Frenchwomen point out that you can always say no, politely and regretfully, to avoid hurting a man’s ego. Frenchwomen positively welcome compliments on their appearance (as do men), whereas women in Britain and America may treat such personal compliments as inappropriate, even aggressive.
But why else do we invest in looking good, if not to attract admirers?
As one Frenchman noted, offering an exciting weekend away in an attractive destination always secured a seduction.
In contrast, women in Puritan Anglo-Saxon cultures are more likely to regard such an invitation as sexual harassment rather than a compliment – especially if it comes from their boss.
l Dr Hakim is a social scientist and commentator whose book The New Rules: Internet Dating, Playfairs and Erotic Power is published by Gibson Square.
When Sally, a Brit, arrived in Madrid five years ago she had the rather unrealistic expectation that Javier Bardem lookalikes would be queuing up to sweep her off her feet. Now in her early 30s and a seasoned veteran of the dating scene she tells the Local how to avoid the pitfalls of a Spanish mummy´s boy and the perils of communicating through the language barrier.
Most continental men and women want people to notice their efforts.
Affairs get a negative press in Anglo-Saxon countries, where they are discussed in terms of infidelity, adultery, cheating, dishonesty, and betrayal.
Within Europe, the French have possibly the most permissive views on affairs and casual flings, which are taken for granted as something that happen throughout life, if you are lucky.Survey reports confirm that the first two years of a relationship are the ‘honeymoon’ period, but affairs start anytime after that, for men and women, in first and in subsequent marriages, at any age.Hollande’s partner, Valerie Trierweiler, is understandably upset, enough to withdraw to a hospital, but she can hardly be surprised at the media allegations.Two-thirds of Frenchmen and half of French women believe that sexual attraction inevitably leads to intimacy; two-thirds of men and one-third of women agree that sex and love are two separate things; two-fifths of the French think love does not require complete sexual fidelity; and one-quarter even believe that transitory infidelities can strengthen love.So the French are five times more likely than the Italians (their closest rivals in hedonism) to see flings and affairs as beneficial, overall.These adventures outside marriage may be accepted or ignored, routine or exceptional, but are normally conducted with discretion, with consideration for the dignity of the spouse who must never be embarrassed in any way.