I'm going to be honest here.
No matter how hard I try to emphasize to folks that my Paris Plan is about creativity and connecting and exploration and growth, all most people really want to hear about is one thing:
Rule #9. The guys.
And alriiiiiiight. It's kind of embarrassing to me and sort of personal, but I get it. I mean, after all, one of Paris' many nicknames is "The City of Love," right? Also, I do realize the questions and comments I hear are often about people projecting their fantasy of what dating might be like here, of all places on the planet. (Although, as I am learning, those comments and questions are not too unlike those I get about being single in The City That Never Sleeps.) (P.S. Is this all Carrie Bradshaw's fault??)
I've been writing on this blog for almost five years, and although relationships have come and gone since then, I've never made it a habit to discuss them in this space; I think it's only fair and appropriate for all parties involved. In the case of Paris, though, I will make a slight exception and share some general info. I get asked quite often, so it's clearly of interest! [Insert blushing-smiley-face-emoticon-thingy or whatever here to visually convey geniality mixed with slight discomfort.]
So, listen, #9 does happen to me...#9 is never actually a problem. Overall, it's been fun to date in Paris. The differences are this: dates seem to include a LOT of walking--around the city, in parks, on the streets--for MANY hours. There is less drinking of alcohol, and more drinking of coffee. There is more taking in of views, and more time spent outdoors. There are more displays of affection, and they are taken more seriously. (For example, a first kiss is a HUGE deal, and it is not rushed.) (I think that's nice, actually.) You will be expected to TRY to speak or at least repeat some words in French. And you will be gently corrected when you screw it up, which I inevitably always do. You have to be a bit more flexible in that nothing is planned too, too far in advance. That means you just have to go with it; if you're a Type A, you simply have to shift to Type C+ to keep things rollin'.
There are several (several!) things I haven't completely figured out yet. (And yes, I will admit that, for reference, I recently re-watched the Sex and the City episode called "The Ick Factor"--the one where there's a fainting spell outside the opera, remember?) Yet there are lots and lots of articles in the world that talk about what it's like date a French man, so that "helps." (Who knew? I didn't.)
The one thing I am confident about, though, is the same thing applies here as it does in the States. To make it work, you need to be armed with a willingness to communicate and the ability to be vulnerable. Also helpful? The guts to ask questions--even if it means you have to occasionally consult Google Translate, or, God help us, Carrie Bradshaw.
The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rule #9.