The Year Abroad


So we are all aware of the fact that the French men are romantic (along with most Mediterranean men). At least, this is a stereotype that we Brits like to maintain, similar to the hopeless ongoing hunt that just about any girl has to find their Mr Darcy. When moving to Lyon, I was victim to constant quips amount the Frenchie charm and how I wouldn’t return as soon ad Jean-Pierre had swept me off my feet.

A few weeks into my time here I met a nice guy (or so he seemed) on a night out with my friends. He was at the same university as me, studied English and business, complimented my accent, and pretended to find the British humour funny (which is apparently wasted on them.) Granted, all of this was a horrific attempt at flirting, but hey, it worked. We exchanged numbers, I was expecting to hear nothing – standard. After all, this was a Sugarhouse style of meeting someone: I hardly expected him to be a Hugh Grant type character.

We arranged to meet that week for lunch. It was clear this Frenchie was not like the others I’d encountered so far, he wasn’t just trying to see if the stereotype of English girls is true. All was well. We spoke in French, I was understood (a true feat.) I managed to eat without spilling half of the contents of my wrap down myself, didn’t trip up, didn’t snort whilst laughing. As far as first dates went, I’d have said this one was a success.

A second date was arranged. A downhill slope began. THIS is when things started to go pear-shaped. Saturday was agreed on, and the mixed signals commenced. “We could go to the cinema, or if it’s nice, go to the park with friends?” Date territory juxtaposed by blatant friend-zoning. I became sceptical.
Friday night arrived: “I’m sorry, I have too much to do tomorrow so I can’t meet up. Can we meet in the week?” Fine. I found my tearooms, I was content.

Wednesday lunchtime was decided for a second attempt at date no. 2. The heavens opened. “Il pleuvait comme vaches qui pisse” (translation: it was raining like a pissing cow). ‘Romantic’ frenchie did not materialse, instead I got ‘surly’ frenchie.

“I need to withdraw some money, do you mind if we head down there to the cash point” Less than a 5 minute walk. Not a problem.
And then it came…..”Oh actually…”
This was the point I should have realised that date no. 1 was not going to be replicated.
He made THE WORST faux pas ever.


This situation could perhaps be compared to Judas when he betrayed Jesus in terms of dating mistakes. ESPECIALLY for a foodie, like me. THIS kind of ‘date’ is for a few months down the line, when you’re officially together, and hungover wearing no make up and joggers.

All I could think was why? WHY? WHY?! and….What was I doing there?!

My friends afterwards asked: why did you not laugh in his face when he suggested it, or say no? The answer: I was in complete and utter genuine shock. I mean come on. MCDONALD’S?!

You have to laugh though, his name was Valentin. And as my Dad kindly pointed out after reading my blog: “Well Hat, you clearly aren’t his Valentine.”

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