Do French men really find American women fascinating?


 

(asked by Patricia from somewhere – I guess the US)

 

Ask a FrenchmanAh American women! The object of fascination of every Frenchman!!! Or are they?

Well, first I guess we need to define “fascination.” Personally, I always found mole rats to be extremely fascinating, if you see what I mean. I’m not sure this is that type of fascination that the person asking the question meant though.

I guess that we need to separate two things here. First, the way American women are depicted in the French media and the fascination that results from it. Then, actual American women in France and how they are perceived by French people.

If you’ve spent even the slightest amount of time in France you know that French media are literally obsessed with the US. Don’t ask me why, this is something I could never figure out (although I’m sure the Marshall Plan has something to do with it).

Lady Gaga

American Woman

French news always talk about what’s going on in the US, French tabloids care about US celebrities as much if not more than about French celebrities (even if French reality TV wannabe celebrities are stealing the spotlight more and more these days… I just happen to see a lot of unknown French people on the cover of tabloids lately, so I assume they must be coming from somewhere, and reality TV is the most likely culprit).
However, you know how the media are. They talk only about “eventful” things. They won’t tell you “nobody died in no accident today” and same thing goes when they talk about people and celebrities.

When the media talk about things happening in your own country, region, city, you usually understand that this is not all that’s happening, just a few special things the media deemed worthy of attention.
However, when the media talk about foreign countries, for some reason, people tend to forget that what is being talked about is not normal nor usual. I assume this is because people don’t have the “normal, uneventful” frame of reference in front of them. And this is very true for French people and the US. Add to this a little tendency for generalization, and there you go, you get a country – the US – that’s pretty weird (to say the least) to French people’s perception. Weird, often equals with fascinating, and yes, in that sense, the US is a fascinating country for French people, and that includes people and women, especially when they get Angelina Jolie, Sarah Palin or Lady Gaga as “American women” examples.

Now, we have the other “fascination” that Frenchmen can have about “real” American women, by that I mean, the ones they’ll actually meet.

Here, we need to reduce our population to mostly students and mostly in Paris because I’m going to talk about the fascination that French (mostly Parisian) students have with American (mostly in Paris) female students.
Why mostly/only in Paris?
Nothing against Parisians for once, it simply has to do with the fact that this is the only place in France where you’ll find large amounts of American students (this having to do with the fact that many Americans are unaware of the fact that there are other places in France).

And in Paris, the reputation that American women have among Parisians, is that they’re easy and pretty slutty (which can be fascinating to some).
Why is that?
Well, because it’s kinda true…
Ok, don’t get me wrong here, I -by no means- am implying that every American woman in Paris is easy and slutty. Far from it. However, a minority is. Thing is that – as usual – the well-behaved majority is “invisible” as they won’t be noticed and they won’t be labeled and they won’t give a reputation to people from their demographical group. Most of the time, people won’t even know that they’re Americans when they see them in the street, bars and clubs (because this is especially in those two last places that the reputation of American women originate from).

Let me explain.
American women have a certain way of going out and clubbing that is very different from Parisian women. At first sight, it may seem that most Parisian women don’t like to have fun. Even when they go out, they act serious, don’t smile much, drink just a little because they don’t want to be drunk and those sorts of things. It’s not true for all of them, but you see what I mean.

So even when American women behave “normally” (for American standards) in such places, their behavior will be already seen by Parisian men as fun, intriguing, inviting, and yeah, fascinating.
Remember, the simplest things like a smile to a stranger, French women don’t do that. In France, if you smile to a stranger, that means you don’t want them to be strangers anymore. And American women always smile, go figure why Frenchmen always think they want to know them, and end up inviting themselves at the tables where they sit for better or worse depending on the situation (and the guys).

It’s quite simple. When I lived in Paris, I happened to have a lot of American female friends, and it was almost impossible to go out in a French bar at night, we always would end up with random Frenchmen at our table trying to pick the girl(s) up. Thank god, Paris is full of Anglo pubs and annoying Frenchmen tend to avoid them: first they’re not confident in their English skills enough, second, those places are not bling-bling enough for the Parisian young bourgeois.
Clubbing now. I rarely went clubbing in Paris (I didn’t like the scene and I was slowly getting too old for that anyway) but simply and bluntly put: in France rubbing one’s butt against some guys crotch is not considered dancing, it’s considered initiating sexual intercourse. Do you see what I mean, and why French men could get misled about American women’s intentions when they dance?
And there I was just tackling “normal” fun-loving young American women in France and especially in Paris…

