Liz Bruner – Switzerland
All the single ladies, don’t put a ring on it, just come to France.
This past weekend, I made the trek from Geneva to Val d’Isere, France, via a few trains and a few train stations in the middle of eastern France. Throughout the numerous hours spent on trains and in transit, my fellow single ladies and I came across a number of Frenchmen who were handsome, bi-lingual in French and English, polite and eager to talk to smiling American girls.
At dinner our first night in the sleepy ski resort area of Les Arcs, we were fortunate to have a young male waiter who was about the same age as my fellow female partners in crime. Not only did he serve us delicious cheese fondue and red wine, at the end of our meal, he gave us coupons for free shots in a local French discotheque. He instructed us how to get there and said he would meet us there later.
Well, the wine must have done something to us, because we got lost on the way to the discotheque, but wound up in a cool, laid back lounge with live music and a fabulous chanteuse (singer). After a few minutes at the lounge, another single lady about our age came up and introduced herself. She was Marion, a local ski instructor who had some single male twenty-something friends that she wanted us to meet. After a few hours of dancing, drinking and speaking French/English, known among the youth as Franglais, my fellow single ladies and I stumbled back to our hotel happily satisfied with the polite kiss on the cheek we received from our new friends.
Saturday morning, my single ladies and I took to the slopes to cheer on notorious American womanizer and Olympic downhill skier Bode Miller at the World Cup Ski Championships at Val d’Isere, France. As we watched Bode ski poorly and come in 8th place out of 15 competitors, we began to talk to two handsome young Frenchmen in uniform. They were promptly joined by five other handsome young Frenchmen in uniform and explained that they were a part of the French ski military, serving their country on skis and performing such tasks as search and rescue and avalanche control. We had a lovely conversation centered around skiing, mountains, and French wine. We were full of questions for these Frenchmen, but their free time was limited and they had to return to their camp for training that night. As we bid them adieu, each one gave us a kiss on the cheek, which in French culture, is an appropriate and gracious thing to do in public. Needless to say, these American girls were smitten!
Americans give the French a bad rap and label the Frenchmen as being overtly sexual and controlling, to the point of being obnoxious. However, we could not have been more wrong about the Frenchmen. My encounters with Frenchmen were pleasant and genuine. Even though my French is not perfect, I managed to hold a conversation with young men that my grandmother would have been proud of. We talked about culture and Franco-American political relations. The name Obama drew a smile more than once, and we received lots of insider information about where to find nice local cheese. We may never see these boys, forgive me, men, ever again, but its nice to know that there are cute, intelligent and friendly guys out there who enjoy practicing their broken English on American girls who are only too willing to listen.
That being said, all the single ladies, get on over to France. Not only will you have pleasant discourse with French guys who ski and speak English, but your blue eyes and straight white teeth will be admired all over the country. Consider yourself the Beyonce of small town France. No Jay-Z necessary.