Last Saturday, I headed over to Place de La Concorde and the swanky five-star Crillon Hotel, where I caught up with my dear NYC friend Gwen.
After a short stroll along the fashionable Rue du Saint Honore, we took a bus to Gwen’s neighborhood of many years ago, the Trocadero.
While enjoying wine and cheese in an outdoor café (as you do quite it a bit in Paris!), we caught up on each other’s news. Gwen told me about her upcoming travels to St. Tropez. I told her how much I’ve been enjoying my European Dating Blitz — how, in a different way from my US adventure, it’s inspired me to get out of my comfort zone big time when I get back to New York.
Later, I had the pleasure of meeting up with twentysomething single gal Lana. Lana took me to Le Paradis du Fruit, a lively Parisian restaurant chain that manages to make eating healthy delicious.
Having lived in Milan (Lana works in fashion) and born in Bellarusse, Lana shared her observations of how dating differs from country to country.
“In Italy, it’s all about beautiful girls, food, sex and beauty,” she said. “In Paris, the first question is ‘what is your job?’ Men try to stereotype you and put you in a box based on your job. The second question is ‘where do you live?’ ”
As a New York single gal, this sounded all too familiar.
Parisian men, Lana says, are very educated and polite. Less attractive — they
tend to be effeminate and rarely pay on a date. Meeting new people can be difficult because local society is very closed, with established groups that are hard to enter as a newcomer to the city.
“It’s all about which group you belong to and what connections you have,” she said.
Lana finds it difficult to know what local bachelors are really thinking or feeling because, she says, there’s so much emphasis on the rules of etiquette and superficial conversation.
“It’s all about making a good impression, but you don‘t feel a true connection.” she said. “When I meet someone, I want to really feel a connection.”
I know exactly what Lana means.