

5She is at ease with her sexuality. With the exception of being skinny, French women generally feel less pressure to abide to fixed beauty standards. Long and lithe and not at all perfect, they embrace their flaws and carry themselves gracefully, resulting in a natural confidence that is far sexier than anything offered by the Kim K’s of the world. Amen.


  • I recently started reading your blog, and I LOVE it. You are so authentic and offer a unique perspective by living in NY and now residing in Paris; I feel like I am really getting the inside scoop on the French…


    • Thanks so much Kaley! I actually moved back to NYC this past fall, but there is most definitely an extensive Paris archive, not to mention stories by Paris-based contributor Jordan Nadler! Thanks so much for reading and for your support!

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