Now, there’s a certain number of American women, once again, mostly students, and mostly in Paris (but that applies to American students in almost any country in the world really) that think that spending time abroad allows them to behave as stupidly as possible. Some sort of weird belief that “abroad” is not a real place, you don’t have to respect any rule there, especially not the local ones (one cannot totally blame them for that, their country shows them the bad example with its international policies). So they think that abroad, they can do the craziest things they can imagine, because nobody will ever know back home and it doesn’t matter is people know where they are.
Of course, the fact that by doing this they usually totally disrespect local cultures or habits and very often they also totally disrespect themselves goes way beyond their heads.
And because those students (once again, it’s by no means the majority, but they are the “visible ones”) seriously lack imagination, the “craziest things they can imagine” is very often unoriginal (and thankfully harmless for the local populations) and very often results in drinking even more than they do at home and being sexually promiscuous, much more than they do at home (that’s what happens when hypocritical puritanism is the only thing that keeps you in check when growing up).

Sadly, those few idiots (can’t find a nicer word here, sorry), give all American female students the reputation of being sluts and morons (and that too is fascinating for male French students) but it’s usually the least negative effect from this pitiful behavior as STDs and rape are also part of the picture. A part that is usually not being publicized much.

 

Passed out woman

American student in Paris?

 

OK, I guess I covered the two principal ways American women can be fascinating to French men. I know, I didn’t talk about non-student American women in France, but I’m sure most of them are very normal people and no more fascinating than you and me to French men, except for the distorded view of the US French people may have because of the media (see first part of the post).

Did I forget something important? Are there other ways that American women are fascinating to French men? If you think that you have something worth mentioning, shoot in the comments.

 

 


About David Billa

David was born and raised in the French South West. After a few years in the US and a few more in Paris, he finally settled down in Japan. He blogs here about his various experiences and travels, with an emphasis on his home country, France.

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32 thoughts on “Do French men really find American women fascinating?

  • George

    The only thing I disagree with in this post is your labelling of sexually promiscuous women as sluts. Slut is a negative word. A person who deliberately tries to steal someone else’s partner is a slut, a person who has made a commitment to someone else and continually breaks it is a slut, someone who leads several people on in the pretext that they will become their partner or lover may be a slut, but someone who enjoys sex, with various sexual partners, safely and with no pretence about their actions, even if this does mean a different person every night, is not a slut. They are sexually liberated. The shaming of people who enjoy sex needs to stop.

    • David Post author

      George,
      I invite you to read more closely what I wrote. I don’t think I’ve called anybody “slut”. I’ve said that some American women have a reputation of being sluts. I’m not the one giving the reputation; don’t shoot the messenger and all that.
      Also, you’re excused because you don’t know me, and most likely you don’t know French people that well either, but thinking I’d confuse “sexually liberated” and “being a slut”. Come on. Who do you think I am? A sexually-repressed macho who grew up in a puritan environment?

      Being a slut or slutty has nothing to do with how many people you sleep with and everything to do with your behavior, especially in public. A woman can have sex with a different partner every day (or even several partners a day), as long as she knows what she’s doing and she keeps it classy, she won’t be slut.

      On the other hand, a woman who behaves foolishly, doesn’t completely control what she’s doing, is not classy about it (you know, the grinding your butt while dancing for example) and very often regrets it the following day and yet, will do it again as soon as the occasion arises again can be considered slutty, even if she doesn’t have that many sexual partners.
      And that is what I’m talking about here when I use the expression “slutty”.

      I hope the misunderstanding has been removed, it’d sadden me and pain me greatly that you’d keep on bundling me up with bigots and alike.

      • Alexis

        Exhibit A. “Ok, don’t get me wrong here, I -by no means- am implying that every American woman in Paris is easy and slutty. Far from it. However, a minority is”. Sounds to me like you are slut shaming. I’m so over women being slut shamed. If a women wants to have sex she should be allowed to do so without being labeled.

        And this little comment. “Come on. Who do you think I am? A sexually-repressed macho who grew up in a puritan environment?” Definitely jumping to conclusions.

        Of course I cant forget this one. “Being a slut or slutty has nothing to do with how many people you sleep with and everything to do with your behavior, especially in public. A woman can have sex with a different partner every day (or even several partners a day), as long as she knows what she’s doing and she keeps it classy, she won’t be slut”. Definitely wrong there. In fact that part you say, “as long as she knows what she’s doing and she keeps it classy” only suggests that your saying a woman opposite of that is a slut. Also those descriptions are not even definable. I’ll explain.

