Faux Pas Friday: Hazards of the Happy Dance

Under certain conditions, I’m a dangerous woman.

Start with a little sun after a drawn-out deluge, dress in cute summer attire, add a little dancing and me without my glasses – these were this week’s ingredients.

It’s like this: It rained for days, for weeks without end. It was as if we would drown, as if the city might swim away. So when the sky suddenly opened into sunshine, I cannot tell you how miraculous it felt.

LAAAAA! The sun! Revelers enjoying some rays.

We skipped over spring fever and headed straight to summer. Life is beautiful again.

I went to dance class on Tuesday as I do; it’s my favorite time of the week. With the majority of my life spent sitting and struggling over words, the chance to move and express myself in a totally different way feels like freedom. Dancing is a saving grace.

After class it was still light outside – after 9 PM!

I don’t know if it’s all that rolling around and sweating and shaking it to good music, but I’m always much looser after class. Maybe too loose. I still have the songs in my head and sometimes I unwittingly break into a dance shuffle on the street. I try to keep it under wraps (conform to societal norms, Sion!), but I guess I’m not that much of a conformist.

So I’m walking up my block and I kind of throw my head back and arc my arms behind me; one of my involuntary improv moves.

Up ahead a man in a sky blue shirt does a double and then a triple take as he crosses the street. I smile because I realize – oh yeah, that probably looked kind of weird, huh?

But so now I’m smiling at him and he’s really like, what? (quadruple take!)

He stops on the street across from me and just looks.

I’m near-sighted and I don’t often wear my glasses when I’m out (I don’t know why. Maybe because I can see directly in front of me and it’s fun when the rest of the world past that point is a surprise when I get to it!)

So I can’t tell anything about this man except what he is wearing. That he is tall, lean. His face? A total blur.

I give him a shrug of my shoulders and a cheeky smile and continue walking.

After a brief pause, I hear him call after me and now he is crossing back across the street, walking behind me, trying to catch up.

Oh no, what have I done? Don’t smile at men on the street like that!

No smiling

But part of me gets a little tingle…oh, what if tall, blue-shirted man is cute? Amazing? Spontaneous like me?

After pretending I don’t hear him for a few moments, I let my curiosity get the best of me. I stop and turn around. Watch as the blur approaches.

Closer, closer.

And…oh, dear god, no. He is…a child! (Ok, maybe not a minor, but really, really young. I do not want to hazard a guess).

I look at the boy and hope that he realizes I’m old. (I consider myself young, too, but not when compared to boys. Ahem).

He does not seem to notice I am old. He asks my name.

“Sion.” (Why my real name? Ugh, I am incapable of lying).

He introduces himself.

“Do you live around here?” he asks.

(Lie, Sion, lie!) “Yeah, right up there.” (Doh!)

“I’ve never seen a woman do that before,” he says and gestures, lifting his arms behind him slightly.

“Yeah, I know. I just came from dance class. I don’t know; it’s weird.”

“You have a beautiful smile.”

“Thanks. Well, bonne soiree!” I say chirpily trying to get the boy/man to disappear.

“Can I have your number?” he says pulling his phone out of his pocket.

“No, I’m sorry.” I have made a grave error, I’m thinking. Young man, shoo!

I flee into my courtyard.

But after a moment, he’s behind me again.

“Ok, not your phone number then. I just want to do one thing with you and then I’ll go.”

(Oh dear god, no. You want to do one thing with me?)

“Can I kiss you and then I will go?”

“No, I’m sorry,” I say.

C’est vrai?” he asks seeming to be genuinely confused.

“Yes, it’s really true.” …that I do not want to kiss you. I am so sorry I smiled at you. I am a strange, girl, it’s true.

Bonne soiree,” I say again, hoping this time it’s more definitive and move rapidly to my building. Now I’m a tiny bit peeved at myself – he knows where I live!

Luckily he did not follow me further so I could laugh at myself in peace.

I have found it very difficult to date in Paris. As in, my dating life is nonexistent. (The French don’t even have a word for a “date.” That might be one of the problems).

So I’m the single girl in the City of Love gettin’ no lovin’. Feeling mostly invisible, to tell the truth. All those stories of fawning French men, the amorous stereotype – this has never been my reality.

But perhaps I’ve found the key. Break it down (or do bizarre moves) on the street and there’s sure to be some attention.

Only, I should wear my glasses more often so I can be a better judge; it’s best to smile only at appropriate ones.


