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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: May 13, 2017 08:56PM

Rhetorical question. Judgmentalism is too much in our cultural DNA.

From the column:
PARIS — This is a city of stolen moments, its romance tied to realism about the vagaries of the heart. Nothing surprises. Little is judged. In the realm of sex and coupling, a shrug of the shoulders is what you get from the French. Or as they would put it with dismissive bluntness: “Bof.”

Intimacy, for the French, is nobody else’s business. A strong respect for privacy prevails. It is combined with reluctance to attach any moral baggage to people’s love lives. The effect is liberating. France does sex and food with aplomb. Guilt is not really its thing.

People come to France for its beauty, but what finally beguiles them is its civilization, at once formal and sensual, an art of living and loving.

I have been thinking of this non-judgmental French gift as the newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, Brigitte, prepare to move into the Élysée Palace next week. They are an unusual couple. He is 39; she is 64. They met, as everyone knows by now, when he was a teenager and she was his drama teacher, a married woman with three children. Macron, through her, now has seven grandchildren whom he embraces as his own.

To all of which the chief French response has been: Who cares? There has been a celebration, particularly among women, of the fact that the norm of the older man with the much younger wife has been challenged. (The Macron age difference is roughly the same as between President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania.)

So, dating/marrying much older women? What would the Mormon reaction be? Your reaction?

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Posted by: Hockey Rat ( )
Date: May 13, 2017 09:07PM

Ooh la la. I like this post. I've always thought of France for years, how they respect age, let a woman age gracefully, without all this looking younger than your age culture. Wrinkles aren't as frowned upon there, and yes, younger men/ older woman relationships are respected also

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 13, 2017 09:14PM

Certain sectors of the American population (I'm thinking specifically of the creative arts of all kinds, as well as writing/publishing here) have always been warmly welcoming to relationships where the female is chronologically older.

Maybe because I grew up within this kind of "of course" acceptance, my opinion has always been that "all adults are the 'same' age."

I don't see chronological age (between adults who are in a relationship with each other) as being any different than race or ethnicity, or religious preferences, or socio-economic differences, or sexual orientation issues.

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Posted by: frankie ( )
Date: May 13, 2017 10:36PM

if you're in love it's all good. just a long as none of the people are a very young teen a few months before their 15th birthday and the partner is 39.

so if your 18 and above it's all good

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: May 13, 2017 11:47PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2017 11:51PM by anybody.

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: May 13, 2017 11:57PM

The French have a long history of keeping marriage separated from love, not complicating the one with the other.

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: May 17, 2017 04:18PM

The protocol wanted to invite them, but discreetly tucked away. His widow insisted that the mistress would be allowed to be next to her, and the illegitimate daughter with the other children.

The women themselves opined differently: the mistress wanted to stay out of the limelight, and the fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter preferred to walk with the widow, as she had never met any of the other people before.

What matters is that in the end, it all came naturally. There was nothing 'forced' about the situation.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: May 14, 2017 12:49AM

Well, their meeting was rather sketchy, but at this point in their lives, good for them. I've been attracted to and have sometimes dated younger men.

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Posted by: janis ( )
Date: May 17, 2017 04:23PM

I've been married twice. Both were/are younger than me. I dated men that were 8 years younger than me. I really don't see what the big deal is.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: May 14, 2017 10:11AM

I am shrugging my shoulders. Bof!

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: May 15, 2017 09:29AM

Brother Of Jerry Wrote:
> So, dating/marrying much older women? What would
> the Mormon reaction be? Your reaction?

My reaction?
Bof (shrugs shoulders).

Maybe it was the 2 years I spent in France as a missionary, where the French rubbed off on this young mormon more than this young mormon rubbed off on the French...? :)

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Posted by: Backseater ( )
Date: May 15, 2017 09:53AM

Two Frenchmen see two women walking on the other side of the street. One says:

"Mon Dieu! there's my wife walking side-by-side with my mistress!"

The other says:

"I was just about to say the same thing...."

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: May 17, 2017 05:20AM

I speak a little bit of most of the languages spoken in Europe, but I was terrified at first, because I had never been in a country where I didn't speak the local language fluently.

I was an exchange student in Mexico, but by then, I spoke Spanish fluently.

I had heard horror stories about France - about how people there don't like Americans, or really anybody who doesn't speak French well.

With any language, I start with simple stuff: Please, thank you, excuse me, where is________? etc. And lots of smiles and good manners.

I'm happy to report that everything I had heard about French people was nonsense. I did the very best I could (even had a French/English dictionary, for emergencies.) I would have to say that pleasant, appreciative behavior was the key. I met people whose English was about on a par with my French, but between looking things up in the dictionary, pointing at things,(caution advised here - pointing can be perceived as rude in some places) using lots of vivid sign language, and out-and-out delight when there had been a successful bridge in communication - those were the things that made France a joy for me.

