365 Days In Paris: Le French Dating, Part I

I have one dating rule: if you don’t kiss by the second date, you’re just friends.

Problem is, this will not be applicable in Paris because the French have no dating rules. And not “no rules” in that oh come on, everyone knows you can’t call him way. We’re talking “no rules” in that no one in Paris dates; therefore, no one knows how to date. It’s true—there is no word for “dating” in French. They don’t even employ the English word with an accent like they do for “business” or “cool.”
I got to thinking about French dating culture yesterday before my Mr. OKCupid date. I had already entertained the surprising possibility that our first date could be an anomaly in his social life, and that I might expect him to say “I love you” on our second date (as has happened to a friend). Feeling totally unprepared, I consulted an expert, my dear friend, Google. As it so happens, I did manage to stumble upon an expert through his blog called Ask A Frenchman, which has some very useful information (um, that I can only hope is accurate). Overall, the gist is that French men and women tend to court through dinner parties and larger groups, and if it progresses they go “on a walk.” Weird. But, anyhow, when it comes to kissing (NB that this excludes random, drunken make-outs), here’s what Ask A Frenchman has to say:

But in a dating situation, kissing on the lips, and especially French kissing, means one and only thing: you wanna be in a relationship with the person. I’m saying it again: if you kiss somebody on the lips in France, it means that you consider this person as your boyfriend or girlfriend and that you want to be exclusive and in a relationship with them (long or short term doesn’t matter here, though). Kissing and dating other people is not OK anymore.

OK, so it’s pretty easy here to send the wrong signals, which is slightly scary. So what about sex?

The rule with sex is simple: it can happen anytime after the first kiss… even minutes after it. It’s that first kiss that will trigger the “ok for sex” option in your relationship. Hence the importance of the timing of that kiss regarding to where you want to go and what you want to do with that person.

So, theoretically I could sleep with a guy the first night, and we could still get married? Interesting.

I’d have to say that Ask a Frenchman is probably putting these assumptions into the strictest of terms, but, judging from what I’ve seen of Parisian social culture so far, I’d say there’s quite a bit of reason to it.

So in meeting up with Mr. Cupid for our rendezvous, I kept this in mind but wanted to stick to my usual dating habits of keeping things low-key and ambiguous.

And since this is a bit of a long story, check back tomorrow for part deux when I actually get to meet him.