33 Responses to “Faux Pas Friday: Hazards of the Happy Dance”

  1. 1 Jennyphoria June 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I love it. To me, this story is the essence of Paris. Although, I also forget not to dance on the street or smile at cute but way too young men, so maybe I’m not the best judge 🙂


  2. 4 Betty Cotter June 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I found myself wishing you had kissed him … I mean, I’m thinking he was at least above the age of consent, right? And how great it would be, one kiss and he’s gone! Although it might not have worked out that way. 🙂


    • 5 paris (im)perfect June 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Betty, the thought actually flitted through my mind. I was even relieved when the “one thing he wanted to do with me” was just a kiss. I honestly thought it would be more!

      BUT…I’m not sure it would have worked out that way.

      Plus, I really *didn’t* have any idea how old he was. I kept vacillating between teenager? young adult?

      But believe me, my blurry vision was at fault. Next time a strikingly handsome man asks for a kiss, I might just go for it. But this boy…he was not that man 😉


  3. 6 writenaked June 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    This is incredible! I have to wonder, what if he’s older, but has a baby face? 😉


  4. 8 lupinssupins June 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Funny story, but a bit scary. Les dragueurs can be more than persistent sometimes. [Or do Parisians even use that term anymore? It was widely used 30 yrs ago, when it also implied someone a bit more sinister than a mere ‘flirt,’ more of what my mother might have called a ‘masher,’ to show MY age;-] Sois prudente, Sion!


  5. 10 Aidan Larson June 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    what a great post Sion. This is why I read blogs, thanks for reminding me.
    bisous and bon weekend,
    aidan xo


  6. 12 Mem June 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Very interesting…as others have said, Take care! Have you seen on YouTube the guy who travels around the World giving hugs to people? He seems harmless, don’t know about your guy, tho’!


  7. 14 Tanya in Transition June 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    If you could hear me howling with laughter! Very good story for a rainy Friday (in Toronto).


  8. 16 Franck June 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Sure you won’t date a lot here if you say “no thanks”, you cut the possibilty to meet his elder brother or cousin or father???


  9. 18 chickster June 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Sounds like a serious charmer starting young!


  10. 20 Patrick Ross June 2, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Wow, what a story! As a man, I find myself wondering what his success rate is. I never tried that technique!

    By the way, you had me at “Under certain conditions, I’m a dangerous woman.”


  11. 22 L June 2, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Ha ha, wow, I am going to try that move in NY tomorrow! (Yours, not the boy’s.)


  12. 24 Franck June 2, 2012 at 10:23 am

    And we have a word for “date”, that is “rendez-vous”, does it ring a bell?? And if you bark it instead saying it, that means “surrender!”. With all that keys and your beautiful smile if you don’t meet anyone interesting in Paris, there are two or three nunneries around here.


    • 25 paris (im)perfect June 2, 2012 at 11:53 am

      But you can also have a rendezvous with a friend, you can also have a rendezvous with a client, right? I’m talking about one word that expresses it’s most certainly romantic! When you say “date” in English you know that it’s definitely the latter, not, say, a meeting with your bank counselor. I think you might be proving why I have so much trouble, though. I guess I don’t get your French charm or humor… 😉


  13. 26 Franck June 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Are you trying to make me believe a man (me) would have to learn to a woman (you) that everything is in the sweetness of the tone???? Did someone change the rules of the universe while I was sleeping??


  14. 27 Buffy June 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Great story! There is nothing wrong with a younger man…man that is, and you are not old. I am old, and I date younger men when I happen to date. I am hoping when I am 50, I will like men my age. haha Enjoy the compliment he gave you. I too would have been scared though. Even with the little times I actually date nowadays, I believe in knowing someone first. It will happen for you again, I am sure. I have heard the French don’t believe in the concept of dating like we do. Have a wonderful day! I hope the sun stayed for you.


    • 28 paris (im)perfect June 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Hi Buffy! Oh, I agree. Nothing wrong with dating younger men. Just has to be a *man* not a boy 😉 (I could tell stories about age differences…but it’s been the other way around for me!) You’re right. The concept of dating here is nothing like it is in the States. Just another reason I’m bumbling my way along. But it’s all good. I’m feeling happy and dancing in the streets, so obviously I’m ok! Hope you had a great weekend, Buffy.


  15. 29 Milsters June 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Hey hun! Actually, I am living in between the two cities right now. Spending 2 weeks in BsAs then 2 weeks in Paris. Mainly because of work, and also because I am waiting for the visa stuff to work itself out in France. But I am unofficially living between the two!

    Btw I am moving to Parmentier in the 11e! I LOVE this neighbourhood. I am really excited. We should meet up soon; it’ll be easier!




  16. 31 Amy Kortuem June 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    This is wonderful! Lovely that he responsed to your authentic, artistic self.

    I’ve been in Ireland for 2 weeks (read all about my adventures on my blog!) and have missed your posts. I’ll love catching up with you this week.


  1. 1 End of Summer Mantra (and the Return to Paris) « paris (im)perfect Trackback on August 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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