But before this happens, he’ll ask you at least three times whether you’re really coming, and tell you how much he’s looking forward to it. Then you’ll wait and wait, sitting awkwardly and alone at a table because he’s stood you up. When you call him in annoyance, you’ll hear him whisper how sorry he is, and how his mother has unexpectedly been admitted to hospital. In the background you’ll hear screaming children. No joke. This has happened many a time.
Paris is the capital of flings, a breeding ground for affairs of every colour. Particularly in high society, the lover is practically an institution. Former President Mitterand wasn’t the only one to have an informal second wife. Lady killer Dominique Strauß-Kahn was just the tip of the iceberg. Parisians don’t separate, they smile and lie and put up a pretence. Huge posters in the Metro nonchalantly advertise a website for adulterous adventures., Then there is also those who will ask you during your first glass of red wine whether you might like to accompany them to a swinger party. Or, those who after three words during an after-work cocktail will enquire whether you’ll be ending the night at your place or theirs. And, whilst you are still rushing to down your Margarita, they’ve already moved on to their next sure-fire conquest. There are others who will send group emails to all the women in their address book whom they’d like to go out with at night. What a shame when they forget to hide the other “chéries” as blind carbon copies. Incidentally, it took five years until I was strolling through the city of love hand in hand – with a Frenchman. Plus, it took three years until he was “fully cooked”.