365 Days In Paris: Welcome Homme

My first week in Paris is coming to a close, and, generally, I’m feeling super positive about things. My apartment could not be more perfect. It’s incredible teeny, but has two windows overlooking the Seine (eeee!), and at night the tourist boats pass by, illuminating the entire room for a few seconds with their lights. (See some pics here!) I spent the first two days alone, running all over town to take care of paperwork and get things for the house. I had been feeling pretty lonely up until last night when I went out with a mutual friend, whom I’d never met before, to have Vietnamese food and see some French pop bands at a grungy-yet-hip underground club in Belleville. There were many, many cute boys there who definitely have improved style since the last time I was here four years ago. Now, instead of wide-leg jeans and ribbed turtlenecks, they’re sporting leather jackets, thick-rimmed glasses, and the type of sweaters you know you’d steal if you were dating. It goes without saying that I will be frequenting this place a lot. Oh boys, how I desire thee. In order to move to Paris, I moved in with my parents for about seven months to save money, which, as you can imagine, has been a huge detriment to my sex life. It’s suddenly hit me that I haven’t even registered male cuteness in the past few months, and it’s almost a shock to find it right up front in my face. Granted, I’m an easy target when walking down the street as a super blonde with a curvy physique (obviously not a French girl). It took me about a day to realize that the men smiling at me as they passed by were, in fact, not creeps and quite handsome. Living in NYC, you’re taught to not look at anyone — God forbid you should talk to them. Three days ago, as I was waiting for a streetlight to change, a business-y looking guy in a suit walked up to me and asked if I’d like to have a coffee with him. I was so freaked-out that I practically ran away. When my heart stopped pounding a few blocks later, I had to ask myself, “Why don’t you have a coffee with a stranger? Especially one who is fairly cute?”

A second encounter came about an hour later when I faced my fear of having to buy and set up a cell phone in French. The twenty-something salesman at the Orange boutique could not have been more rude to me in the first 15 minutes when I pleaded with him to speak English with me so I could understand the phone plans, but he refused on the basis that I already spoke French. The second I gave up and just pointed to a phone, he smiled and said in English, “So, where you from? You like Kanye West? Lil Wayne?” Um, what? We sat there for an extra 15 minutes as he quizzed me on American music. At the end he really turned up the charm and asked with an arched eyebrow, “So you have a boyfriend?” Freaked-out again, I automatically said oui. “Well, you know, if you ever decide you don’t like him … “AHH! Scary man! I grabbed my bag and left hastily.

As for the blogger boy with whom I’d been corresponding before my arrival in Paris—I found out he has a pet squirrel. Dealbreaker? Maybe. He also needs to man up and set a time to meet. On Sunday, an OKCupid date with a fairly nice-seeming gentleman who has already suggested dinner (I take this as a good sign, meaning he likes to do things traditionally and will pay for the date, right?) as well as offered to help me get oriented and figure out some paperwork stuff here in Paris. I know better than to accept these offers, however.

The one thing that’s been nagging me in the back of my mind is the ex-lover, the one who lives in Europe and took out a chunk of my heart (let’s hope to God he’s not reading). After finally getting to a point of being able to not think about him for days at a time, I now find myself thinking about him, well, a lot, knowing he’s only an hour or so away. A few nights ago, a rush of anxiety and loneliness came over me and I almost, almost emailed him to ask for support and tell me I’m doing the right thing. Merci Dieu I didn’t.

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