Many of my French friends – men and women alike – have waited to meet someone special for their first time, didn’t just want to get rid of their virginity, and have never had one night stand.
If sex between consenting adults is very much socially accepted, most French people won’t rush into it, and get to know each other before jumping into bed.
But I would never do that to my Dad who would be very upset if I did. When I meet a man and I am without my husband, I’ll place within the first minutes of the conversation that “my husband blablabla… That usually is enough to make my state of mind really clear.
I did the same thing as a girl, talking about my boyfriend (actually existing or not) early on in the conversation. And some people are just not faithful, but contrary to popular opinion, it’s not worse in France than anywhere else (and several studies demonstrate it). It’s in our genes and it’s socially accepted in France.
It is so funny to see how some social behaviors are exactly the same between France and the US, and others are completely different. Well, this was a big shock to me when I arrived in the US. I understood of course a man and a woman could be interested in each other in a romantic way, let me reassure you.
One of the very obvious difference is the dating game. But I was not aware that accepting to go out to dinner with a man alone gave the signal that I was possibly romantically interested in him.
Maybe that’s why things take a bit more time to develop in France – we like the game, and we like to take our time playing it.
Olivier trusts me, and we both trust our friend(s), who would never make a pass at me.
Now, not everybody does that of course, some girls like to play, and sometimes lose themselves in the game, or hurt people. A Frenchwoman is expected to play her feminine side, and be “admired” for her beauty and wit among other qualities.
Frenchmen like to flirt as well, even if they know very well there is no hope of it leading anywhere.
You will know when a French girl is flirting with you: she’ll smile to excess, move her hair a lot, smile at you, blush, laugh hard and loud at your jokes, find occasions to touch your shoulder (or even your knee… and it’s not unlikely that she’ll make the first move. Again, the game is often more important than the catch, even to men. The woman has all the power when it comes to dating. It’s then up to the guy if the company of “la belle” is enough for him, or if the game has lasted long enough – in which case no-one is forcing him to continue to invite her.
She decides whether she wants the guy or not, and may need more than one dinner to make up her mind… In any case, there is no obligation nor expectation whatsoever for the woman to do whatever after any number of “rendez-vous galants”.