I'm not French, but I kiss that way
I'm not the most cultured of men.
I was talking to a girl this past weekend at a wedding reception who reminded me of this. She waxed arrogantly about her European travels and knowledge of foreign wines and dishes.
"Oh you've never been to Paris? That's sad. So have you never had authentic blanquette de veau?"
When I told her that I'm kind of indifferent about most things French, I didn't realize I had done more than state my opinion. I had drawn a line in the proverbial international sand. She not only disagreed, but was offended.
"Well, I'm more interested in other regions of the world I guess. I'd rather eat sushi or Thai."
She responded with the kind of defensiveness usually saved for topics like abortion or Radiohead's best record. It was one of those moments when "a personal judgment is universalized and made applicable to one's girlfriend or boyfriend [or all the citizens of a country], the moment when I think this is good becomes I think this is good for you too." (Alain de Botton, On Love)
But the truth is I do like some French people: Audrey Tautou, that French exchange student from Better Off Dead and the writers Proust and de Botton. Fondue is a good time and I'm masculine enough to admit I've eaten quiche. I read some Deschamps and Rousseau in a college poetry course. And other than Gérard Depardieu, I guess I don't really know much about French film, though I do enjoy subtitles.
But I love the sound of the language when it's sung. So, for the most recent girl who got away, les chansons en français:
Belleville Rendez-Vous (French version) - Les Triplettes De Belleville
La Vie En Rose - Mia Doi Todd
Salamandre - Sarah Harmer
Tout Doucement - Feist
Vonal Declosion - Stereolab
Les Triplettes de Belleville Official Soundtrack
The Unaccompanied Voice: An A Capella Compliation, Various Artists (featuring Mia Doi Todd)
I'm a Mountain, Sarah Harmer
Let It Die, Feist
Margerine Eclipse, Stereolab