How I Met My Frenchman
I imagine most of you don’t care to hear this story, but someone asked and I thought, “Why not? It’s not the most terrible story ever.” Plus, I have super sparse internet right now (like, only when I’m at a coffee shop), and this seemed like an easy enough post. 😉
Once upon a time…
Ha. Just kidding. It all happened one fall Friday when I was in graduate school for marine science. My department was hosting a costume party, and I was dressed up as Link (from the Legend of Zelda).
I looked pretty BAMF with my home-made shield and costume (or I sure thought I looked BAMF…though I didn’t win the costume contest), and an hour or so into the party, I was a wee bit tipsy and being quite the social butterfly—something I normally am not.
As I sat talking to a fellow grad student at the bar where this party was hosted, a young man in a Hawaiian shirt with a camera around her his shirt entered the bar.
Dang, I thought. He’s hot.
His eyes slid to mine, and feeling bold, I held his gaze…and then gave him a little half-smile before returning to my conversation.
But I kept my sights on him all evening, and I could tell he was doing the same for me. We kept circling closer and closer until finally—somehow—we were next to each other. It would seem he was at the party with a French PhD student, Chris.
Chis had recently done a presentation on cave shrimp in the Mediterranean, so I started speaking to him about it (Oh, Chris, your presentation was SO fascinating! Don’t you get scared cave-diving? Do you miss France?) and soon enough—as I’d hoped all along—I was introduced to Chris’s handsome friend.
Turned out he was French too. He and Chris had met the week before when they’d both wound up at the same bar in search of the same French rugby game on TV. My Frenchman had graduated from his master’s program a year before—he was now an engineer working at a Canadian branch of his company.
Ungh, not gonna lie, guys. I thought the whole “I’m educated” thing was so sexy.
Plus the French thing didn’t hurt.
As I chatted with him, I learned he and Chris almost hadn’t come to this party. But then my Frenchman had convinced Chris they might as well (they had nothing better to do), so they’d both scrounged up some Hawaiian shirts and cameras…
And come to the party as American tourists. (Insert Sooz’s blushing face here.)
Well, me and the cute Frenchman started chatting and chatting, and somehow I didn’t scare him away with my inanely STUPID questions about France. I wound up inviting him to a second Halloween party on actual Halloween night—and I gave him my email address (I never give out my phone number. Like NEVER).
We exchanged a few emails over the course of the next few days, and I tried not to giggle at all the English words he mixed up (example: “I need to iron my skirts before the party, but I can pick you up.” Clearly, he meant shirts).
So then, Halloween night, he arrived to pick up me and a friend of mine (kind of like the phone number withholding, I also NEVER go anywhere alone with strangers). Well, me and this Frenchman flirted for hours and hours and hours at that party…
And then I found out at around 3 AM that that he lived AN HOUR AWAY. He had driven an hour to pick me up and take me to this party. Plus, he had work at 8 the next morning and still had an hour drive ahead of him.
I decided then and there, that he was a keeper. Also, the fact that he not only liked but also KNEW a lot of operas and symphonies just sealed the deal. At that point, I was in a huge opera-obsessive phase (it was literally all I listened to), so the fact that he could carry on a conversation with me about Rossini kinda made him a total hunk in my eyes.
We agreed to go out again a week later (to a local art museum).
So, we spent A MONTH AND A HALF of just going on dates, and he never made a move. He drove an hour to see me almost every single day, yet he never tried to kiss me. We cooked meals together, we saw movies and shows and museums together, and still no kiss. We flirted like mad, and yet I started to actually worry maybe he wasn’t into me and he just wanted a friend?
And then one day in December, on a day when we had plans to go to the Nutcracker, the Frenchman and I were in my kitchen cutting vegetables for an elaborate sandwich. Seemingly out of nowhere, he asked (in the most nervous, tight voice EVER), “In the US, if a person wants to date someone, what do they have to do?”
“Uh,” I stammered, heat EXPLODING on my face, “you just tell the other person that…that you like her. Usually the guy will say it first, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The girl can say something. Or…or they can just kiss.”
“Oh. It’s not like that in France.”
And I had no words. I was too stunned and scared and excited and totally confused to even speak about it. I wanted him to kiss me so bad, but I seemed absolutely incapable of making the first move.
Then we went off to the Nutcracker ballet together, went to a really exquisite dinner at a snazzy place, and then finally got back to my house…
And he asked, “Is it okay if I kiss you now?”
All I said back was, “Finally.”
And THAT, my friends, was that. In hindsight, I wouldn’t trade that entire anxious, no-kissing month and a half for anything. We got to know each other as people during that time—learn about each other and see if our personalities even jived at all. He knew I was kinda scatter-brained, super imaginative (sometimes paranoid and oftentimes over-the-top dramatic), obsessed with animals, and not a very good cook. I knew he was really pragmatic, incredibly dependable, unfamiliar with pets (but clearly willing to learn with my current animals), and a fantastic cook.