        If I were to define Slut shaming I would say it is implying that a woman should feel guilty or inferior for real or perceived sexual behavior. Because of this a women can literally be called a slut whenever. Its in the eye of the beholder. And because it is based on what one believes is a slut, slut cannot be defined. A woman may be called a slut if she has lots of sex. If her shorts are considered to be too short. If she is considered to be showing too much cleavage and so on. It depends on the person. In this case your suggesting a women who “knows what she’s doing” and “keeps a classy” is not a slut, but opposite of that is. Lets also not forget the fact that the American women who are having lots of sex with French men are considered to be the “sluts”, but its totally disregarded that it takes two to tango, meaning French men are also having lots of sex with American women…. yet of course they are called nothing.

        Now onto the rest. I understand that when American students go abroad they tend to act wild. By wild I am implying getting hammered to the point of no control. Being noisy and rude in public. Clearly these students did not do their homework and failed to research on that country’s etiquettes. In fact, when you mentioned grinding that really worried me that American women going abroad could be unknowingly initiating sex. For us American women that is a dance move and it does not promise or insinuate sex. This is something American women and men going abroad should be educated about. Also American college students do not have a good handle on their alcohol due to the age restriction being 21. I can imagine American women going to France and getting too drunk resulting in idiotic behavior and possibly rape. This is scary to me and I definitely feel American universities need to take a step further towards educating women about safety and dangers before going abroad.

        Whats so funny to me about this is that if they think American women act wild some should seriously check themselves before coming to America. In fact at my university some of the male French exchange students have been sexually aggressive towards women. I can recall the time I had a conversation with a guy named Florian who said he believed French women keep there legs closed too much and thats why he preferred American women. I couldn’t believe he would make such a disgusting comment like that. Obviously not all the French exchange students are like that and a lot of them were very kind and friendly, but some, like those few American women in Paris, didn’t do their homework.

        • David Billa Post author

          Ah “slut shaming”!!! The in thing to say nowadays to sound cool and feminist at the same time…

          Funny but every time I see the expression “slut shaming”, I often have some big red anti- BS flags raising everywhere.

          The whole debate of “women who have sex are called sluts, but men who do are not” existed long before Millennials started shouting “slut shaming” left and right. And then, political correctness rears its ugly head and nobody can be called a slut anymore.
          Sorry, but “women who like sex” are not sluts, indeed, but that doesn’t mean that sluts don’t exist.

          Now, I do plead guilty, I shouldn’t have used an expression such as “who do not respect themselves” as it has a too vague meaning.
          How does “who did not do their homework and failed to research on that country’s étiquettes” sound?

          Now don’t get me wrong, many men from many countries have reprehensible behavior too, it was just not the topic here, so it was not mentioned.
          Yes, some men are assholes and jerks, but not men are. And Yes, some women are sluts, but not all women are.

          • Nello

            It took me a long time to understand the double standard of why promiscuous women are “sluts” but promiscuous men are “studs”. Why can a man have a harem but a woman cannot? It has to do with the seed. If a man has 20 women in his harem and he is the only sexual partner, you know the lineage of any child born but if a women has 20 sexual partners, who can tell the true lineage.
            Not all American women are promiscuous, as not all women from any part of the world are, but I do agree it is some strange internal thoughts of being able to do anything in a foreign country will not get “home”. What happens in France stays in France mentality. Sad but true.

    • Ashisbaby

      I think Davids article was very accurate and I’m an American woman. Visit America and the “minority” turns into a “majority.” Visit any club in America and you will find a lot of grinding because this is what MTV has been teaching kids since the 90’s. There was even a show called “The Grind” and people will even teach their babies to booty dance as soon as they can walk. Unfortunately in American clubs if a girl starts dancing with her friends or by herself within minutes some drunk, smelly, guy is going to run up and dry hump her while spilling his beer all over her. There is a certain allure to French men though. They may still be jerks preying on girls who are most likely sluts but they are far more attractive and rarely smell like they’ve defecated themselves or look like they’ve been locked in a basement without a razor and brush for weeks. I can understand these women taking advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy sex with the men who have such a spectacular reputation for sexual talents. Unfortunately, these same women would probably sleep with a man in America because they were impressed by his ability to win a farting contest or because they think having gold teeth makes him rich. I myself only spent a day in Paris. Most my time was in the Alsace-Lorraine regions. I found most people, men and women, enjoyed talking to me about cultural differences and history which I found to be very pleasant compared to America (where history is depicted in the form of Abraham Lincoln fighting zombies.) Of course most thought we were German or British because as mentioned most Americans only visit Paris.

