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A Girl Guide in Paris

‘You are coming back…aren’t you?’  

I looked at him anxiously as he rushed to get out the door of the little hotel room. The man who would become My Englishman, looked confused.

‘Of course I am,’ he said with reassuring gusto.

And then he disappeared for an agonising forty minutes whilst I lay on the little single bed and waited. I hadn’t told him that a guy had left me before in similar circumstances and was simply never heard from again. I didn’t tell him that because, well, ….he might think I was that kind of girl. The sort that men have dark second thoughts about, turn around and flee as fast as they can!

Waiting for your lover to return is not something you do terribly patiently.

But ever the Girl Guide, I wanted to ‘be prepared’, and on discovering he did not carry any um, supplies, I had insisted he head off into the dark rim-around-the-bath-dirty Montmartre to get some. As he had forgotten the French word ( le preservatif, just so you know) and had to demonstrate by gesticulating to the pharmacist what he required, in the crazy hours of the morning, I was lucky he wasn’t thrown into prison. Or sectioned!

It had been the most wonderful day. I didn’t think these Before Sunrise/BeforeSunset days happened to someone like me. Whilst My Englishman has a little bit of Ethan Hawke about him, I’m no Julie Delpy! Before Sunrise/Before Sunset days don’t happen to me when I start the day with a ‘piss off men’ look on my face and traipse around Paris in an old grimy rain jacket and of course, the money wallet stuffed down my top – the money wallet that looked like the third breast.

Maybe My Englishman just had a thing for good Girl Guides who had three breasts?

I couldn’t quite believe he’d enjoyed my company so much. I definitely didn’t believe that he couldn’t find a train back to his hotel after we’d walked along the Seine arm in arm. After we’d talked all afternoon whilst looking through the Musee D’Orsay and then coffee at a cute little Parisian cafe, which had then led to a bottle of beaujolais and a beautiful French dinner. He had duck, and was so chivalrous… he attended to my chair, he ordered in French. He paid! (Blokes if you’re reading this – do this for the single mum date. It’s a winner!) If there’d been a mud puddle I swear he would have thrown his cape down for me to step over it!

No, I didn’t believe he was interested in me at all.

The rules of the first date are very clear –

  • No talking about your ex,
  • No talking about your children or baggage,
  • No talking about your hopes for the future.

We weren’t on a date, so we’d broken all of these rules. We’d forgotten to be on our best behaviour, and were just ourselves.

It was only after he’d kissed me passionately as we stood at the crossing in the middle of the Champs Elysees and discovered there were no more trains until morning, so he’d (oh dear) have to come back with me, that I thought maybe this was something more than a pleasant time in Paris.

He’d told me solemnly that he was a Christian kind of guy, and didn’t really do the one night stand, I’d decided that I wasn’t a one-night-stand kind of girl either, (it was a recent conversion) so we were in agreement that he might kip on the floor. But when we got to my room, a funny thing happened – all my clothes fell off. His hand – so sleight – had something to do with it. Then there was the kissing… that was a dead giveaway! You don’t tend to kiss your mates, well not like that!

Waiting, waiting, waiting….

Should I position my pose on the bed? Nah, too film star sex kitten.
Should I nonchalently look out my window, over the wrought iron balcony to the Sacre Coeur on the hill so that as he walked in I could casually throw him an ‘oh hi’ as if, you know, we were meeting for sandwiches.

At two in the morning. In my bra.

Could I get away with appearing to be reading? You know as if we were an old married couple sitting up in bed?

I wish I wasn’t so terribly uncool!!

Men just don’t realise the agonies we go through trying to be attractive for them.
I jumped off the bed and sprayed on a little more Versace perfume and put on some lipstick. Then rubbed it off. So it looked like it had worn with the day. Casual like. Now I had lipstick on and no mascara. That’s uneven. You either do a full face with the full works or a little mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick. He wouldn’t notice mascara would he?
I don’t want him to think I’d made an effort. I want the overall impression to be casual elegance. (To make up for my previous slovenliness.)

Why don’t I just find a ribbon for around my neck, tidy up my trotters, stick an apple in my mouth and lay down on a serving platter for his delectation!

Nervous and exasperated with myself for being so, I jumped under the covers. I didn’t get the chance to feign sleep, or boredom. I didn’t get the time to feign anything. Unrehearsed, unprepared, the door opened and flushed with early morning air stood the man who would become my husband.
He took me in his arms and unbelievably, quite unexpectedly, we fell into love………

image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiaramarra/

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