I’m new to being a Riviera Woman. I’ve a lot to learn, no doubt, but early indications are that coming here is a bigger culture change than an English woman abroad might have expected.
OK, I admit, I chose Nice because it’s sexy, it’s a city that oozes life, with few pretensions. Perhaps I wasn’t prepared for just how sexy it is, coming from a place where men generally are very nervous about approaching women, and when they do, a number of meals out and cinema, theatre or opera trips are in order. I would happily do that here, a chance to flirt, explore French cuisine and entertainment, practice my French, and maybe, who knows, meet a nice Frenchman.
But here, they don’t do that. All jokes about the Australian man’s idea of foreplay being to shout ‘Brace yourself, Sheila’ seem a bit close to the bone, because here the average bloke seems to think that trying to pick up a woman while driving past in a car, a few minute’s polite conversation and then down to some serious business is a good night out. And a good start to a relationship, a quick smile and they’re trying to move in.
Even that may not be too bad, but there does seem to be something of a fixation on, shall we say, body areas that the English woman is not accustomed to being an early point of male interest.
Which does tend, on the whole, to encourage fraternization with other ex-pats instead. I persevere, integration and fully experiencing a new culture is important for me, and maybe I’m just meeting the wrong sort of man (nothing new there then!!!)
There are other issues all wrapped up in this, I know. English women seem to be prized by the French, and tall women seem to be especially prized. I’m five ten, blue eyes, dark hair, and I try hard with expressive French, which seems to tick all the boxes. My first few months in France was spent in a small rural village where everybody says Bonjour to everyone else. My background is Yorkshire where you make at least eye contact with everyone you meet. Perhaps I was lamb to the slaughter coming to Nice…
But I love Nice, I love its people, I love it’s attitude. Even if I do swear at it all on average twice a day. Sorry, it’s not your fault. It’s just me taking a little time to become a Riviera Woman.
Feature contributed by Louise Strachan
on July 30, 2010 at 2:09 pm.