Hi folks out there in France-land. I am at my whits end and can almost not take anymore, so am reaching out to see if anyone has any insights that might help me continue my life here.
I need help in restoring my faith in this place…. (And apologies in advance if I am not politically-correct at times)
It has been 30 years that I have been living with Francophone women. First 10 years with one woman and just recently ended 20 years with another. I have embraced France and its’ idiosyncrasies over the years with pleasure and good humour. Heaven knows, one needs it!
Of late, however, I find myself increasingly (and rapidly) fed-up with all of the annoyances of what is Frenchness. What once used to amuse me, or I simply ignored or laughed with, is now becoming a damning indictment of something closer akin to loathing, annoyance and a general state of “damned these stupid people!”.
Certainly not a little-Englander, I voluntarily left Blighty in 1990 and have not regretted it one little bit. I have had a great time over the years, living and travelling and working quite literally in all four corners of the world. I am, I am proud to feel, a genuinely global person, with an open and accepting attitude to cultures far and wide, and an easy way with languages.
Mais les français commencent vraiment à m’énerver!!
Top of the list goes their pedantry!! Putain - if I added-up the amount of time I have wasted in shops and businesses waiting for stupid folks to stop nattering about nothing with the cashier or other “intervenants”, and always about absolutely nothing. It is their turn, and they will bloody-well make use of every remaining millisecond - especially if there are others waiting in line. I always complain that they talk and talk, but in fact are saying nothing!
This attitude has been best displayed in my recent mother in law who drives on the motorways like a monster. Her response? “I paid the tolls, it is MY road now!” And this isn’t just her, it simply illustrates a mindset that I cannot take any more and is so bloody pervasive.
This form of pedantry leaks into everything that they do - from blindly filling-in forms that in reality nobody actually needs - mais c’est comme ca! Thats not to mention the fact that there are tens of thousands of pointlessly-employed people creating those stupid forms.
To the utter stupidity of having to prove your income to someone for something completely unrelated to anything at every turn of the corner. Again, for no bloody logical reason than simply “c’est comme ca”.
When combined with the arrogance that is so deeply embedded into their mindset, this makes for an increasingly-unpleasant mindset. As an ex-Brit (in a way) I have often had to explain to folks what is the difference between the Brits and the French, and I always said that the Brits are (in general, of course) xenophobes who simply don’t like anyone from somewhere else. The French, on the other hand, are convinced of their innate superiority to everyone else.
This combination of pedantry and arrogance is so pervasive that it is causing me much concern as it is starting to seep into the minds of my 3 little French kids. They are adorable little monsters that I love totally, but increasingly I start getting feedback from them about the way I or others do things, that is displaying the emergence of the very same attitudes to others. And it is starting to freak me out!
They are saying that I am anti-French and for some time I have blindly been denying it. But ow I am starting to wonder whether the things that I once found amusing and almost endearing, are becoming a potentially dangerous hindrance to my peaceful existence here.
I am certainly not intending to leave. I have, for example, been suffering from some extremely serious health issues these last couple of years, and have found the French health system looking after me in a frankly incredible and laudable manner. They have, quite literally, saved my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
There are, I am sure, other reasons to stay (although it is starting to become a struggle to find those reasons). Once upon a menu, France was a great place to eat, but that has now gone the way of the pizza establishments that seem to populate the country these days (although obviously not in the cities).
The scenery is very beautiful in places, but a the son of a Tuscan, I can equally find other beautiful places to see and live if I were so inclined. Lord knows, I have been privileged to see some wonders around the world, so contrary to popular belief, France does NOT have the monopoly on that.
So - food and scenery are out of the window!
And that leaves what?
Renaud? As much as I have slowly grown to appreciate him due to my ex’s love of him, he does indeed represent a peculiarly French outlook that is driving me nuts. Yes, he’s a contrary misery who has smoked and drunk his life into a catatonic state, but everyone holds him dear as a son of 1968 and as such he is almost royalty!
Égalité, Fraternité, Je Veux Pété! Pu-lease - Egalité in this place? Libérté in this place? I don’t need to detail it here….
Their famous splitting of church from state is a total farce, with more public holidays linked to the christian calendar than pretty much everyone else in Europe - but they INSIST that their state is “laïc” - mon cul! Hundreds are dying of all kinds of problems, but the French seem particularly touched by the recent fires in several churches, starting with Notre Dame. The monies suddenly pouring into coffers to restore them is simply disgraceful.
I was going to go on and on with my list but started to realise that I was beginning to complain - just like a French person! The Aussies may criticise the Brits for being whingers, but honestly the French take the cake - at every single possibility.
SO WHAT AM I TO DO??
I want and need to stay here as my beloved little kiddies are here.
But it is becoming increasingly impossible to tolerate the annoyances!
I know full well that there is nowhere perfect on this planet. Everywhere has its ups and downs. I suppose, although I can’t find out what, that the UK even has some positive points to it, and if there is hope there, then there is hope for us all.
I have tried to take comfort from French women, for whom I have an EXREMELY soft spot for! But in truth the rawness and natural beauty and sexuality of them also has an immensely difficult flip side which makes them impossible to live with. And before anyone says anything on this matter (which you no doubt will…) my present feelings are in no way connected to either success nor failure with French women! Its just another nail in a very garlic-infused coffin…
Mais, les françaises…………