Every now and then, I need a little French… mmmm… something. I poke around my favorite French sites online. I read about fashion and chaussures. I meander to a dating site or two.
It’s usually à cause de l’insomnie – insomnia – as sleep is knock-knock-knocking at my door, and I just can’t quite let it in.
Yet something about the beauty of the French language soothes me, calms my mind, triggers lovely memories of places and people.
Et encore ?
But it’s more than that. Especially when I dare to let my dancing digits take me to a French social site where I can’t help but note a few trends, however imprecise, that I find encouraging. That is, if it’s possible to come away from any dating site – anywhere – with a measure of optimism still intact.
Based on my irrefutably unreliable and sketchy research, I would say that French men at the half-century mark seem to be looking for women who are comfortable in their skin, and comfortable in their heads.
“Une femme bien dans sa peau, et bien dans sa tête.”
Sexy or sobering?
It’s not that they don’t want a woman who is séduisante – seductive. They do. It’s not that French men aren’t also looking for younger women – many are.
Aging out isn’t purely an American phenomenon; in fact, I am dismayed that more French men appear to be seeking women 10 to 15 years younger than just a few years ago.
But there is more verbiage touching on the advantages of aging, or perhaps I should say – maturing. There are mentions of needing a woman of finesse, a woman capable of intimacy, a woman who knows herself. There are fewer specifics on what she looks like or her career choices; instead, there are ample adjectives invoking her womanliness. Her qualities – compassion, curiosity, sensuality, and naturellement, passion.
There are differences in how the men present themselves as well, for example, in their interests – reading, dining with friends, theater and films. These don’t ring as contrived, like the domestic variants (scuba, hang-gliding, motorcycles and Maseratis); they do strike a more human scale.
In search of l’amour
Notable for what is implied about French culture, and equally, what is appreciated, I sense that a woman who is comfortable with her life (and the complexities of femininity) may be less common than she once was. My (male) French friends have confirmed this. It’s a bit startling, considering the extent to which French women are mythologized. Yet skimming profiles, I encountered a few disclaimers of this sort: “those looking for their next meal – or meal ticket – need not apply.” A sign of a cultural shift, or a bad economy?
I admit to an unscientifically sound sample, and a focus on a specific age demographic – late 40s to late 50s. Generally, these are men who have been married previously, have teenage or grown children, have done their frolicking, and appear to genuinely seek a substantive relationship.
The target for their cupid’s arrow?
A woman who is comfortable in her life, who can therefore be comfortable sharing her life. A woman who is whole.
Holy, by implication?
Independent and whole are not synonymous. Think about it. You may crave greater independence. You may worry over being too independent – to change your ways. But don’t we all want to feel whole?
I wonder if contemporary life has shredded us, all of us, and apparently not just in North America. I wonder if our lost jobs and disintegrating marriages have left us with holes in our hearts and our belief systems – in ways we don’t even recognize. Our confidence. Our ability to stop and breathe. Our capacity to see – who we are, who we are looking at, what really matters to us.
One of the reasons I’ve taken pleasure spending time in France is the cultural tendency to savor – a discussion, a meal, a glass of wine, a work of art, a book, a playful flirtation. Savoring a simple moment, à deux.
I can’t speak for the French equivalent of Gen X or Gen Y, but for now, I take solace in the occasional Internet visit overseas, cooing over French fashion, or reading profiles – those that indicate an understanding that a mature woman can still spell trouble – in the best possible way.
And I am reminded that I am bien dans ma peau, et bien dans ma tête, aware that there are still men in the world who could say the same – and appreciate a woman of like mind.
Jean Réno, Google images.
Click image of Velda Lauder Dita Corset to access MioDestino.UK.com
© D A Wolf