My sister-in-law Sandy and I were sitting in the Brasserie Le Bourbon near the Assemblée Nationale, a favorite restaurant of mine. Our dinner was a sautéed breast of chicken, thinly sliced roasted potatoes, tiny green beans, a petite salad, and un pichet (pitcher) of chardonnay.
There were two women sitting at the table next to us—so thin, so fashionable–and they told us they were from Chile. One lived here in Paris, the other in New York. They were both wearing white blouses tucked into pale blue jeans, wide belts, one wearing a gaucho hat, both smoking thin cigarettes. They turned toward us, smiled and one said, “May we ask you questions, because we never see you again?”
“Of course,” I said.
The one-sided conversation began, without waiting for our answers.
“Are you married? How many times a week are you together for sex? Does he use blue pill? My husband and I have not done that thing for four years. We are both 50. How old are you? Are you actually married or do you just live together? How did you meet your husbands? Was it a coup de foudre (love at first sight)? What do you do?”
Finally, the questions stopped, and the women took a breath and a drag on their cigarettes. Sandy told them she had been a teacher, and I told them that I was the chief historian of the ballet company in Tulsa.
One said, “Oh, I love the ballet! I always wanted to dance but my mother never sent me.”
“Should we move to Tulsa?” the other one asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Because it is so green,” I said, “with sun almost every day, wonderful people, blue skies, and plenty of space; and because of the ballet, the museums, and the trails along the river, and also because of our award-winning new park, the Gathering Place.”
“What are the men like in Tulsa? Are they handsome there?”
“Yes,” we both said.
“Why?” they asked, simultaneously.
“We are a mélange,” I said, “a combination of many types of people.”
Sandy showed them a photo of her California husband, saying, “He’s very handsome, even though he is not from Oklahoma.” They nodded their approval.
One of them started singing “Lady Marmalade.” We paid our bill and left them, just after the other said, “I love that song!”
“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” she sang. “That’s why we’re here!”
Oh. La. La.
So funny and fun!
Cheryl, I must stop laughing long enough to add a few personal comments to your story.
Once I heard the two lovelies playfully inquire, “May we ask you questions because we never see you again,” I instantly knew what the topic would be. Sex…mais oui! In such a beautiful and romantic city as Paris, affectionate couples are everywhere.
(Note to reader: Cheryl is fluent in French, but I have regressed back to the basic level having not been around it much for years. I can manage fairly well so long as the typical French speaker enunciates clearly and slowly, uses basic vocabulary and, preferably, sticks to present tense!) As they teasingly peppered us with questions, I smiled and listened carefully, trying to catch the gist of their conversation.
Not only did they want to quiz us about sex, they confided that there had been no activity with their mates for several years. Since we four were all “of a certain age,” they wanted to compare their level of participation to ours. More specifically, what they wanted to know about us was IF and HOW OFTEN.
The one seated closer to yours truly kept questioning me about something “blue.” (Remember, dear reader, my French vocabulary is basic.) She continued chatting, trying to help me understand her question. I finally confessed, “Je ne comprend pas.” Just then I realized what she meant—the blue PILL.
I could barely maintain my composure until we finally bid, “Au revoir.” Once they were beyond hearing distance, all I could manage to say was, “Cherie, s’il vous plait, un pichet de Aperol Spritz!” You and I looked each other and laughed, and laughed, wiped our eyes, and laughed some more.
Thus ended another of our only-in-Paris adventures.
Cheryl Y. Forrest
I’m ready for another adventure in Paris! Let’s go!