  • Denise

    Well, I’m “fascinated” by the standards of femininity embraced by French women, despite the country’s relatively liberal stance politically. If I may generalize, I think that U.S. perceptions of Europe in general are that sexual openness automatically means promiscuous.

    The American college scene is terrible here as well. American students in Paris may be acting out because they’re abroad, but the sad reality is that its become acceptable to behave that way here as well. And the feminist groups get really angry if you suggest that maybe young American women are putting themselves in danger (in addition to just looking foolish) by carrying themselves in this way.

    Here, a notion of femininity that applies to more than fashion tends to be considered as against feminism. I do wonder, are the standards of being “classy” considered the same for men as women in France?

  • vicky

    The thing is that every countries have their own stereotypes but once we travel we very soon realize that they are not necessarily true. I discovered recently this video of a French girl sharing her observations as a French living in America – I find this really cool to show also the good things in America and Americans 😉 https://youtu.be/72loVxocUQo

  • Anna

    Interesting commentary. Unfortunately, some foolish Americans can give foreigners a distorted view of American people. I’ve found that French men do seem to be quite taken with this slightly unconventional, yet proper, American woman. You’re right about the smiling. I’ve noticed my smile does attract a lot of male attention, French or not. I’m a very happy person and I don’t intend to stop smiling, but I’m learning to keep overly-friendly men at arm’s length.

      • Kate

        Well, I don’t know a very bad stereotype, maybe because of samba dancers, small bikinis and these things that are shown overseas… What do you think?

        • David Billa Post author

          Samba dancers and small bikinis are not something with associate with prostitution in France. However, samba dancers are definitely associated with Brazil.

  • Mae

    So, I’m just kind of wondering if it’s true; do the French in general disapprove of redheads? I read in quite a few places that they have since the Middle Ages, claiming we stole hell fire for our hair, and it also doesn’t help that so little of the country is red headed. I was just wondering that, because I know in a few countries in Europe, we’re known as extremely promiscuous and unlucky, even.

    • Joseph de Diesbach

      No. We do not dislike redheads, we sometimes tease them a little because of the European view of the redhead in the Middle-Ages but frankly, no French will really care about whether you’re a redhead or not (Apart from personal preference, but that’s true for everyone)

  • nancy davis

    I think that you hit the nail on the head. American people are trained to smile. Our parents teach us to smile and not frown. Also Paris is a large city, so behavior there would be very different from an American mid sized city anyway. College aged students do think they can act a little crazier in Europe than at home as well. The one thing I do wonder about though is this. Do you APPROVE of the way American women act when in Paris or is it really a little too over the top? Also, is our behavior giving the US a bad name?

    • David Billa Post author

      “Do you APPROVE of the way American women act when in Paris or is it really a little too over the top?”

      Me personally? I never approve of stupid behavior, regardless of the nationality nor the place where it happens. 🙂

      “Also, is our behavior giving the US a bad name?”

      You mean stupid behavior? Well, duh…

  • Alice

    Hit the nail on the head with this one… an it explained a lot! My friend (american guy) studied in Italy, and when I visited him he told me that all the Italians thought Americans were easy. Well I was very offended about this, and thought it a rather rude assumption. But honestly, after reading this it makes much more sense to me now. I know Italian culture is very different, but things like the grinding in the clubs and the smiling at strangers, I think that would also be cause for such an assumption there as well. Very well written. Oh one more thing to add : European men in my honest opinion (it is just an opinion okay?) are more romantic than American men, so when women are faced with men who actually gaze at them in the eyes, call them beautiful etc and they are not used to this back home…. well things probably happen a little easier let’s say

    • David Billa Post author

      Thanks for your comment Alice.
      Yes, while we are two different countries with two different cultures, France and Italy are also very similar in many ways. So I assume that things are not very different on that matter.

  • Robert Sylvain

    I’m brushing up on my french language skills because my 15-year old daughter is going for a year abroad. So, I started watching, of all things, subtitled episodes of “Hélène et les Garçons.” I couldn’t help noticing that the American girl character Johanna is portrayed as unabashedly boy-crazy. Sensing a cultural bias, I decided to google “do french men think american girls are easy” and found this article. I’ll be having a little talk with my daughter tonight!

