Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Honestly, you look .... AWFUL!

There's nothing quite like brutal honesty of the french , except perhaps a slap in the face or a kick in the nether regions!

Arriving in France 8 years ago, to join my sister in her fledgling new property business , I was prepared to perhaps struggle with the language and to find the new job a challenge ..

What I wasn't prepared for was the brutal honesty of the French - My sister Suzanne took me around to all the agencies she worked with and I was introduced to one and all. "Beh, oui, elle est grande , eh? Oh la la, she is like an asparagus!" " Vous avez les memes parents?" were common comments .. Ok, I'm touching on 6 foot and Suzanne closer to 5 foot , but that didn't excuse new colleagues bursting into laughter on entering their premises!!!

When we bought our house and proudly showed our french friends around , they quickly pointed out all the negative aspects .. "Oh lala , you'll have to change the tiles here, they are so passé ma chérie" ... " Well, that bathroom needs to be ripped out for sure" " Surely you will not be keeping the crazy paving on the terrasse?" etc etc... as we grimaced and led them through to the kitchen ( very ugly) for some appertifs ( we must give you some recipes ma petite...) our house was verbally ripped to shreds!

The French are the first to tell you that you've put on weight ( my beautician, just after I'd given birth to second child), that your ears stick out ( dentist), that you haven't a clue how to cook/bake/sew/bring up your children as well as they can, and of course that you cannot speak french properly ...

So when you do get a compliment from the French , lap it up and savour it , turn it around and examine it from every angle .. because a) you may not get another one and b) you can be sure they are not lying!

Honesty , the best policy? Perhaps yes, but a little tactfulness goes a long way. You're looking great by the way, have you lost weight recently?!!

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