Since I've been dipping my toes into the Parisian dating pool in the past six months, I have had several friends share a particular cautionary tale with me: that of the cultural meaning of a kiss. And I'm looking for some further clarification on this.
I'm not talking about the standard, harmless French two-cheek social kiss. I'm talking about a romantic kiss between a man and a woman. According to my sources, I'm told that in France, I must remember this: a kiss is NOT still a kiss and a sigh is NOT just a sigh. Some fundamental things apply... in terms of cultural differences that should not be overlooked.
In America, if you go out with someone and you both decide to kiss each other goodnight, it might mean something significant if there's some serious chemistry there, but it equally could mean nothing at all except you were curious and felt like kissing that person. You're essentially trying that person on for size to DECIDE if there is enough chemistry to proceed further. You're taking the new car for a test drive. A kiss, in this cultural context, most definitely does not imply a binding social contract, i.e. you are not automatically a "couple".
But in France I've been told that I should be "careful" about kissing a Frenchman unless I really, really like him, because the French guy will assume the kiss is sort of like sealing the deal: you become "his" (Frenchman can apparently be quite possessive despite also having a wandering eye - at least that's the stereotype). If this is true about kissing, I find this very curious because I never know how much I really like someone -- is there "potential" or not -- until and unless I get the opportunity for a little lip-lock action.
So what I want to know is: how many of you, among women who have dated Frenchmen, have found this to be true? I've been asking around and getting mixed feedback about it. Some swear its true while others say they've never heard of such a thing (and some of those have been married to Frenchmen).
Let's take an informal poll: what is your experience? Are French guys really that territorial or is that perhaps an old wives' tale? What other dating "rules" or cultural differences should I know about if I date a Frenchman?
This inquiring mind wants to know. Because, ummm... well, it might just come in handy to have this information sooner rather than later.