Saturday, August 8, 2009

Let's chat

Well, now I kinda regret that I didn't!
I wonder what kind of conversationalist
he is. He does look like one of those people 
you might very well run into
somewhere else around town—so if 
ever see him again, I'll definitely comply.


  1. So you were supposed to sit and talk ? And he was alone or part of a group ?
    Sorry to say that but, from here, it look SO American !! Like people offering free hugs, but that came to Paris !! Continuing with stereotypes, there is a kind of spontaneity in American culture that can hardly be found on the old continent. Anyone agrees with me ?

  2. OK, I'm curious - it's certainly a friendlier offer than Talk to the Hand! I've never been to the US, so can't offer any Yay or Nay to Marylène, though I've been told by a reliable source that freely hugging - and hugging freely - IS an American thing. :)

  3. Marylene & Shell -- as stereotypes go, this is certainly a positive one. But ours is a relatively young culture; let's see how spontaneous we are in another thousand years or so! And now that you mention it—we ARE big huggers. As a greeting or expression of warmth, it's rather more spontaneous than ritual though, and I like that (again, that spontaneity).

  4. I do hope my words, in English, didn't express any criticism.
    In my mind, all I said was to be considered as compliments, I wish sometimes we, French, could be less formal and more spontaneous !

    I once discuss with an American friend about the amount of intimacy shared either in a hug or in a French kiss on cheeks. By the end of the discussion, my friend agreed that a hug could be more intimate and even passionate than two fast kisses on cheeks !!!

  5. I would have taken him up on his offer in a heartbeat! I like to chat with strangers. Hate to think what that says about me!
    Marylène: No criticism taken at all. You've opened my eyes to something that I take for granted and I like the idea of American culture being spontaneous. Whether it is or not, I can't say, but a hug can be so many things and I'll tell you when I appreciated it the most: when one of my French friends gave me a warm, supportive hug. I felt comforted. It wasn't until later that I remembered hugging isn't the French norm and that made it all the more special. Being enveloped in loving arms is divine!
    P.S. I find it interesting that two fast kisses on the cheek is considered formal! Generally speaking, I am not a hugger so you can imagine my reaction with the quick kiss on the cheek. It always throws me and I end up saying "Oh!" like an idiot!

  6. marylene -- I never took it as criticism, but rather as a compliment! I was also thinking about the relative degree of intimacy between a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and a real hug is definitely more intimate. I love the double cheek kiss, though. I had to get used to that when I lived in France. Now my daughters and I always say hello and goodbye that way when we're together, so it doesn't feel formal to us either.
    from cali -- I generally like to chat with strangers too. I tend to get into conversations with people in the subway.

  7. That's interesting - I hadn't thought of such things in light of the youthfulness of the country, but it's a great theory. In Australia, also young, we're informal and relaxed {always exceptions, of course!} and are generally happy to go with the flow of whatever's going around! For me, a warm hug is definitely more intimate than the cheek kiss {one, two, three - whatever!} I don't count the A-frame hug as a real hug. :)

  8. Shell: when Alexa mentioned the youthfulness of the States I immediately thought of Australia and was hoping you would weigh in.
    Is the A-frame hug like an air kiss or a weak handshake?
    Alexa: I like the way your family has incorporated both customs. I knew you were the type to chat up strangers. Most bloggers and the people who comment might have that trait in common. ;-)

  9. Cali ~ close - though for me, the A-frame hug is several points ahead of the air kiss and dead fish handshake. :)

  10. Have you seen the guy at Union Square who has a similar sign that says "Advice for $1"?

  11. Re: Hugging and Kissing

    I find the hugging and kissing thing, especially the kissing the cheek thing is more prevalent in NYC than anywhere else I've lived. No so much in the south.


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