I've been writing about Russians in Versailles more than once on my blog, but today, despite the post title, I'll write about French men. B.I.G. subject!!! Valentine's day is almost here so, sistah', if you haven't find your French soulmate yet, it's time for me to send you to the movies.
Specifically to "Russian Dolls" by Cédric Klapisch because I strongly believe that the character played by Romain Duris is a perfect illustration of a type of French man that I often see around here and I think it's more typical to this part of the world, making it a kind of a new species: homo francesicus.
Let me explain myself: of course you can see all kind of men in France like everywhere else and particularly in Versailles the family breed stands out: a middle-class bourgeois, 35-45yo, who proudly fathered 3 or 4 children, has a 9 to 6 workday in an office (35h/week and 1h30 lunch break/day), mature and responsible, most of the times humorless, out of shape but nonetheless very careful with the image he projects to the Joneses. He has a family to feed and goes to church every Sunday morning. This one makes a great category: a serious man on which the society can count! C'est normal: we are in Versailles!
Xavier Rousseau (the main character in Klapisch's movie), on the other hand, is nothing like this: once a promising student with talent at writing (which makes him a philosopher in the heart - his last name is Rousseau, you got it?), he's now in his early thirties, penniless and far from having a stable situation in life: he's hopeless single and he's doing some menial job and hating it. Unable to pay himself a decent apartment, he's sleeping over at a friend's house and gets involved in countless love affairs (now that the rent question was solved) but can't make up his mind to only one beauty (here, I think, the casting director stretched it a little: I mean, Romain Duris is far from being a striking beauty but nevertheless he only gets some gorgeous sirens and not one, a bunch of them! Something's fishy here...). And why is that Xavier cannot choose one girl, marry her and live happily ever after? Because he wants them all and moreover thinks he's entitled to it. So very French, one might say!
In a way, Xavier's story is what I reckon every straight man secretly dreams of: a myriad of women madly in love with him, thus a tumultuous and otherwise great sex life, while he takes no responsibility of anything: he can do whatever he wants to because he's a deep, tortured genius with great perspectives to become rich and famous and it's only a matter of time to get there.
Transcending this fictional example, back to the real world where I've met quite a few French men still living with their parents (in their mid-thirties, mind you!) but all having an extraordinary talent (although hidden to the immigrant eyes, I must confess!) in something linked with the noble occupations: music, writing, painting, acting, photography, etc. Strangely, they aren't bragging that much about their talents in sports where everything can be, oh so coldly but so efficiently, measured!...
Luckily not all men are like that (you, L., surely aren't! :P) and, most importantly, not all men are French! If you, my dear sister, happen to meet homo francesicus, enjoy his presence then run for your life and come back here to tell us all about him and his exceptional abilities.