“Do you miss Paris?” This is a question I hear approximately every week. (For those of you who are new to this marvel of a blog, I moved back from Paris to New York five months ago.) My internal defense mechanism immediately triggers a flashback to my former Parisian HSBC teller, a human allergen of a man who used to take his sweet time finishing his goûter (afternoon snack), before reluctantly buzzing me in and then taking another twenty minutes to deposit my check, a process that required more signatures than an identity change – a vision that causes me to quickly shake my head and sing an ode to American customer service.
Yet, if I pause on this question for just a little bit longer, all the things that I do miss about Paris start coming back in nostalgic waves: the croissants, the well-curated museums, the long iPhone-free dinners, trains that actually function as trains and not as sporadic stars passing through th night (I’m talking to you, MTA!), people speaking instead of shouting, the list goes on. If I really strain my brain, I will even get around to conjuring a few things I miss about the most questionable part of Paris – its men, a topic we have deciphered to pieces but will revive once again in honor of the Paris Fashion Week extravaganza currently happening on the other side of the Atlantic!
1. Well-cut suits. Only after witnessing a morning commute bustling with guys in ill-fitting, untailored, synthetic monstrosities (these things are actual fire hazards, hence would not survive a day in smoker’s paradise Paris!), does one start appreciating Parisians men’s collective ability to look polished regardless of budget. The formula is actually quite simple: buy a classic wool suit, visit your local tailor, splurge on a cashmere sweater and scarf, rock womens’ hearts.
2. Adult eating habits. Sure, French men are skinny, but that’s more of a constitutional thing, as they actually eat in a very balanced way, inspiring one to do the same. New York men, on the other hand, fall into two extreme categories: they either like to dine out on a freshly killed farm animals, or prefer to avoid meat, gluten, dairy, life altogether, diminishing their testosterone along with their BMI.
3. The scooters. I never thought I’d say this, but nothing feels as cool as being driven home down the winding Parisian streets on the back of a scooter whilst fretting for your existence. Being Ubered home simply doesn’t cut it.
4. Humility. The pervasive aura of cockiness that New York men exude is perhaps the number one thing grinding at my nerves at the moment. Why does every man feel the need to roll into a date like he would into a pitch meeting, armed with jokes and one-liners and a micro-presentation of his main selling points. (Live in Chelsea! Founded start-up! Love to travel!) Perhaps, because French men aren’t taught from childhood that the biggest ego in the room always wins, they actually precipitate conversations, as opposed to seizing all the space in the room with self-imposed monologues.
On that note…
5. Conversations. I will be the first to say that the New York go-getter mentality tops Parisian negativity any day. Yet, I miss the French ability to dig deep and dwell on topics instead of simply listing autobiographical facts, cross referencing summer plans, and debating the effects of modern technology.
6. Eloquence. If they stick to their native language, French men have a unique ability to make everything they say sound defiantly sexy, which is definitely not the case for most Anglophones, unless they happen to be blessed with a British or Aussie accents.
7. The kiss at the end of the date. Again, this is something that took me by surprise. After not being kissed after good dates about consecutive five times (I;m talking about people who actually texted me the next day!), I have come to miss the straightforward French way of letting that Emotion flag fly!