Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, December 21, 2009

Up until now, I was considering myself to be fairly knowledgeable about French culture, but the more time I spend with C, the more I realize how much I have left to learn. Fab was practically American, so we never really had any cultural misunderstandings or differences, but with C, we're sometimes worlds apart. Like I've already mentioned, there's his insistence on eating literally everything with a knife and a fork. Or how his idea of what constitutes a meal is so narrowly defined.

And I had to laugh the other day when we were watching an American sitcom. The female character ended up being pretty mean to one of her friends. They part ways in a huff, but a few hours later she realizes the error of her ways and she shows up at his door with a big bucket of ice cream. Now C will often times pause the show we're watching to ask a what X word means or the meaning of Y phrase, but this time he paused it and just had a bewildered look on his face. He literally could not understand why she would show up with ice cream. He was so mystified by it that I could not stop laughing. And the worst part is, I couldn't even explain why she would bring ice cream. I mean really, he's right - why ice cream? I tried talking about how they would make up and then eat straight out of the carton with a big spoon, but that just horrified him even more. (and made me laugh even harder)

Oh, the joys of a bi-cultural relationship!

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9 Comments:

Blogger DiaryofWhy said...

Haaaaa. This post made me laugh. I love thinking about the concept of eating out of a big tub of ice cream with a spoon, and imagining I'm an alien from outer space going, why? But, why??? Foreign boyfriend=constant stream of amusement. Keep those cultural misunderstandings coming, Ksam!

December 22, 2009 at 5:54 AM  
Blogger Pierre said...

"there's his insistence on eating literally everything with a knife and a fork": if that includes Mars/Snickers bars, thre might be more than a cultural misunderstanding...!

As for the ice cream, I don't see anything bad in that, except that after half a liter, my stomache starts feeling pretty painful...

December 22, 2009 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger The Bold Soul said...

I think it's also a certain kind of French person; for instance my husband is also fairly "Americanized" so we don't have too many misunderstandings. But my oldest step-son? Totally entrenched in all things French and he hasn't traveled or spent enough time on the planet, yet, to be able to appreciate that just because something is DIFFERENT, doesn't make it WRONG or BAD. I get pretty fed up sometimes with him using the word "bizarre" to describe anything that makes him uncomfortable or that he finds unusual -- because the implication is that the way HE knows it is RIGHT and anything else must therefore be wrong. I don't know how old C is or how much he's traveled, but maybe that's a factor for him?

Don't you find it interesting that the French can eat things (like every single part of a cow or pig) but with any food they DON'T recognize (like a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving) they tend to turn up their noses? It's like, "Hey, Frenchie, you eat TRIPE for God's sake... and you won't taste a pumpkin pie? Or some good spicy Mexican food?"

And I TOTALLY get the ice cream thing. Just a peace offering between two friends, and yes they'd probably eat right out of the carton.

December 22, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Frou Frou said...

intriguing and funny post...
What does exactly constitute a meal, then?:) And what was the girl supposed to do then (the icem cream bucket)?

December 22, 2009 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger L said...

At least in my experience, the "proper meal" definition can change over time, especially when they're not the ones cooking. Meal timing has even become flexible to a certain extent: this weekend we ate lunch at 3:30pm!

December 22, 2009 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

:-) where's the like button for this post?

December 22, 2009 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

yeah yeah bi-cultural differences are all cute in the beginning but then it gets old when you find yourself having to explain things over and over (YES, Max, we are having pancakes and hash browns for dinner, and YES chez moi, this is normal). I wish he were more North Americanized and by that, I mean I wish he knew who Oprah and Dr Phil were and that it's normal to let the dog sleep on the bed.

December 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

Cultural differences can make for some interesting moments. I suspect the girl in the movie took her friend the ice cream because she knew he liked it.

December 22, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger jadie said...

also, here ice cream is both comfort food and sweet indulgence, something we all occasionally indulge in! so sharing that is an unspoken shorthand for an apology and to renewed good feelings between friends...

bold soul: with my sons, i taught them to respond to differences with the word "interesting". so they could enjoy rather than recoil...and they sorta did it, sometimes!

December 22, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

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