Recently, I was out at a bar with France…
Me: Oooh! I love this song!
France: What song? (France looks around the bar casually, I suspect trying to find someone better to talk to)
Me: You know this song – Bonnie Tyler?
France makes a blank face.
Me: Every roller skating party for the entire 80s?
Nothing. France simply pulls out a cigarette and lights it.
Me: You know: ‘turn around, every now and then I get a little bit lonely and your never coming ’round!’ (I am singing passionately, complete with faux microphone)
France looks at me wide-eyed and chokes on a lungful of smoke.
France: What air (are) you doing? (France says this quietly, but in a panicked voice)
Me: ‘turn around, every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears!’
France: People are starting to look at you.
Me: They can’t embarrass me! (I continue singing)
France: Pff…you embarrass yourself. (France pours a glass of wine, trying desperately to look relaxed)
I stick my tongue out at France.
France: I hope you know that you look completely redeeculous (ridiculous).
Me: Oh come on, just a little bar singing. Live a little!
France: Oh la la, you are tres Americain.
Me: Word. I know. (I say this as I add some interpretive dance moves to my singing)
France: What are all these people going to think of you?
Me: That I’m super fun?
France rolls its eyes.
France: What are all these people going to think of me? This is not the kind of reputation I have. I am very serious and cool. When I go to bars I talk about world politics, global warming…Proust.
Me: Oh. Is that fun?
France: What? (France looks confused by the question)
France: Fun is not the point; you Americans and your obsession with fun! This is your problem!
France is getting irritated now and furiously stubs out one cigarette only to light another.
France: Always singing and dancing…with your stoopeed (stupid) television shows and all your stoopeed hollywood movies...’oh, what do you think will happen?’ I think they will all have some implausibly happy ending that makes no sense and is not representative of the true reality of life! Pfff…fun.
Me: Oh puh-leeeeeeese! At least if we make up implausible endings they are happy, instead of ridiculous French movies that make up ways to be depressing for no reason whatsoever – you saw the ending to Les Petits Mouchoirs! I mean, they all gave eulogies, REALLY? Unecessary, France!
France: You’re unnecessary.
Me: No, you are.
France: I hate you.
Me: I hate you more.
France is fuming (literally, cigarette in hand) and refuses to look at me.
I start to feel bad.
Me: ‘Turn around, every now and then I know there’s no one in the universe as magical and wondrous as you.’
France sniffs and turns further away.
Me: ‘Turn around, every now and then I know there’s nothing any better, there’s nothing that I just wouldn’t do…’ Oh come on, you can’t stay mad all night!
France: Ah non? (France takes a drag off the cigarette and blows it in my face)
Me: Look, we’re different, it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.
France is quiet for a minute.
France: ‘your love is like a shadow on me all of the time’ (France sings this so softly that it is almost imperceptible)
Me: You probably could have picked a nicer line of the song.
France: Tres typique! What do you want, uh? You ask me to sing; I sing and now you complain. Pff…maybe you are a bit French.
A momentary look of mischievousness flashes over France’s face before returning to looking bored and slightly peeved.
I look at France suspiciously but with a smile.
Me: You know, (I say this with my best Humphrey Bogart voice)
Me: I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
France rolls its eyes again and puts its head in its hands.
France: Oh, mon dieu.