Sometimes Bill Cunningham, the New York Times street fashion photographer, takes pictures of French women, and they always look so damn sexy. Granted, the Times is going to choose the best photos, but somehow French women always manage to look more seductive than the average American woman.
Now, it's silly to stereotype and say that all French women are sexy, but there are definite cultural differences between French women and American women—that's undeniable. It also seems unarguable that these differences are responsible for that thing French women seem to have. The thing that makes them seem fashionable and cool and charming.
Author Jamie Cat Callan grew up in America, but she has a French grandmother. After traveling between France and the U.S. time and again, Cat Callan realized that French women are, indeed, different from us when it comes to romance. But Cat Callan didn't stop at noticing—she traveled all over the country and interviewed hundreds of men and women about love, romantic customs and relationships in France.
The results are catalogued in her delightful book, French Women Don’t Sleep Alone: Pleasurable Secrets To Finding Love. YourTango spoke with Cat Callan about dating, dinner parties and adultery.
YourTango: What's the difference between dating in France and dating in the U.S.?
Jamie Cat Callan: The French don't date! In fact, when we asked French women about dating, they were completely confused. They simply don't get our penchant for going out with virtual strangers and having a two-hour interview-style date. One French woman who had lived in New York and dated, said she absolutely hated the American date, telling us it was boring and painful.
So if they don't date, how do they get to know men?
They have dinner parties. All of France, they're hosting dinner parties every Friday and Saturday night! These can be formal sit-down dinners with elaborate menus, starting with champagne—they always begin with champagne and no cheese and crackers, because they don't want to spoil the appetite. And then, foie gras on toast with a tiny layer of liquid honey, or perhaps some oysters and white wine. For winter, perhaps some potato and leek soup. They'll prepare something like a stew ahead of time and then fill in with some store-bought delicacies. For dessert, the French will have everyone move from the dining room table to the living room for liqueurs and more champagne and dessert. A big favorite is fondant au chocolate (chocolate lava cake). It's all very elegant.
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