Day 311: Je t'aime...moi non plus?
Yesterday while taking a walk through Belleville, I passed an epicerie that was playing the song "Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox, an artist that I have never really loved but also never hated. I have always held a stance of indifference regarding anything Annie related...until last year.
I had just started working at the American office here in Paris, where the receptionist would play music from her computer speakers. Her selections were always fairly innocuous, you know stuff that I could ignore; Creedance, Springsteen, Top 40 Pop...and Annie Lennox. This was when Annie's existence was brought to my attention more than ever. She had an Annie Lennox "Essentials" mix on her Deezer account that always reared its heinous head around lunchtime. Your basic Annie Lennox hits could be found on this mix, including the torturous song "No More I Love You's". I'm not sure if this terrible excuse for a song was added twice on the playlist, this was the point where the playlist would restart, or I was destined to be tortured for the rest of my life, but either way, I heard this fucking song two times a day for almost three months.
Do you how awful it is to a hear song called "No More I Love You's" on repeat after you've been dumped and are working in an office where your intelligence and mail logging capabilities are constantly put into question? While photocopying a 300 page document where I had to keep my finger on the tray in order to keep the paper aligned and hearing this song howl in the distance, I drifted off and remembered when MF first told me that he loved me. It was on a day trip out to Deauville several summers ago. I remember being shocked by his declaration, and checked his ass by telling him that it was way too soon. I mean, we had only been dating for a week, for crying out loud! But just as easy as it was for him to tell me that he loved me, it was just as easy for him to tell me that he didn't...anymore. Diss. It was like a light switch, only it was his feelings that had gone from hot to tepid. This was not the first time I had experienced this with Frenchmen where they can't live without me one day and the next, they couldn't be bothered and blow the relationship off as a beautiful "histoire", soon to be forgotten. It hurts every time. What is it about saying "I love you" within the first few weeks of a relationship that they simply cannot resist?
On a walk through Père Lachaise with May last Friday, we sat on a bench that looked out onto the city on this spring day and talked about the loves that have come and gone since we've been in Paris. While each of our ex-boyfriends and currents are their own creatures, have different jobs, styles and interests, they all had one thing in common; they all shocked us by dropping the "L" bomb fairly early in the relationship. Ah ha, so it's not just the guys I date...bon à savoir...
A man, sitting on the bench beside us, who fashioned a bit of a Crispin Glover look (more like creepy, skinny guy in Charlie's Angels than McFly...I know, bummer), began to smirk, inviting me to believe that he understood our conversation and was not listening to his iPod. I took his eye contact as a queue to welcome (or rather force) him to join the conversation as a special guest live in the studio, to enlighten us American gals on our queries of love in The City of Light. I obnoxiously leaned over May and flat out asked him why "he" proclaims his love so early in the relationship.
"We do what we feel," Crispin said with a smile. Okay Sir, yes I get that, but is "I love you" not as strong a sentence as it is to us Americans? "I love you means I love you," he added, "but maybe you are all too serious in America," He then did the uniquely French Gallic shrug, followed by that fart noise they make with their mouth when they're trying to convey that they don't know and more importantly, don't care. Ladies who live in France, you know what I'm talking about...
What I loved most about Crispin's response was not his nonchalance towards my inquiry, but that he was not even a drop defensive or insulted by my brazen insinuation that he as well, was like this. He accepted my generalization without argument which only justified my observation.
In the States, saying the "L" word is a pretty big deal and isn't a sentence that gets thrown around too often. Having lived in Paris for several years now and having had this idea of "love" brought into several of my French relationships early on, I can't help but wonder if "je t'aime" means something different in French, or rather, does it just hold less weight than it does in the U.S? Or is Crispin right? Are we're too serious and tend to put all of our oeufs in one basket once we're told "I love you"?
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