Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Sunday, January 11, 2009

We had quite the interesting discussion at rhumrhums Friday night. We were talking about dating Frenchies, and there were two camps - those who wanted to date Frenchies who spoke no English and those who wanted to date Frenchies who were able to speak English.

Personally, I'm divided on this subject. Having spent seven years with a Frenchie who spoke English, I can see the distinct advantages and disadvantages of each side. The pros included being able to communicate when my French was non-existent and him being able to communicate with my family. The downside of that though is that my French advanced at a much slower pace than that of my friends who spoke French à la maison as well as in school.

The thing is though, while I go on and on about wanting to meet a non-English speaking guy so I can improve my French, I have to admit that it is nice to date someone who speaks my language and has somewhat of an understanding of the American culture. It just makes things so much easier in a bi-cultural relationship when both sides can see where the other is coming from.

And since we're being honest here, one of the other reasons that I never pushed more to switch over to speaking 100% French with Fab is because I liked having the "upper hand", so to speak. Speaking English together meant that I pretty much won all of our arguments. Not that we fought about much besides him working all the time, but arguing is just so much harder to do in a foreign language. And even just when having a normal conversation - I speak decent French, but I still feel at a disadvantage when talking to Frenchies. I can say what I want to say, but there's still something that's lost in the process. And don't even get me started on trying to be funny in French....

I guess I just need to make up my mind. I moan on and on about not speaking enough French, but then whenever I have the chance (as I had at last Friday's rhumrhums with a perfectly lovely Frenchman), I still choose English.

Somebody needs to let go of their control issues....



Blogger Pat said...

Funny, I could have written this myself except that I am married already (to a non-American that speaks perfect English). As much as I want to advance my French, I still hold onto that English. Is it a control thing? I never thought about it that way. Hmmmmm!!!!

January 11, 2009 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

That is a tough one and I see points to both sides. I do believe it is important for at least one of you to be able to converse effectively in both languages. I was involved with a French girl for some time but we soon found out that the other did not speak our own mother languages as effectively as we had thought. Well... she believed she spoke English well, but it was evident through many misunderstandings that she did not.

On a side note, one benefit for me when dating a Frenchie is when she got mad she would switch to yelling at me in French, and I certainly can tune out French much easier... so it made ignoring her very easy.

Yes this was a very healthy relationship, can you tell? Wonder why we did not work out, huh? So ended my attempts at dating the French... but Americans! ;-)

January 11, 2009 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Juli said...

I think when you meet the one that wants to be with you it really won't matter. I don't speak Dutch at all so if B did not speak perfect English that could be a problem! I do speak pretty good Spanish though and could be with someone that only spoke that but I cannot speak French well enough to have a conversation. I am not a person that has to be in control so it may be different for me.

January 11, 2009 at 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing what you can do in your second language when you have to. I had this huge - um - disagreement with someone a while ago, and he was so angry that he was actually spitting. I was furious right back, and we yelled at each other in French long enough that someone else came to the room and said, "Du calme là-bas!" Neither of us won (I just left the room), but I don't think he had the advantage because it was his native language, not mine. I had never had such an argument in French before, but I certainly held my own. While I didn't have the slang vocabulary he did, I think I got my point across quite well. I'll bet you could do it, too, Ksam - but it would be nicer if you never had to fight in any language, wouldn't it?!

January 11, 2009 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger L said...

Haha, I remember finally being able to argue in French, though I still do feel disadvantaged, like you. And of course there are those moments when English comes out instead of French and B says "Uh-oh! This is serious!"

January 12, 2009 at 2:19 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Alex and I don't really "argue" so thank goodness I don't need to argue in French except for the dimwits on the street--- Then I get to yell out all the slang terms I know in French and Alex chimes in... or I chime in with him, if he starts.. (This all takes place when he's driving and other drivers or pedestrians do infuriating things in front of the car....
It's different for me, as you know... Alex speaks only some phrases here and there in English... Oh.. I think his English is better than I think, as I have heard him use it with others, but since we never really speak in Eng., I cannot judge very well...

January 12, 2009 at 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I regret that my husband speaks English so well and prefers to use it. But that's mostly because he's impatient and doesn't like when I ask him to repeat something. I do think that it is easier for most of us to use our native languages. Sometimes my children will speak to me in French and I just can't bring myself to reply to them in French even though I can. It's just not natural for me. Plus I feel like they are losing their English and I want them to have some balance.

I would say not to stress over what feels comfortable for you. It's an evolution and when you're ready to let go of the English some more, you will.

January 12, 2009 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Frankofile said...

just found your 'new' blog and looking forward to catching up with you. Happy New Year!

January 12, 2009 at 4:23 PM  

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