Plus, there were all these SIGNS. Like the fact that he was never meant to even go to Canada for work. He had been assigned to South Korea, but then TWO WEEKS before moving, his company changed their minds and sent him to Canada instead. O_O
Or the fact that of all places for him to go to watch a rugby game, he wound up in the SAME bar as this other French guy in my program. OR the fact that the other French guy had no desire to go to that fated Halloween party—and they only wound up going at the very last minute.
Heck, if I hadn’t given up on my writing dream to become a marine biologist—and then taken one class with a certain professor who ended up leaving my undergrad program to GO TO CANADA…and then inviting me there as his graduate student, I never would have met the Frenchman.
I wound up back in writing at the end of the day, so even though I loved (and still love) the fishes, I can’t help but also thank that education for putting me in my Frenchman’s path.
Anyway, that ended up being a long story that’s no doubt ooey-gooey and disgusting.
But now you all know: love at first sight CAN happen sometimes.
Also, you now know that I make one BAMF of a Link and that French people don’t necessarily adhere to the same dating rules as Americans. ;
March 29, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
OH MY GOD Sooz!!! This is FREAKING ADORABLE!!!
I think it’s funny that you were unsure if people would want to read this. We’re all obsessed with the romantic successes of others (and I guess failures sometimes)! It’s probably why most books have at least some aspect of romance. So OF COURSE your meet cute will be of interest of many 🙂
You guys make a beautiful couple, and you make a particualarly BAMF Link!
March 29, 2013 @ 3:19 pm
Awwww what a SWEET story, Sooz! And you do make a BAMF Link. 😉
March 29, 2013 @ 4:25 pm
Oh, my gosh. That is the cutest story ever! I’m so glad you have each other!
March 29, 2013 @ 4:26 pm
I just want to hug you and your hubby because your love story is SO DARN ADORABLE. I love it! I do believe that it’s possible to fall in like/love with someone straight away and I’m just happy that it worked out for you both. TOO CUTE <3
March 29, 2013 @ 4:44 pm
Awww, sweetness overload!!! Such a cute story, and you guys look so cute together. Also, yeah, you do make a pretty BAMF of a Link. 😛
Natasha M. Heck
March 29, 2013 @ 5:21 pm
Awwwwww, what a romantic story! I love reading stuff like this! And your Link is super rad! I actually walked down to the aisle to The Legend of Zelda theme, haha!
I find it really odd how all those little choices or happenings can lead you where you’re meant to be. The same thing happened to me in finding my true love (yes, I said it!). But that is a story for another time. <3
March 29, 2013 @ 7:48 pm
I love that he met you dressed up as Link. And the awkward question about dating rules. AH. I just love this! And you! I’m so glad you posted this. I think it’s wonderful to hear about such amazing and awkward and wonderful things happening in real life because so many people don’t think it’s possible. But it is! It totally is. And you just proved it. <3
Thanks for sharing!
March 29, 2013 @ 8:08 pm
You guys are painfully adorable! And you’re right, the shield is BAMF-y.
Dating in the US makes me laugh so much. Everyone seems so upfront. Across the Atlantic you’re practically living with someone before you’re willing to actually admit you like them! I’m gonna say we’re the strange ones.
March 30, 2013 @ 12:09 am
I really enjoyed reading this, and your post about living in Germany. Hurrah for costume parties and being bold and the wonderful things life puts in your path! 🙂 Also, you both have such great smiles!
Sara (of the Page Sage)
March 30, 2013 @ 4:26 am
This story is adorable! Thanks so much for sharing- it’s always great when authors share stories like this. 🙂
March 30, 2013 @ 4:56 am
SUSAN, that is so adorable! Especially that cultural divide when it comes to dating. So happy it worked out for you. 🙂
March 31, 2013 @ 3:39 am
Awww! This is so sweet! 🙂 (And I LOVE your Link costume.)
March 31, 2013 @ 7:19 pm
That is absolutely adorable! And YES to fate having something to do with it. People usually laugh it off and dismiss it as romanticising coincidence, but some things are just MEANT TO BE. My own parents met because my dad picked up a phone call meant for my mother’s friend (it was the 60s and the friend and my dad shared a party line). And aldkgjads, the museum thing is so cute, and it’s so sweet how the Frenchman didn’t make a move or anything and was content to spend time with you ;w;
April 1, 2013 @ 5:59 am
yay, i LOVE how-we-met stories! so cute! 😀
April 2, 2013 @ 4:07 am
Love this!!! Every time I question the point of all my education, I remind myself it’s how I met my Dutchman :-). Yay fate!
April 6, 2013 @ 7:45 pm
^_^ That is the most romantic and sweetest story ever! Just goes to show that you can find love anywhere and it gives me hope that one day I’ll find my own love story 😀 Thank so a zillion times for posting this ^_^
May 10, 2015 @ 3:35 am
CUTEST *TRUE LOVE STORY EVER <3 Congratulations!