Thursday, July 5, 2012

Je Suis Americaine: The French Debate

America or, rather, certain pockets of America have gotten it in their head that being American is simply not good enough. I don't say this from a nationalistic standpoint but from one that is fed up with being compared, as a female, to another nation's women.

Case in point, this article, which compares the American woman's approach to love to the French woman's approach to love. Seriously? This is a definite case of comparing apples to oranges.

First off, America was built on the prudish puritanical values of our forefathers, values to which our society clings. *Gasp! I saw a nipple. How DARE she breastfeed out in public???????* So we're not as free-spirited as our French counterparts. We're still fighting for the right to have our insurance cover birth control, to choose what we want for our body, to say the word "vagina" aloud in front of congress.

Secondly, our men, by society's rules, don't give in to passion or show much of it lest they are thought to be unmanly. * Cry in public? For shame!* How can we women give in to "feel[ing] free, passionate, etc." when we're not even sure we're in an emotionally safe space/relationship to do just that? We all know stories or have had experiences of putting ourselves out into the fire only to end up badly singed or consumed.

Thirdly, our men are often reluctant to grow up, choosing to add the proverbial notch in the belt with each female conquest instead of another patch of grass to the yard behind the equally proverbial white picket fence. So going with the flow doesn't tend to be an option unless you don't mind being a f*ck-buddy or just one of the guys or having the man's dipstick checking out the oil in many different engines. Times have changed; terminal diseases (and very unpleasant ones) are rampant. Being lackadaisical about promiscuity is not the way to preserve health.

This is not just an American thing. Look, even Greek women know that getting a man where you want him takes strategy. As said in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "the man is the head but the woman is the neck. And she can turn him any way she wants."

Fourthly, our nation isn't set up for the luxury of singlehood, especially in the big cities like Miami where the standard of living is over $70,000, the cheapest rent for a very decent one-bedroom is over $1000 (if you're choosing to live away from where the work actually is then a car, car insurance, toll & gas money are a must), but, due to this being a tourist town, most jobs pay under $40-45,000 before taxes, insurance, and other deductions take place. So, unless you're one of the professionals who has a well-paying job, being single for very long can be quite a financial burden.

Fifthly (not finally), we, American women, are competing with not only other females but men in a larger number than should be deemed biologically possible.

If they aren't gay, they're married; if they aren't married; they're taken; if they aren't taken, they're caught up in the player mentality; if they aren't caught up in the player mentality, they're momma's boys; if they aren't momma's boys, they're in prison; if they aren't imprisoned, they're dead. Out of the small number of available men, you've got your woman beaters, your crazies, your porn addicts, your video game addicts, your drama-filled baby mommas/past relationships, your I only date x/y/z (short, tall, black, white, latin, thin, thick, models, etc.), and your too-focused/not ready to date. The men who fall into none of the aforementioned categories must be in hiding because there are mobs of women waiting to make them husband material.

While the axiom, "love comes when you least expect it" may be true, what's also true is that love comes with packages you least expect too e.g. kids, divorces, wives, credit issues, criminal records, health issues, etc. So the hunt for love has developed a criteria checklist.

Now I'm no scholar on French living, having been in Paris for a paltry six days (not my favorite city) and having only seen the grassy greenery of the French countryside out of a moving bus's window, but I'm willing to bet that French men aren't exactly like American men.

Even if they are, I'm tired of being compared as a woman and made to feel less than. Even Oprah (my (s)hero) bought into the whole be French idea a few years back. If it's not How to Love Like a French Woman, it's How to Eat Like A French Woman, How to Dress Like a French Woman, How to...

Merde. It's exhausting just being a woman (a Black one at that) in America and, now, even that's not enough.

Is it really so far-fetched of an idea that someone can actually fall in love with me, choose to be faithful to me, and desire to build a life with me-- without French-ifying myself?

Should I even bother to continue smoking this pipe dream?

Guess I'll keep waiting for love to do more than bite me in the ass.


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