Saturday, July 30, 2011

French Life in 2011, Local Thoughts

I’ve been sharing these as of late on Twitter, but thought they should come up here as I’m curious what others think/perceive. In recent conversations with a French national, I’ve heard some poignant and revealing statements. They are certainly sweeping generalizations and perhaps a bit on the radical side, but having been here a year and a half, I tend to agree that these are legit sentiments here. We are speaking in these conversations about French people of French descent, not the now large immigrant population in France.

Also keep in mind that these talks happened wholly in French, so I reserve the right to have poorly translated the phrasing/wording, though the point remains the same.

“In France, we are atheists. The USA doesn’t know what atheism is. I’ve met many Americans, and none of them has been a true atheist.”

Later added was that discussion of the ‘soul’ no longer exists, as that is now a word associated solely (ha) with religion. No one thinks of or speaks of that concept anymore.

Next bomb to drop was on the topic of adultery. Discussing an article that spoke of the different viewpoints of adultery between Americans and French, we were told:

“Adultery is an accident. A couple of times is no big deal. After 3 or so there may be problems in the relationship.”

And finally, a statement on the status of relationships and courtship:

“Fiancés don’t exist anymore in France. People live together, then may or may not get married.”

There are 4 local couples our age that we know fairly well. All committed and living together. 1 is married (also from non-French families), the other 3 are French and not married. We heard someone recently who has been in a committed relationship for years, has a child, say, “oh no, we’re not ready for marriage yet.”

This is where we live. Agree/disagree? How does it differ from your culture?


Jimmie said...

I guess not getting married is one way to keep the divorice rates down.

Tim H said...

Son, unfortunately the US is right in the middle of the relationship culture you described. This year there are movies or shows about "Friends with Benefits" (not medical or dental). I just had a discussion with a coworker who went on a family vacation and her son brought his live-in girlfriend who doesn't fit well with the family. Her comment was "At least they aren't married!"?!?!

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Jimmie - I guess so. I don't know the stats, but I suppose that's one side-effect (benefit?).

Dad H - Interesting. I hear often that Europe is the USA in 10-15 years. As information passes more quickly maybe that gap will close a bit.