french people


pros: - direct - opinionated - smokers - appreciate house music - when good conversationalists, skilled at creating a fun, sexy (not necessarily sexual) atmosphere cons: - pretentious about pronunciation - racist - if not explicitly so, then blissfully paternalistic - love making (easily disproven) vibe-based arguments At the Thanksgiving table, Claudia and I seat ourselves near the hot, recently-engaged couple and flirt with them in the offhand chance they invite one of us for a threesome--or both of us for a foursome. The couple is a Frenchman (Alex) and a Russian woman (Anya). The woman is hotter (obviously), with a pixie cut and red lipstick, but she is a little socially oblivious in a way that the man compensates for, buttressing the impression of their union as being evenly matched, a true whole. I take shots of tequila with Anya and Olivia (the Frenchman's sister) between rounds of food, and I address Anya by name as we sit next to each other at the table, brushing her arm once as we joked around. Later, Claudia and I try to muffle our laughter in the kitchen at Vlad the Canadian's dating stories and general oblivion as Bianca grins at and exchanges glances with us from her seat at the table. During this time, the couple is absent, the man having taken a prolonged retreat to the bathroom upstairs before the woman went searching for answers, and Claudia and I muse on whether they're having a quickie, probably yes, they're so hot. The closest we get to a heated political debate occurs when Bianca insists she would never live in a red state while Alex (in classic French fashion) reduces structural inequality to humanistic difference. Claudia and I escape to her room to digest when the French conglomerate arrives, fresh from their own Thanksgiving dinner ("Bring booze," Olivia had commanded them on the phone, her English taking on a French accent as she spoke to her compatriots), and we finish Breaking Dawn Part 1 before deciding to mingle for a bit. The party, despite sounding so rowdy when we were upstairs, has settled down, and we light and relight our stubby joints on the patio while the couple argues about the EU, the woman elegantly smoking one of those long, thin cigarettes, because of course. She reveals herself to be a pro-Russia apologist and complains of the Ukrainian refugees' insistence on the right to their own country and culture when they actually mostly communicate via Russian after leaving their country. The man solemnly underscores the importance of the EU's idealism in maintaining open borders and declares the EU to be the first project of its kind, countries deciding to make some sacrifice for the sake of a stronger whole, ignoring the fact that the USSR and other bodies of legally joined nation-states once existed. A guy comes out to join us on the patio, rolling something on a tray. "Is that a spliff?" I ask, and I offer him our leftover joints, now down to the crooked filters, as Claudia patiently explains the thesis of Adam Tooze's Crashed to the couple to illustrate why the EU can't just say "fuck you" to the US. This is the final sibling, Alex and Olivia's younger brother. As we talk, I have trouble gauging the chances of us hooking up. I feel like there's definitely some mutual sexual attraction but what if it's all in my head? I'm disconcerted by him, he feels incoherent, his words textually present him as a bro-y American guy in his mid-twenties but his voice is too rich to be of someone our age and he's too smooth of a talker, there's something incongruous about the impression he creates even though none of it feels artificial. I realize with distress that it's the UES guy that some of his mannerisms remind me of, and I feel repulsed but still kinda into it but nauseous with myself. When Claudia makes her exit from the patio I leave with her without saying goodbye to anyone. "If I didn't have to wake up early to study I would've done coke with the frenchies and followed them to the ends of the earth," she says later, and I wistfully agree. This morning I wake up sexually frustrated, all the free-floating erotic charge from last night having found no catharsis. A sexy Thanksgiving comes but once in a blue moon, and perhaps I had been unprepared to meet it.