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Besides, is it really necessary to have so many small courses spread out over several hours, with cigarette breaks in between?
We have places to go, we think, although we're not really sure where exactly; it's just that we need to get up and move.
We also disagreed with how to achieve a work/life balance. Whether we were in our apartment in Paris or New York, I would spend 10 hours a day at my computer writing—I needed to earn money. I couldn't understand how Henri could so comfortably "Because we don't define ourselves by what we do," Henri explained to me more than once. Did it really matter that one waited tables or worked in finance or was a curator at the Louvre? What mattered was what they did in their off hours, with their several-hour-long dinners, their wine, their cigarettes between courses, while not using the word "love" in regards to the chef that had made an epic pistachio-encrusted chèvre. "Being married to a Parisian was a cultural wake-up call.
And even if I had the means to be a "lady who lunches," I'd still get antsy and have to do with my time. "Even if you asked a French person, in perfect French without a hint of your American accent, what they did for a living, they would know you're American." But still that didn't stop me. New Yorkers seem to think—at least compared to the rest of the country—that we're more in line with the thinking of Parisians; but we're not." When our marriage came to an end for several reasons that had less to do with cultural differences and more to do with Henri's infidelity (which, depending on who you ask, could be deemed cultural), part of me hoped that what I learned during our relationship would stick with me.
Even if I was single, I had zero interest in this older man.
I simply loved him the way one loves pizza or a Jimmy Stewart movie.
Before I could escape, he planted a very wet and very "French" kiss on me, as I struggled to get away. Papa, tell her."Here was a 17-year-old telling me the ways of love and sex, in front of her father, no less.
I began to apologize profusely to Madeleine."Prude," she said, laughing at me. When you love someone, you kiss them no matter where you are. Even now, as I'm about to be on the other side of 35, I can't talk that way in front of my own father.
It's a bizarre dance of the faces, to say the least, and noses are usually bonked, while apologies are made. Although I still live part of the year in Paris, I know I will never be completely Parisian in my behavior.
Shortly after our wedding, Henri and I were walking along Rue des Martyrs with his teenage daughter from his first marriage.
At one point, as we paused to cross the street, Henri grabbed me by the waist and pulled me into him. You tell yourself you're the best at making love or giving oral, so then you are.
But there I was, on our wedding night, consoling my husband and reassuring him that I didn't have any interest in his brother-in-law.
"I love him like that Bon Iver song I can't stop playing," I said.