There is no English word to describe exactly what I mean, so I have had to use the French phrase...anyway, since July/August, I've have quite a few "aventures amoureuses". Here are the stories in order of which they happened.
Bastien, French, 23, banker guy and friend of work colleagues...
We met at a birthday party. He had been to school and was best friends with one of the girls. This should have been a warning sign for me, but we live and learn. Anyway, before anything could happen between us, he had to travel for work to Japan, so in the mean while, we "talked" by email via Facebook To my horror, I discovered that he had been telling his friend every little detail about our chats. She in turn told the other girls in her group of friends and they began to tease me and talk about it ALL the time at work, even texting me at home to ask constantly how things were going. As someone who is extremely private, this soon became intolerable and I quickly put an end to the "liaison." It was a very short-lived affair...
Ben, Jewish-American, 25, PhD student on a see-where-my-family-came-from trip around Europe...
When I first met him, I had felt zero attraction. He was super blond, with the bluest eyes and not very tall...in other words, not at all my type. The thing is I have never fallen in love, but I've always imagined that being as opened-minded as possible, is the surest route to finding the right person. Anyway, I decided to give B a chance because he was persistent and deaf (I'm an equal opportunities kind of girl ;) ). He told me that he had a job offer with an Engineering firm in the UK after his PhD (scheduled to finish before the end of the year), and he was planning to move to Europe, so this was also kind of a reconnaissance trip. Things went well in the beginning, but as I got to know him better, I started to regret having given him the chance. He embodied every negative stereotype about Americans! He was loud, believed America was the perfect country and everywhere else was uncivilised, farted/belched in public, and was generally as uncouth and disagreeable as possible. It became obvious to me that it was going nowhere, so I put an end to it pretty sharpish. The only thing I gained from this relationship was the discovery that I am fine with having a "disabled" partner, something which would become important later on.
Antoine, French, 23, Masters student and intern at Ad agency.
I met him at my birthday party in August, while I was still going out with Ben. He was a friend of my sister's work colleague, and he had been invited even though I knew neither him nor his friend. I didn't really notice him to be honest, but my little sister (who was spending the summer with us) later told me he had spent the night staring at me. Anyway, he left the party early and took my number under the pretext of contacting me if he found a nice club... Both my sisters and brother hated Ben, and they kind of opened my eyes to the fact that A might like me. Long story short, we went out a few times in the beginning and he was very sweet. However, I had also met F at around the same time, and he was much more attentive than A who would take days to respond to texts and never had time to hang out. He seemed to spend his time apologising, for not responding, for cancelling dates, for not having time. In the end, I asked him point blank what he wanted, and that's when he said he was being flaky because he was confused. He liked me, was attracted to me, blah blah blah etc., but wasn't sure if he was over his ex or wanted to start a new relationship. Besides, he was worried about starting something and then having to leave Paris (which he hates!) after his internship. I tried to reason with him, but realised that I didn't want to be in another ambiguous relationship, so we agreed to end things. Since then we've tried to keep up the friendship, and gone out once, but I think he is still confused. I stopped texting/emailing, because as I said he is absolutely rubbish at replying and it bugs me. Sometimes he writes, just out of the blue, in ways that make me wonder about us and what's going on in his head. To be honest, I'm not sure either of us got closure from this "relationship," and although I still wonder about what could have been, I've definitely moved on.
Somewhere between these guys, I also had "encounters" with many others including Matthew (English), Guy (Congolese), Francisco (Portuguese), Pierre, Pierre and Sebastien (all three French). Most were just casual dates, and I was fine with not taking things further. However, with Francisco who had to go back to Switzerland (got an internship, as an economist at the ECB) and three of the guys who were older than me, I was a bit.... sadly, even though I tried really hard, things just didn't work out. I guess the older guys felt slightly paedophilic around me :(
Anyway, this brings us to Frédéric.
French, 22, Masters student and intern. Current boyfriend :)
So when I first met F, he was super attentive, romantic etc. I liked all these things, but wasn't very attracted to him. However, I decided to give him a chance because he was very persistent. We have been together more or less since September, after a while I started to like him but there were initially a few bumps in the road.
First, I found out that he had lied about his age, he told me he was 23, when in fact he was 22. When I confronted him about it, he said it was because he really liked me but was worried I wouldn't want to go out with someone so young. I thought it was kind of sweet, but was rather annoyed by the fact that we started the relationship based on a lie (my sister thinks it's not that bad!). I then found out that he had been in a very bad accident when he was 20, which had almost killed him, and which had left him with multiple disabilities...cognitive, speech, mobility. They are not obvious when you first meet him, but have a big impact on his life, for example he needs to spend lots of time with various therapists. As someone with a type A personality, he also has a crazy schedule which would be hard enough for any "abled" person to manage, school work, internship, sports etc. When you add the time spent on therapies, it becomes almost impossible to find time for anything else. Right at the beginning of the relationship, the age and time issues made me quite reticent but I thought that if we really wanted to be together we could work things out. So to test his seriousness, I sent him a message asking if he wanted to continue the relationship or wanted instead to be just friends. He replied yes, and cited the issues which were already on my mind. For me, this was a sign that he wasn't serious, so I decided to just cut off all contact. A week later, he contacted me, apologised and we decided to give things another chance. We've been together ever since, and I'm learning to get over my upset at the way things happened initially...I think I like him, but my feelings fluctuate. I also haven't really seen him in about 3weeks, and I neither miss him nor care. At the moment I'm taking each day as it comes, hoping I'll eventually go back to feeling secure in the relationship, but I can kind of see the end in sight, so I'm keeping my options open. After-all who knows what the future holds :)
I have decided that my very young face is not at all an asset. I only ever seem to attract really young guys, which I wouldn't mind in itself, except for the fact that maturity comes with age...SIGH!