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Think what you wish, but after conversations with other American men and upon reflecting on my own dates, I’ve found that the American man / French woman relationship doesn’t often work for a very simple reason: expectations.

One of the most obvious examples is when a French date gave me this particularly harsh semi-compliment: “It’s so odd spending time with an American.

So we sat down on the stone quays with no conversation and an odd meal behind us. “I’m pretty tired.” Then she confirmed that this had been my worst date ever: She vomited. Helping her into a taxicab, I figured I’d never see her again.

The intrinsic romance of the sparkling city now mocked us as we sat in silence. Well, I thought to myself, your first French date may not have been terribly romantic, but put it behind you, perhaps the next one will be better.

Almost uniformly, there is a precocious young American girl, who finds both her womanhood and her independence in the City of Lights.

This happens in An American in Paris, in Truffaut’s Breathless, in Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris, in Funny Face, and in Charade, among others.

I’ve also been on a fair share of dates with French girls, so it’s not as if they’re all denying American men outright.

A brief chance is usually given, but as I’ve found both in my own experience and in speaking with friends, the odds of a genuine relationship blossoming are depressingly low.

But after a year or two with some hard work, a smart, enterprising American woman can gain access to all sorts of professional and social networks in France, so I wouldn’t be comfortable saying practicalities alone explain why French man / American woman couples flourish while French woman / American man duos often sink.

Often though, it’s the other way around, where I’m the one who thinks the evening went well when my date probably wished to never to see me again.

Take, for instance, the time I went to Frenchie Bar à Vins with a girl from Paris.

There is indeed a reason, which I will get to shortly, but in order to make sense of it let’s first think about how transatlantic dating works in the other direction.

Think of any film that deals with an American living in Paris.

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