Wednesday, December 9, 2009

50 Centimeters.

One of my favorite views. Walking to the American Library in Paris.

Memorial at tunnel where the paparazzi followed Princess D.

"Noooo! Noooo! No!, You must NEVER allow the French men to touch you. He is a stranger!" he yells at me.
"Ola, la, la, No, never! Why? Why didn't you tell him to stop it?!" Pierre continues to yell after I tell him about yesterday's waiter touching my hands. (see yesterday's post)

"Pierre, it was only......." I started to say, my hands, but was interrupted by his disgust and more yelling. "No, no, never! This man should never touch you!"
Pierre is angry, walking in small circles in his kitchen, throwing his hands in the air.
I'm confused. Why is he so angry, just because I told him a waiter was flirting? I wanted to know.
"Yes, yes, okay. A man can compliment with you and flirt with you. Even I, too flirt with the women, but I NEVER TOUCH!" he explains.

Note: for those just joining my blog, Pierre is 100% French, he is my "French High Society"on-again, off-again, much older (20+years) friend and a 'something else' kind of relationship I haven't quite figured out.
He invites me join his world of High Society parties, dinners, shopping for 3,000 euro designer dresses, art auctions, fashion shows, etc.
When I'm with him, I feel like I have one 'limited edition' designer shoe in the door of High Society and the other stocking foot just out of military combat boots on the everyday sidewalks of Paris.

Come here, stand here. He points for me to stand in front of him, as I begin to feel like Eliza Doolittle. "50 centimeters. 50 centimeters. You must maintain this space for your personal dignity and respect! You must barricade a fence here." he explains.
I wonder if this is another one of his "High Society Rules" just as he begins to say, "In High Society, you must maintain your personal dignity. It is for your image." he insists, adding "Do you think your president's wife would allow this man to touch her like that? What about Jackie O?" he continues. "Do you think these women would allow a strange man to touch their hands?"
He begins to calm down as he continues questioning, "What about in America? Would you allow a strange man to do this?"
"No." I reply. "Not a stranger."
"Okay, it is the same thing in France. Do I have to teach you everything? I cannot teach you everything! You are High Society. You must have a barrier to protect your image." he finishes the lecture.

I'm single, I am not High Society. How will I ever meet my next boyfriend or husband if he must remain 50cm apart?, I wonder.
As if Pierre could read my mind, he adds. "After you know a man from talking and coffee and dinner, then later, only later, much, much later can he touch you."

I had only stopped by his apartment for a few minutes, on my way to the American Library in Paris. Never expecting to be scolded and lectured. We enjoyed a cup of coffee in his kitchen, more conversation about the holidays and I left to return a few books before heading to Las Vegas next week for the holidays.
I wonder how many books there are on personal space and dignity in the library? I don't bother to look, because I now understand the "50 Centimeter Rule".
Some things cannot be learned from a book.

The American Library in Paris

1 comment:

  1. You and Pierre have a very interesting relationship - I can't quite make it out (and it seems like you can't sometimes either)! But I think in this case he gave you good advice in general. Although I will admit that it does sometimes depend on the situation - maybe in a very casual, non-threatening situation it might be okay. Just my 2 cents.