Testing your limits..

6 Oct

Last night marked yet another first for me in this country.

‘Twas my very first all in French date. (Well, the first one where i genuinely cared about the impression I was making anyway).

I had really been looking forward to getting the chance to talk more to this guy. While we had previously only met briefly, i felt that we might have a lot in common.

I imagined the scenario while anxiously en route on the metro – there would be a bit of one language, a bit of the other, lots of pauses, a few hilarious moments over mutual mispronunciation – all in all another night of superior ‘Franglais’.

Though it was not to be. While i know for a fact that he does speak English, very well, he was adamant that the evening’s conversing would be conducted in French. So French it was.

Normally (even in my own language) i get quite nervous when it comes to first dates. I worry a lot about the impression that i make. I worry about how to keep the conversation flowing, about seeming intelligent, seeming relaxed, and seeming eloquent. All things that simultaneously get taken away from you when you lose your ability to communicate*.

I really felt that i was at a disadvantage, as if the balance of power was severely not in my favour. I felt like i was constantly struggling to get this charming man to a) understand what i was trying to say and b) understand that i am not as stupid as i imagine i appear. I felt that it was impossible to convey who i really was, while fumbling and searching for my words.

It wasn’t all bad news though, and it brings me to remember yet again that all hard work will eventually be merited.

I managed to convey my disappointment about not being able to clearly express my thoughts and my points of views on things. But in fact, he pointed out that he felt it was easier to understand who i really was – as i didn’t have the vocabulary to talk my way around things, i needed to be direct. He thought in fact it was refreshing.

And i think my French has improved a little overnight.

However frightening every minute of those long 5 hours were, i appreciate the sentiment and the patience of my date. Perhaps it may be another successful case study to build into my franco-socio-linguistic theory!! (And it’s possible that my little mistakes may have won me a few points on the ‘cute’ scale! ;))

Whatever the outcome may or may not be, i have enjoyed the reaffirmation that you really do need to be uncomfortably challenged if you are going to see any progress with language. It takes some hard moments to be able to get a better understanding of your own limits, or, in some cases, unlimitedness!

*I’m finally empathising with poor Ariel now (after how many years of watching The Little Mermaid) when the evil sea which stole her voice and forced her to discover other charms in order to win over the love of her prince. It’s sure taken me a long time to draw some meaning out of that story!


6 Responses to “Testing your limits..”

  1. Keith Eckstein October 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Congratulations, Poulette!

    I suppose that it would be totally childish and stupid for anyone to ask about “first base” or “second base” or “lips” or “tongues” and all that sort of stuff so I’ll make a point of not asking those sort of questions!

    Remember, those 5 long hours may have been frightening for you but, it was probably the same for him and he was probably just trying to work out how to say, in his perfect English….

    “I’m just a boy, stood in front of a girl, asking her if she could…”

    Anyway… I am looking forward to hearing the next installment.

    There are some people (not me, you understand) who would probably like more detail on all that “first base” or “second base”, “lips” or “tongues” sort of stuff.

    Just a thought…

    All the best


    P.S. If you’ve got any Girlie readers they’re probably want to know what you wore and what sort of perfume you put on and all that sort of stuff that boys don’t really understand!

    • Poulette October 6, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

      I’d tell you to cover your ears Keith, as i know you absolutely DO NOT want to know the gory details, but, in fact, there were none. Just that awkward few minutes when you are saying goodbye, and then finding a new thing to talk about, and then saying goodbye again…etc, etc… all very teenage.

      I’ll be sure to keep you updated, if indeed there is any more of the story to come….

      PS. I read your blog today…. Does this make me even more CRAZY??!

  2. Keith Eckstein October 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    As regards to last question.. Yes, probably (am doing an in-depth survey to try and scientifically determine if Kiwis in France are more crazy or if it’s the Aussies that are the really nutty ones!

    Yes, I remember those few awkward moments all too well (does anyone really ever forget them) – the bit where you have to ask yourself… tongues or lips; what is expected here?

    Now, you get yourself to bed now; I’m sure you need your beauty sleep….

    All the best


    P.S. You said that you read my blog today? It wasn’t you that left that nasty mess on the toilet floor, was it?

    Do you know how long it took me to clear that up?

    And the smell…..

  3. M October 10, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    speaking on behalf of girl readers, we’re not interested in clothes and perfume worn :p just as interested in the content of the date.

  4. Keith Eckstein October 10, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    Hi M, you mean all that… ” “first base” or “second base” or “lips” or “tongues” ” stuff?

    I think the blokes are kin of interested in that as well…

    Over to you, Poulette…

  5. Poulette October 11, 2010 at 12:24 am #

    Now now you two, you know that Poulette does neither kiss nor tell.

    Ha. Yeah right!

    I’ll be sure to keep you informed when and IF anything ‘french’ may occur.

    PS. Keith i most certainly made nothing of the sort on your website floor. I’m a LADY, don’t you know?

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