Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Sunday, June 19, 2011

C was one of ten people chosen to welcome the foreign military delegations at this year's Salon de Bourget. It's a big honor, but also a big time commitment. Meaning he has to be at the Charles de Gaulle airport 24/7 for ten days straight. Unfortunately those ten days also fall between two of my work trips, so our plans to see each other and attend his brother's wedding reception in Normandy this weekend fell to the wayside.

This, however, did not sit well with his brother and his new bride. Which is how I found myself heading to the reception alone, via a complicated system of RERs and trains. It was being held in such a small town that the nearest train station was 30min away, and someone had to be sent to pick me up.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous. This would be the first time I would ever be alone with C's family, and as I am still a little bit more than traumatized by the family events and get-togethers in Bretagne, the butterflies were having a heyday in my stomach. Old habits die hard I guess. Luckily for me, time and time again C's family turns out to be way more open-minded than Fab's family & friends ever were, and I ended up having a lovely time. (Even though it made me realize that I am not a details-person and that we still have a lot of work left to do).

There were however a few funny moments. The bride is Chinese and her parents had made the trip over to France. They don't speak a word of French and not more than a few words of English, so communication was difficult. But I had to laugh when C's mom asked me how you said "copine" in English and I said "girlfriend". She said "No, no, that's not it. It's "love" something or other. Yes, there we go, "Love friend". And then she said in English "Zees ez zee love freend of C". Good thing they didn't speak English very well, or they'd probably end up thinking I was his mistress!!

Later on, after dinner was served, C's mom and other brother turned to me and started talking about the DSK affair. C absolutely hates when they talk politics at the dinner table, but since he wasn't there to stop them, off they went into an 30min interrogation about why the Americans are insisting he is guilty when everyone knows he is innocent. Some of their comments to me:

"It has to be a plot by the Americans. They are just jealous of DSK's popularity worldwide and didn't want him to become president of France." Um yeah...Except 99% of Americans didn't even know who he was before the whole affair.

"Why are the Americans all smack-talking him for being rich? You love rich people!" I watch a lot of American TV now that we have the slingbox and I've never once heard anyone criticize him for having money. French TV on the other hand is another matter -people have been all over him here for his wealth. So nice try.

"It has to be the cleaning lady just wanting to sue". I've thought a lot about this, and I think I disagree. Before getting nationality, I was always nervous about renewing my cds every year and I did everything I could to stay under the radar, as I think a lot of foreigners in unstable situations do. Here was this poor woman, just trying to make a life for herself in a new country. But what do you guys think?

After my foreigner-defense came the biggie. C's mom practically shouted at me "Okay Samantha, explain to me how you can force someone to give you a fellation". Time froze for a second as my brain caught up to the fact that my future MIL had just said the word "blowjob" to me. And then she said it again. And again. Louder and louder each time, until everyone around us was staring.

"And seriously. How could it start on the bed and then move to the bathroom? Why didn't she escape? How can you sequestrate someone in a hotel room? So Samantha, tell me how you can force someone to do it! She has teeth, non? Why wouldn't she just have bit him during the FELLATION??" (again with that word)

Nothing I was saying was good enough for her, so I finally just semi-shouted "How the heck would I know, I wasn't there!" And then luckily a few of my tablemates chipped in and agreed with me, and quickly changed the topic. C's mom is great, but man, sometimes she just has no filter....

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Blogger Mallory said...

I definitely don't have a filter and I would have told her in graphic detail how it is possible to force someone to do that. I would maybe have included a stick figure drawing.

I have my doubts that it did occur, but if it was a setup, no other than the French would be responsible. As if Americans care that much about French politics.

June 19, 2011 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Bee Ean said...

Oh gosh, must be awful for you to have to go through all these conversations.

June 19, 2011 at 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been waiting since I first saw your tweet about C's mom and the "fellation" shouting and now I cannot stop laughing! That is just hysterical!

And clearly, this group really doesn't understand America or Americans. But I think you did great, considering the circumstances. And you where there to represent for you and your honey. Well done.

June 19, 2011 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger L said...

I love how she was convinced you didn't know the right translation for 'copine'! And I guess the no-sauce, no-oranges upbringing for C and his brother's didn't work. One's marrying a Chinese, the other an American!

June 19, 2011 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger MilkJam said...

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! nice story!!! At least it gave you something to tell C when you got home! :)

June 20, 2011 at 6:38 AM  
Blogger Crystal said...

LOL..I can totally imagine your face when your MIL was asking you about "fellation" gauche at a wedding reception and all...but makes for a great story!

My students don't seem to want to talk about DSK. I think most of them don't really even care. Plus, I'm Canadian so they probably dont want to know my opinion on it (because you know the court system in Canada is run by Mounties and the jails are igloos up in the northern territories).

Way to keep your cool during those conversations and good for you for going without C! I have yet to attend one of Max's family functions without him. I am not that brave.

June 20, 2011 at 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil's dad also tried the "impossible to force oral sex" conversation with me. I just pointed him to all those Belgian pedophile priests are an example of how to force oral sex on an unwilling victim.

June 20, 2011 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Eileen said...

All you need is a difference in strength and you can force someone to do almost anything. Maybe a lot of people just aren't aware of that.

In any case, it's not the victim who's suing, and she had no idea who Strauss-Kahn was. It's the state that's suing, as often happens in criminal cases. The victim hasn't sued.

June 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Canedolia said...

This made me laugh out loud but I'm sure at the time it was less funny! I hate those conversations where, as a foreigner, you end up being responsible for the actions of everyone in your country - even if you think your countrymen are right, it somehow makes it harder to defend your opinions. Good for you for staying rational!

June 20, 2011 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger fashion survivor said...

Her reaction also doesn't take into account the massive power difference between the two individuals and the way that women are generally taught to be nice and polite to everyone--for example, a friend of mine was stuck next to a masturbator on a city bus and remembers that she actually said "excuse me" as she moved away from him (she was furious at herself later, but that's how deep that training goes). The poor woman probably didn't want to lose her job, couldn't believe what was happening, etc--I'm sure C's mom is a lovely person but her comments are pretty depressing.

June 20, 2011 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

Wow ! You did really great Sam !
Clearly your MIL didn't ave any filter. Was she trying to embarass you or what ?
About DSK, on my first dinner outside from home, we talked about the case...on a French point of view i.e completely biased and clueless about American people and American justice. I won't talk about it as I am feeling nauseous everytime I hear is name but just saying all of you are rigt, Mallory :)).
And again, well done Sam, it must have been some very long minutes !

June 20, 2011 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger au soleil levant said...

I've had questions from my French friends about the DSK thing, and it's been a bit awkward, although fellation hasn't made an appearance. That's hilarious!

I'm so glad that you get along well with C's family, that's great to hear.

June 21, 2011 at 3:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am traumatised by that story...

Actually the way the whole DSK affair has been handled here in France has really traumatised me in general! Heard one jerk on France Culture talking about how flirting and skirt chasing is part of French culture and heritage and how dare the feminists try to take that away from them, in the same breath he talked about DSK as an example...really frightens me that rape is being used to talk about flirting!

I feel awful for this poor woman.

June 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger Fned said...

LMAO !!!! I had to go through the same thing a few weeks ago with the in-laws!! Hahahah -- I just loved seeing them get more and more red in the face the more I "defended" the US side.


June 22, 2011 at 12:38 AM  
Blogger Oneika said...

Aye aye aye! Sucks that you have to represent the WHOLE U.S.A. just because you are from there... Seems like you get pulled into a lot of discussions..

June 22, 2011 at 5:15 PM  

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