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