I had to go in for minor knee surgery in January and I knew I would be out of romantic circulation for a while. And I also knew I would have time and a computer on my hands (with free wifi in the Parisian clinic). So, I decided to sign up with an internet dating service and have a go at dating Frenchmen. I had been married to a Frenchman before but I nixed that nationality out of my dating pool once the divorce was final. Paris is full of foreigners so it was not a problem finding other sources for amorous activity. But, I told myself, maybe it was time to turn the (digital) page. I chose “match.com”, one of the older sites; I just couldn’t see myself tindering, happning or adopting a French guy. I felt safe going with the old, traditional one.
I started navigating through tons of profiles – some completely ridiculous (like a scary looking guy in front of his webcam saying he liked “round” women) – and some less ridiculous. I liked leafing through the photos and seeing guys in their “Speedo” bathing suits since you really don’t see many of those on US beaches. I corresponded a lot in both French and English but I preferred to write in English so I naturally favored those who did the same.
Then I started meeting guys for a drink. The rendezvous’s were close to my apartment but not too close. I met a few who were “OK” – nice but not romantic material. I met a couple of guys who were so full of themselves their ankles were swelling (as the French would say). And then I met one who I was actually interested in and I thought the interest was mutual. I’ll call him “Jean” – but, you should know, that’s his real name and I really hope he’s reading this blog right now.
I liked Jean because he smiled a lot. He had travelled quite a bit and had an apartment in Paris and a vacation house on some island in Brittany. He was retired, energetic and he was one of those “Speedo” guys. I also thought he was a generous character since he offered to cook a meal at my place for English-speaking friends. I should have been a bit suspicious right then but I know many French people who like to practice their English socially and I assumed he was one of them.
And then he said he would bring the food and the wine and that closed the deal for me. We picked the date for the dinner and I invited some American friends and family. Jean and I both agreed that 6 was a good number for people at the dinner table.
Jean brought the fresh sea bass and wine to my apartment on Friday for the Saturday dinner. I was taking care of the “aperitif” and dessert. What a team. On Saturday evening, one of my American friends cancelled on the dinner, so I told Jean there would be only five of us. I asked him if he had another friend who spoke English who would like to join us and he said yes. I got a phone call at the same time he was on his phone with the mystery guest so I don’t know what he said to her to explain the last minute invitation. But it worked. She was supposedly in her pajamas but she was dressed to the nines when she showed up at my place an hour later. Oh, and Jean told us her name was “Helene”.
Helene’s name was really Marie-Helene (I am not using her real name) but Jean somehow didn’t know that. Anyway, she was an interesting person with a medical background who also had travelled a lot. But, as the evening progressed, it became obvious that they did not know each other very well. Finally, when I was in the kitchen getting the fish ready with
Jean, my friend asked Marie-Helene when she had met Jean. And the wonderful answer was, “This morning – we had coffee together. We met on match.com”.
As the evening progressed, it was obvious that they were getting all hot and bothered for each other – and I was sitting right in the middle of this heat, smoldering, but holding my tongue. She thought I was an old friend or colleague of Jean’s and I had thought the same of her. Only he knew what was going on since he had set it up. I had nothing against this lady so I just let the evening flow by and kept drinking the wine he brought (which was wonderful – at least the evening wasn’t a total waste). My friends left before the newly-formed couple did but not without whispering to me what a shameless jerk they thought this guy was.
Jean and Marie-Helene left in their uber together, both smiling and thanking me profusely. She gave me her email address to keep in touch but I threw it away as soon as they left. I let twenty minutes go by before I texted Jean in a drunken (but legitimate) haze. I think I wrote something like “Don’t contact me again. Your behavior tonight was rude, improper and unacceptable.” About ten minutes later, he texted back with “I thought it was a good night”. No doubt about that – from his point of view. He got two matches for the price of one. And all I got was angry.
The next day, I deleted my profile and ended my tryst with match.com. I can find enough shameless people in real life – don’t need to go looking for any on the internet.