One young man was a waiter in a restaurant where I was stuck by myself. He seemed rather rude, and off-putting. I was trying very hard to come out with a word in French and accidentally came out with something in Spanish instead. His attitude changed completely. He started speaking to me in Spanish. At first, he refused to believe that I was American, because so many Americans don't speak anything but English. Than I had to try to explain that there was actually a place called "Nouvelle Mexique," (where I live) where English and Spanish are BOTH the State's official languages.

The young man who had been SO bored moments before was now chattering like a squirrel - we had a language in common, after all! He told me he was studying hard in night class for a trip he and his family were planning to take to Spain. I was able to answer a lot of questions for him, and I encouraged him to keep studying Spanish, because it would open many doors for him.

He was endlessly amused by my New World accent (his was Castilian, as you would expect). The place was mostly empty, so he didn't have much to do, so we had a GREAT time conversing in Spanish!

At the end of the meal, he refused to give me a bill, saying that the meal was "on the house" (I wish I could recall the phrase in French, but I can't.) and handed me a beautiful sprig of lavender, along with a very courtly, very French bow.

When a jolt of unexpected delight hits you like that, out of the blue, it's such a joy!

I had experiences like that all over Europe. If you are nice to folks, it pretty much comes back to you, no matter what language you are stammering in.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: May 17, 2017 09:52AM

catnip Wrote:
> I had heard horror stories about France - about
> how people there don't like Americans, or really
> anybody who doesn't speak French well.
> ...
> I'm happy to report that everything I had heard
> about French people was nonsense.

Lots of Americans only go to France in the summer, when most French are off on vacations. So the only French left working are the ones who don't have vacation time, or can't afford to go, and they're pissed off they have to be working :)

When I was on my mission in Paris, I was in the metro (subway) station one day when I heard yelling -- in English. I walked towards the sound, and found a stereotypical American family (loud shirts, shorts, flip-flops) standing at the ticket counter, with the father yelling at the French employee in English...asking why nobody spoke English, and what kind of stupid country was this, and aren't any of the French smart enough to know English, etc.

I interrupted, told the father I was American but spoke French, and offered to help him with the ticket seller. He calmed down a little. I told the ticket taker (in French) that they wanted five day passes for the metro. The ticket taker smiled at me, then replied (in French), "Oh, I speak English just fine. This guy was just such an asshole that I thought I'd let him rant and scream for a while -- I was enjoying it!"


> At the end of the meal, he refused to give me a
> bill, saying that the meal was "on the house" (I
> wish I could recall the phrase in French, but I
> can't.) and handed me a beautiful sprig of
> lavender, along with a very courtly, very French
> bow.

Probably "c'est la tournée du patron." :)
Great story.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 02:00PM

This has the ring of truth to it (not that I'd doubt your word ;-).

A word of advice for anyone in a foreign country where they don't speak the language: learn how to say hello, please, excuse me and thank you in the language. If you begin your phrase with hello in their language, they will be much more amenable to tryin g to understand your English.

This is what I do (and I usually then apologise for not speaking their language - but I'm an apologetic Brit ;-).

And, as Catnip demonstrates, politeness is another key. You get treated as well as their previous experience with an English speaker inclines them to treat you.

Tom in Paris

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2017 02:03PM by Soft Machine.

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Posted by: dogzilla ( )
Date: May 17, 2017 02:00PM

At 47 and single... I am delighted for this to be a Thing.


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Posted by: slcdweller ( )
Date: May 17, 2017 05:04PM

Having spent time in France I can report the french don't like anyone. That includes other French people.

Beautiful country, great weather, great food, horrible people.

I much prefer Italy.

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Posted by: Shummy ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 02:19PM

Amusing tale, catnip.

As a young man I was miffed when showing off my fluency to a Chilena who told me that although I spoke well, I had a distinct Mexican accent.

What would you expect from a kid who grew up in Nuevo Mejico?

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: May 19, 2017 12:52AM

I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in San Diego, (not to mention having been an exchange student in Guadalajara) so of course my Spanish is more Mexican than anything else.

Even so, moving to NEW Mexico more than a quarter-century ago was a kind of culture shock. In some parts of the state, (the northern mountains, in particular) you are likely to hear both nouns and verb forms that have not been in common usage since, say, the time of Cervantes. (As a Spanish major in college, I had to study the development of Spanish from Latin, so when I sometimes hear what sounds off-the-wall, I usually realize that it is from an earlier time period. Fascinating stuff for language freaks!)

NM Spanish has some interesting words of its own, many of which are not appropriate to share on a public forum. . .

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 19, 2017 10:16AM

Some of my uber Mormon classmates growing up have done the older woman/younger man thing.

One of my girlfriends is married to a man 20 years younger, her second husband. They have children together, now almost grown.

Personally I prefer men closer to my age or a little older.

When I see great big rifts in age between partners it does make me wonder what they see in each other? Is it possibly an Oedipus complex perhaps?

Otherwise, it doesn't bother me. To each their own.

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