I'm just back from two weeks in France. I hadn't been there in a while and I had forgotten just how beautiful Paris can be.
But there was a little culture shock at first and it took me a day or two to figure it out.
Then it hit me. I was seeing something on the boulevards of Paris that I hadn't seen lately in America, at least not in the Northeast: couples.
Boys and girls paired off, men and women holding hands, strolling, talking, sitting in sidewalk cafes, immersed in each other as the world passed by.
Stroll down an American street in the early evening and what you see are not couples but groups of young women going off to see "Sex and the City" or somesuch, and then gangs of guys heading for sports bars.
Late in the evening, or so I am told, they eventually meet up at clubs and other gathering places where everyone (for want of a better word) gets plastered.
Long ago, I moved from participant to consultant-observer status in such matters, and it is none of my business, of course, but based on my boulevard observations, here is my thought on all this:
American guys would do well to start talking to the ladies much earlier in the evening, before the drinking starts.
Those French guys seemed fascinated with what their dates were saying, and from what I could tell, things were moving along just fine.
I love Paris!
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By Bob Schieffer