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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

.....The American Dog vs The French Cool Cats



We have had our fair share of problems with our dogs since arriving in Paris, but if put to the test, and given only one species to have as a pet, dogs win with me hands (paws) down.
In the move “Up”, there is a scene where the old man and the boy meet a dog that can talk.  One of the first things that the dog says is, “I’ve just met you and I already love you”.
"Hi, how ya doing?"

This dog is clearly an American. 
The French, on the other hand, are more aloof.  They have a more cat-like attitude.  “Ah, you feed me and what, I am supposed to be grateful?  Pfff…I will pee in your houseplants.”    
"Pffff.....you are boring"

The stereotypes about French rudeness and snobbery are legendary.   There have been books written about it and characters created (my fave, Pepe Le Pew!) depicting it.  
"You love me, no?"
 The cultures and the people are different. 
While an American waiter will check on you repeatedly, “are you okay?  Is everything perfect?  Can I get you anything, anything at all?  Perhaps a spare kidney, my first born child?”  A French waiter will take your order and bring you your food and then leave you to enjoy it…maybe he will do this nicely, maybe not.  Both ways have their values; its nice not to have to flag a waiter down and then have him roll his eyes at you just to get a napkin/fork/water/bill.  On the other hand, is there anything more annoying than an overly cheerful server interrupting your conversation every ten minutes?  “Hi, I’m Brittany, and we are going to have a great lunch today!”
When you walk into a business/store in France; it is not unlikely that no one will speak to you.  But you can’t take it personally; these are cats, people!  Do you expect a cat to immediately jump up and great you and love you…not really.  When a stranger walks into an American establishment, they are practically assaulted with friendliness; you are greeted, questions asked, informal introductions given.  “Come on, join us!  We are having so much fun!”  Dogs. 
So I don’t think it's really that the French are snobs; they are just cats.  They are more reserved and not likely great you with kindness (after all, you are "Am-air-ee-can" and therefore a stranger!).  And while I will always be a dog person, hopefully cats will starting to grow on me.