  • Kelley

    Well I think American culture and American women ARE indeed sluts. The moral decay and standards are at a all time low. Just sit back and observe. Has everyone lost their fucking heads? Americans act like they are entitled to everything, same with Mexicans and Canadians. Some of the world’s worse mothers come from the United States of America. You can’t imagine the bullshit going on. Come look around honestly. Paris, like any other big city is going to attract “easy” “cheap” scumbag type folk. This is common sense. It’s usually the more introverted or “old fashioned” type living in a country estate or in a small town…. This shit is super obvious. I can’t really deal with these hoes.

  • Ella

    France, Italy, all Mediterranean countries’ cultures have on thing in common; remnants of classical Greek cultures, the Roman Empire laws (including the Byzantine/Ottoman one in the East) , an overarching mentality regarding what a “truly beautiful” woman should be like and what a “whore” is (you pick your favorite synonyms)…. In Italy, one joke I heard was that “the perfect woman is a lady in the society, a whore in bed with her man, and a cook in the kitchen; the bad woman is a cook in the bedroom – spoon in her mouth, right?, a lady in the kitchen, and a whore in the society. ” Such view are pan-European, less towards the North, of course, where the rules appear to differ from both the U.S. and Mediterranean Europe. In France, Italy, etc women are defined not only in terms of looks but — especially – in terms of social grace, moral outlook, intellectual growth, what in the U.S. we call “inner beauty” to some extent since in the US that inner beauty implies more community-volunteering than the sensual self-grooming expected in Europe…
    In Mediterranean Europe it all links to mentalities specific of Mesopotamia that were spread by the Greeks and the Romans, ideas with ancient roots that are amazingly justified if you research them down to the bottom of all symbolism and medical reasoning…. Funny history, right? That should explain why even “liberated women” in Europe — arguably much more LIBERATED INTELLECTUALLY than American women have been encouraged or brought up to be until nowadays — will be precisely the way David describes it; and why macho European men would find American nice-girls-acting-loose — i.e. normal American girl ignorantly acting the way only common prostitutes would do, and stupid at that as they expect no pay — to be fascinatingly amusing, kind of a Pretty woman syndrome. (Well, thank the American New-Left for it.)
    It’s not anti-american stance: in the same critical spirit, the French meaningfully sold cheap bags with the picture of their president’s naked wife (a former topmodel) at airports, not long ago….
    Much has to be changed in U.S. education, by both the liberals and the conservatives, in order to achieve a balance that would make female American student tourists shine abroad the way they and their country deserve.

  • AmericanInFrance

    I can understand all of the points made here, but as an older American woman (30s) who is not a heavy drinker nor prone to grinding in clubs, it seems the fascination is more because I’m “different.” Contrary to what I’d heard about it being difficult to make friends in France, it seems that my willingness to tell amusing stories about cultural faux pas I’ve made and interest in learning about France are appreciated. Although, as also mentioned, we are raised to smile as a polite greeting and that has brought the unwanted attention of French men, so I’ve learned to tone it down.

  • Marcia

    “On the other hand, a woman who behaves foolishly, doesn’t completely control what she’s doing, is not classy about it (you know, the grinding your butt while dancing for example) and very often regrets it the following day and yet, will do it again as soon as the occasion arises again can be considered slutty, even if she doesn’t have that many sexual partners.
    And that is what I’m talking about here when I use the expression “slutty”.”

    Does this also apply to the male gender? Or is it specifically an inherent trait in women? Just curious…….. Did God just make us differently, and that’s why this applies? Or could it be just because men (who have been charge forever) have decided it is so?

    • David Billa Post author

      Of course, it applies to men too. I’m answering the question here, and it was about women.

      I guess the male equivalent is more or less the “bro” and he’s as unsavory. For some reason he’s not as common in France (Because “bros” are not interested in my country, or at least not in a way that’d make them want to spend time there?) although I had the unfortunate experience to have one as my roommate for a couple of months.
      Yes, unsavory is the word.

      This post gets a lot of angry comments (I’m not publishing the ones that are just insults, borderline trolling, but there are a few) and see it as misogynistic and slut-shamming.
      I disagree.
      First, there’s a lot of shooting the messenger here. While I do state my opinion, I’m mostly talking about how certain behaviors will be perceived in France.
      And I guess that’s what my main point is. Wherever you are, know the cultural norms of a place before acting a certain way. If it’s OK to grind your butt against a random man’s crotch in a US club, in France it clearly means one thing: “I want to have sex with you.” If that’s not what the woman wanted, she can’t blame the French guy for having understood just that.

