On Friday night, I met one of my mothers friends from her French classes in Australia for drinks. He is around my age, and travelling through town before trying to find some work in London, and since I love showing people around this fantabulous city, I jumped at the opportunity.
Sylvain met us (after I had put away quite a few of those Happy Hour beverages) in the Latin Quarter, and we headed to O'Neill for more drinkies (their beer is apparently excellent, but as I'm not a beer drinker, I can't say much) and flammekueches.
There are a lot of stereotypes about France, and about French men in particular - being experts on the ins and outs of love and all. Many of the older films and television shows celebrate this stereotype, but I have to say that as a general rule, the majority of programs and films of more recent years are a little more mild, and have a tendency to downplay this, at least in comparison to the older ones. But this weekend, we met a gentleman who took the cake.
Just before Sylvain met up with us, my companion and I were sitting in The Mazet, nursing a couple of drinks. A French gentleman in his fifties walked in and strode up to the bar.
"A beer for me!" he pounded his fist on the bartop.
"What do you want?" said the barman, gesturing at his choice of glasses. "A small one, or one like his?" He pointed at the beer that my companion held in his hand.
"Ooooooh la la," the Frenchman exclaimed. "I think a small one. I need to be able to make love tonight, you know."
The barman winked and handed him the beer, and the Frenchman turned to me, and raised his glass in a toast.
"I really do, you know," he confided to me. "I could not drink what your friend is having and be able to perform to the best of my abilities!"
I grinned and murmured a very polite "d'accord." He moved away and my friend looked at me expectantly, his French not quite having caught the gist of the exchange.
I explained, he laughed, and I said, "welcome to France!"
I think that my Australian companion was almost more delighted to see this particular stereotype come to life than if this guy had come in wearing a beret and carrying a baguette.