Francais, ou pas Francais?

Francais, ou pas Francais?
Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Villefranche-sur-Mer, France


The year I lived in Winnipeg, I got hooked on the TV show Sex and the City. Every Saturday evening while I did my laundry, I’d visit with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, the four high-style Manhattan friends whose loves and lives Carrie explored in her newspaper column.

In one episode, Carrie points out what she believes is an inaccurate character detail in her current male friend’s recently published novel. “No self-respecting New York woman would ever wear her hair in a scrunchie,” she tells him. He snorts, and bets against her assertion. Later, they are standing in a lineup for a trendy restaurant opening. Ahead of them is a woman with a ponytail, held aloft by a scrunchie. He raises his eyebrows at Carrie, who says under her breath, “She’s not from New York.” He taps the woman on the shoulder and asks if she’s looking forward to her dinner. With a big smile and a broad southern drawl, she says, “Oh, yes! My husband and I are from Georgia, and this is our first trip to New York City! I’m so excited!”

As we wait for Provencal trains, dinners, and traffic lights, Lorne and I often play a game I developed and dubbed “French/Not French.” The object of the game is to guess whether a passerby is French, only taking into consideration the context and how the person dresses and/or behaves. We each have to register a guess before hearing the person speak. Sometimes, we’re never able to validate our choice but there’s no point in ruining a perfectly good game with statistical evidence!

Wanna play? I thought you might Here are 8 people portraits. I’ll give you the context and the description using the most objective language I can. I’ll supply our answers and explanations for them tomorrow. Have fun!

French, or not French?

1. A woman about 30 years of age walks along the Villefranche seawalk. She is wearing a T-shirt with horizontal stripes and a stretched neckline. She carries her belongings in a fanny pack.
2. A woman with fluffy white hair sits in a restaurant courtyard, reading a French newspaper. She is wearing a fluorescent lime blouse. Her hoop earrings, bracelet and watch band are also lime green. Her lipstick is bright rose.
3. A teenage girl walks with her two friends through the Matisse Museum in Nice. She wears an ocean blue dress with a black empire waistband, and black flats. Her hair extends halfway down her back.
4. A middle-aged woman sits with a very straight back at the next table to yours in an outdoor restaurant.The conversation she is having with her friend is so quiet you can hardly hear it. She wears a pale grey, short sleeved T-shirt, slate grey skinny jeans, red wedge sandals, and a string of beads made of wool felt.
5. A woman in her 40s walks through the gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap Ferrat. She wears red-framed sunglasses, a white blouse, pink short shorts, and white wedge sandals. Her toenails are painted azure.
6. A very elderly woman leans on a cane in a Caromb bakeshop. She is wearing a grey cardigan with holes in the sleeves and backless bedroom slippers.
7, It is the day after a rainstorm has significantly cooled the Villefranche heat, and a breeze is blowing off the harbor. A woman in her 50s sits with her husband, eating lunch at a stairside cafe. She is wearing a swimming pool blue, sleeveless cotton dress. She frequently rubs her bare arms to try to stay warm.
8. A man in his 30s peruses outdoor menus with his wife along a cobbled street above the Villefranche harbor. He is wearing a T-shirt with an Abercrombie and Fitch logo, long basketball shorts, and athletic sandals.


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