      Also note that this post was written a few years ago, I haven’t set foot in Paris in more than 6 years (and so haven’t seen American students’ behavior there, nor French people’s reactions to those since), things may have changed one way or the other.

  • Josie

    Not sure how I found this lol… I’m an American woman who has been to France a couple of times. Never really had a preference for any guy’s nationality really. Just wanted to share a funny story. On a flight back from Paris, I had a seat next to a cute, young Frenchman. He was from a farming town near Switzerland I remember him telling me. We spoke the whole time on the flight. He told me bizarre stories about how he had a fat, female roommate who he always heard masturbate LOL. I was hoping we would have gone out while he visited LA, but he never asked for my number =(

  • Stephanie Marcello

    I think your view is very narrow by speaking exclusively of young students from USA. I am a beautiful woman approaching forty-five, and I find men are there of all ages are fascinated by a “woman of a certain age.” It does not seem to the youth-obsessed culture in Paris at least at the places and in the circles I run. However, I have only been to a club once — with my twenty-two year old daughter and I took a body guard.

    Perhaps they do think American women are easier, but I think French men can just be more forward (though not in the way Italian men are.) I also think Parisian men can be quite, how can I say, foppish and self-absorbed. I receive propositions from men in La Perla where I have been invited to come after hours to try on lingerie and pick what I would like — to a physician who came to my flat and called me later for a drink (not to mention asking me to take my top off within five minutes of the visit.) I think they think of me as some exotic animal — I “scream” American as if I have white lights over my head spelling out the word. I was a model and am much too, how shall I say, “well groomed,” — my hair is too hilighted, my teeth too white and perfect, my look is impeccable but not in the natural way a woman in Paris presents herself. I embrace the way I am as I would fade trying to imitate a French woman.

    I sometimes wonder if Latin men in general, think American women all look like our Texas/California beauty stereotypes — blonde, blue eyed, etc. I am told daily when in Paris and Rome that I resemble Sharon Stone and I am pretty and blonde with good bone structure but we don’t much resemble. Italian men are really ridiculous with this and want their photos made with me in trade for dinner in their restaurants, for example.

    I know my comments probably differ from the rest above which I didn’t take time to read but maybe write more extensively on the subject not focusing on students — take a page from my book.

    Yours ever,

    S.

    • David Billa Post author

      I talked mostly about students, because during my time in Paris, they’re the one kind of Americans I would encounter the most, and I could be wrong, but I believe, the vast majority of Americans living in France are students, especially in Paris.

      On a side note: you took a bodyguard to go to a club?! Isn’t that a bit extreme?

  • Andra Elksnis

    Fascinating,

    I’ve spent the last 5 hours reading articles about French Seduction Practices for some research that I’m doing when I came upon this, and I just had to comment. American opinion of the French is about as diverse as the French opinion is of Americans -the French are sexually liberated, some variation on the “slut”/ sexist spectrum (stereotype not my opinion) or prudish (again, stereotype not my opinion). Based on the many very interesting comments, I believe people are missing cultural contexts. For instance, Americans are far more “prudish” about nudity than the French and Europeans generally. There are things in French culture that are in fact commonly seen and discussed, that would probably make the women who have been described as “sluts” blush, whereas the ordinary French woman wouldn’t blink an eye. Similarly, the same American women would think that flirtation in response to her smile in an American work or school was sexual harassment and in a restaurant or museum was highly unwelcome, but in a bar was expected. On the other hand, I read article after article that described Americans as ridiculous and prudish for confusing flirting as a sexual advance and described the French art of seduction as commonplace and a cultural necessity.

    The key, I believe is that American college students, as you pointed out have a context in which they express their sexual inhibitions, and that is when they go “clubbing.” This is true in the US as well. This is the one place where this behavior is culturally acceptable. If you don’t want to participate, it is not the place for you. In the US you don’t flirt openly. If you want to meet someone, you go to the bar, or you do it online. Beyond that your options are limited. Don’t expect for the women to be open to flirtation in another context or you are likely to brought up on sexual harassment charges. And unlike French women, when American women say “maybe,” they are usually too polite or nervous to say “no,” because they have been taught to always smile and make nice. This is in contrast to the French girl pout. And when they say “no,” they mean “get lost, you are in my space.”