m Celtic Cross Celtic Cross - Average Everyday Sane Psycho Supergoddess

September 16, 2004

The Burden of Being Blonde in Paris

It seems that there is a shortage of blonde haired, blue eyed women in Paris, France. Most French women are of the darker haired variety, so the blondes tend to stick out like a sore thumb. Most blonde women you'll find in Paris are foreign - be it Scandinavian, American, German or any other origin.

When I arrived in Paris, I was picked up at the airport by my two lovely Parisian friends, Marie Agnes and Laurence. They were kind enough to take me to their house to spend the night and then to my new residence the next day to get settled in.

On our way home from the airport, we were approached by a young Arab (not trying to be non-PC here, that IS what they call them). As we were walking down the street, each of us carrying a suitcase, he wedged his way in between us and proceeded to talk to me. He was speaking so fast and I was so jetlagged, I had no idea what he was saying. My friends burst into laughter, saying something to the effect of "Good God, she hasn't even been off the plane for an hour!" He was trying to pick me up, telling me how beautiful I was, that he would buy me lots of nice things and such. Oy! He went away when it became clear that he wasn't getting anywhere.

It turns out that young Muslim men from Algeria, Morocco and Tunesia see blonde haired, blue eyed women as a sort of prize - a status symbol that they can show off and carry around like a trophy.

This type of attention continued throughout the year that I lived there. Since I have never been the kind of girl that gets catcalls and whistles, it was surprising and flattering. At first, I liked it but grew weary of it rather quickly.

Sometimes I would pretend to be unable to speak French and what they would say after that could become quite amusing. Sometimes, I would walk away really fast and smirk at their attempts to woo and keep up at the same time. Once, a fellow asked me "do you always walk this fast?!" Sometimes, I would give them a fake phone number so that they would go away. Sometimes, I would get so irritated that I really considered dying my hair.

I will admit that I did go out with a couple of these young Northern African gents. One particularly handsome one named Nassim charmed me into getting my real phone number. We went out to dinner, and he craftily talked me into stopping by his place (don't remember how he did that) where he promptly began pawing and licking at me like a love-starved puppy. I bailed - ran straight out the door leaving him with his chin on the floor.

I went back the next day, feeling bad and wanting to apologize for running off like that, and encountered his room mate. Nassim was not home, but his room mate, Hassan, was even more handsome and charming. I never saw Nassim again, but Hassan began his pursuit. He was a clothing buyer and was, not surprisingly, very well dressed. He was extremely polite and charming, and we started dating. He bought me some very nice outfits (quite a treat on my student budget) and took me to some of the most exclusive clubs - the ones that you can't get into at all unless you are famous, very impressive looking or know someone.

Hassan and I had many fun times, but he became increasingly frustrated about the fact that I would not sleep with him. You see, in their culture, if you have sex with them then you belong to them. I was not interested in becoming his wife and going back to Algeria with him. He wanted much more from the relationship than I did. I ended up, as the French say, "breaking his nose with the door."

The unsolicited attention from the young Muslims, however, did have it's advantages. The best place to use my blonde and blues was at the monsterous flea markets in the 18th arrondissement.

These markets are wonderful. You can buy pretty much anything you want...shoes, leather coats, purses, jewelry. Dickering is common and encouraged, and any price is negotiable. Since most of these booths were run by young Muslim men, I was the dickering queen! I could sashay up, bat my baby blues at them and get whatever I wanted at half price or less! Woo hoo! I came away with some super-sweet deals!

I don't know if this kind of thing still goes on in Paris. Considering the level of anti-american sentiment among European Muslims, it may not. It would be interesting to see, if I went there today, if I would still have a "following."

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