Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Being Visible. Finally

Surprise, surprise: I am not invisible this side of the channel. Let me explain: I am on the train, travelling to France and trying to catch up with my writing. Travelling on a train is always a pleasure, despite the fact that it takes a much longer time. Somehow, I like being on my own, relaxing, reading and writing.

I arrived in Paris this morning, after an uneventful journey on the Eurostar (don't get me wrong, uneventful is good). In order to reach my destination, I had to take the tube to Gare de Lyon and catch another train to reach the South of France.


The platform was pretty crowded and these two guys were standing right in the middle of it. One of them looked at me, from my head to my feet and then back up again. I spent so much time studying and working with men that the meaning of this look dawned on me immediately: he fancies me. Two seconds later, the guy tried to offer me a cup of coffee. Of course, I politely declined and went further along the platform. I couldn't believe it. I certainly wasn't the youngest one. He was in his mid/late twenties. For God's sake, I am almost 40 and a mother-of-two.



I dismissed the incident as a one-off and eventually reached Gare de Lyon. Once again, I was walking on the platform with other passengers to board my train (a new TGV -very, very nice and shiny) when I realised that the man next to me, who was in uniform, was the driver of the train. He started talking to me, wishing me a nice journey and offering me -again- a coffee on board, where he introduced me to the ticket controllers -I accepted the coffee this time. This one is a trickier one: I love trains, I am a Railway Engineer and I asked lots of questions about the new functionalities of the Rolling Stock, which is probably part of the reason why they were so friendly. But I can't help thinking that he didn't know this when he started talking to me. And I can't deny the fact that I have been offered a free coffee twice this morning. By younger men each time.

This got me thinking: maybe growing older, for a woman, is not that big a deal in France? Unlike in London, I certainly didn't feel invisible this morning. And it felt good. I was freaking out about turning 40 later this year but right now I feel great. Maybe it is something about Frenchmen? They are not afraid of, let's say, more mature women. Or maybe I just look good, no matter what my age is (If only!). The good news is that I don't seem to need Botox (just yet) and my lumps and bumps don't seem to bother anyone. Quite the opposite in fact, so why go on a diet?

As I am seeing my banker for my business this week, I might ask for a bigger loan and a lower interest rate. Let's see whether my charm does his magic on him.

What do you think? Is it a cultural thing ? Do French appreciate mature women more?

31 comments:

  1. I would say they do, it's simply a cultural thing - but a good cultural thing. Did I just say that?????!

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  2. Oh, I would not analyse it - just enjoy it! :D

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  3. MMMM!! Could being chatted up on Eurostar lead to playing trains and tunnels? What is it with women and men in uniform - maybe I should dress up as a nurse!

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  4. Seems like the French are extremely smart and have great taste! ;p

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  5. Ooh, are you in my neck of the woods?

    Make sure you wear heels and show some leg and cleavage when you go to the bank. Apparently it never fails... :)

    Funnily enough, when I was around 30 I felt invisible here. As a married woman I was treated as an amoeba here in France, but when I went back to the UK to do a Masters degree I was suddenly treated as a woman again.

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  6. All I can say is, ENJOY! It seems that the french have better taste maybe?? ;-)
    First time visiting from New Zealand and saying 'Hi'.

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  7. Don't think about it just enjoy it!

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  8. I do enjoy it...Actually, I am still over the moon. 40 is the new 20.

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  9. Hi from London, Raquel! How are things in New Zealand. I think that you are right: the French have better taste! I am convinced that it is a cultural thing...

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  10. The meeting with the bank went well! I would like to think that it is because of my business and not because of my charm but let's just say that I put myself on my best foot...
    Maybe it is a confidence thing. After your Masters you felt more confident and you were treated as a woman again? Just a thought.

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  11. It does, doesn't it? That's why I married a Frenchman. Frenchmen have better taste than their British counterpart.

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  12. I want to see this! Or just try a train driver maybe...

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  13. I enjoyed it. A lot. Realistically, I don't know when it will happen again.

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  14. You did! I think that it is great that mature women are not overlooked there!

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  15. Flora Tonking15 April 2012 01:44

    You're clearly a very hot yummy mummy, Muriel! Use your charms whenever and wherever you can; definitely on your banker.

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  16. They definitely had good taste. Stupid Londoners.

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  17. I know! What is wrong with them?

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  18. No, I was an 'older' woman and a magnet for randy undergraduates. It was highly flattering. :)

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  19. Vivent les fran├žais! How lovely for you, glad you accepted that coffee (remembering from one of my train rides on the TGV cannot have made a lasting impression!).

    It might be a cultural thing, then I would throw in Swiss men with the British, on the other hand I lived in London in my twenties and cannot complain.
    Being noticed has much to do with your self confidence, I am in expert in that!

    Enjoy these encounters, they do wonders for our wellbeing!

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  20. I'd probably agree that it's a cultural thing. I know I've never felt more beautiful then when in France!! Strange!

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  21. Good for you. I hope that you made the most of it :-)

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  22. There is something cultural. I can't exactly define what it is. Anyway, I am back to London now, so I suppose that I had better forget about about it!

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  23. It was nice to get noticed for once...I have to admit that I don't know how Swiss men behave, but from what you are saying it is pretty much the same than in London.
    I am back to my old routine now, in London. Sigh.

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  24. It sounds to me like you've lived in London for too long and have forgotten how French men like to flirt. I think this no longer applies to me because I don't have the European "look" or relaxed way. I am always treated like a foreigner despite having spent 25 years in Europe.
    Anyway, lucky you.

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  25. Marie from Rock The Kasbah18 April 2012 14:14

    When you got it you got it!

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  26. Men are always chatting you up, I'm jelouse!! XX

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  27. Thank you thank you. You are right, I had forgotten how French men were. Silly old me.

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  28. You know what you are talking about, eh?

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  29. Good. That's exactly what I want you to be!

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  30. It's definitely a cultural thing. British men seem to lack that romantic or flirtatious streak that the French or Latinos have. When I went to live in England in my twenties, I found men to be so dry, distant, and seemingly uninterested to the point of asexuality. Don't think that life stops at forty or you become less attractive. I had the best of times in my forties and fifties in Mexico and the U.S. So you'll just have to go to France more often.

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  31. I can't believe I missed this fun topic. Last summer was the first trip to France that I didn't get chatted up by men wondering what this married American woman was doing wandering the streets of their country without a husband. I think last summer was different because my health was problematic, so I had little energy in my step and it was always raining so I was continually damp with frizzy hair. We'll see what this summer brings.

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