A Letter to the Mysoginist in Galignani Bookshop, rue de Rivoli Paris

Dear Fat French Fop-with-a-Ferret

I happen to love all animals and I also happen to have a fetish for soft things like velvet and feathers. So when I saw your sleek ferret on a leash the other day in Galignani’s bookshop my eyes lit up. I have never seen a ferret on a leash before – let alone cruising in an English language book shop. It’s one of the many things I love about the French that they embrace their animals “nos petits amis” and willingly allow them into shops, restaurants and on public transport. Most of them don’t have that fastidiousness and obsessive sanitation issue that Australians do.  I am constantly amused by the dogs I see on trains and in restaurants and hotel rooms in France. It is heart-warming to see that a nation allows its populace to integrate its pets into their daily lives so much.

They are so much more natural in their attitude to pets and their role in our lives. Except you. 

Was it because I was a woman or was it because I was smiling? Or was it both?
That haughty reproof you showed me when I admired your wretched ferret.

He was beautiful. A lovely creamy beige and white with little currant eyes, rounded ears and pert little paws. He slunk along beside you as you perused the books looking adorable (the ferret – not you) and very exotic with his twinkling studded collar and gold lamé leash.
Why parade an unusual animal like that if you are such an eye-rolling intolerant bastard who cannot be bothered with the admiration your pet elicits?

Or is the ferret just your gay-magnet?
I bet if I was a male, half your age and looked like Prince you would have fawned all over me.

When, smiling with delight I told you your furet was mignon and adorable and asked if I could stroke him you treated me like a pleading paedophile and said “Non. Absolument pas” with a who-just-farted expression on your face.

Then you kept reading your book with your Cat’s Bum pursed lips, deliberately ignoring me while I stood there in front of you lost for words. In fact lost for the words in French for “take your ferret and…..”

Ponce.

I mean honestly. It is not often I come across such prissy disdain and blunt instrument rudeness. There are different levels of it but for me, this was way ruder than a Paris taxi driver who once threw my luggage out of his car  into the middle of Place de l’Opéra because I did not have anything smaller than 20 euros.

At least I could forgive him assuming he’d had a hard life before emigrating. But you with your flabby waist-coated corpulence and ringed digits; what’s your excuse?
It’s not often at all you come across misogynists in France. De tout. Most men are raised to like and appreciate women (to the point of lewdness sometimes.)
Australian men are WYSIWYGs. What you see is what you get. I like that informality and there’s nothing contrived or slick about most Aussie men. If they fancy you – you get the hint. If they don’t, they would never dream of being charming or flirting with you. That would waste unnecessary energy and, for many men they’d rather have a laugh, talk Footy or Dirty in a large group.
French men on the other hand find charm and flirtation (yes and sleaze, perving and sexism) second nature.  As une Australienne souriante (smiling Aussie woman) who enjoys meeting, greeting and laughing it is a constant pleasure for me to come to France and experience French charm.
I shan’t forget the kindness rendered to me by one polite taxi driver who picked me up from Charles de Gaulle airport one trip. I told him he had “une voiture très propre monsieur” (well it was very clean and fresh and after 24 hours in economy class one notices that)
And he replied “Merci. Je suis maniac.”
What? Did he say he was a maniac?
A maniac taxi-driver?  That kind of confession a girl alone with a man in a foreign land doesn’t need to hear.
He then babbled on about how often he cleaned, vacuumed and polished his car per week so I figured “maniaque” must thank goodness, mean fussy and finicky in French. We chatted amiably and by the time we arrived at my hotel he refused my tip, carried my cases into reception, shook my hand with a little bow and said the experience had been his pleasure to meet “une femme si sympa.”

These little humane exchanges make life a joy and a pleasure.
Thank goodness rude fops like the Misogynist Ferret-Pansy are the minority among my visits to France.

That poor sweet ferret. What a life.

 

 

Photo credit: The Book Ferret: The Women of Science Fiction Bookclub | Violin in a Void. at WordPress. Bookclub/reading challenge focusing on The Women of Science Fiction. (no mysoginists there) A great little blog about reading and Paris and lots of stuff.

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