The It Factor

Apparently I’ve got ‘it’.  That certain je ne sais quoi.  That certain indefinable ‘it’ that drives men crazy.  Yes, 65+ year-old Parisian men.

On our last trip to Paris, while D attended his business meetings, I opted for a leisurely lunch at a bistro on avenue des Ternes before heading to Place de l’Étoile to catch the métro.  I had an afternoon of shopping planned and I was in high spirits.  Happily, the weather in Paris matched my mood: the sky was a lovely shade of blue; it was sunny and warm.  On my walk from avenue des Ternes I found myself on avenue Carnot.  Yes, it’s a bit of an uphill walk to the métro but the weather and the Arc de Triomphe were enough motivation.  I happily strolled up Carnot.  When I reached the corner of Carnot and rue de Tilsitt I was greeted by two male voices who called to me: “Bonjour mademoiselle.  Ou peut-être c’est madame…?” (Good day Miss. Or maybe it’s Mrs.?)

This had me giggling on the inside and I said to myself “are these two serious?” I smiled back from behind my sunglasses and before I could say a word one of the two cabbies said “vous etes si belle mademoiselle…” The other cabbie, not to be outdone, quickly interrupted him and said “c’est madame. J’en suis sûr! Et elle est vraiment charmante.” (I’m sure she’s married! And she is charming.)

By this point, I had to answer them; how could I not? I said “oui, c’est madame.” The swift and immediate reply was “oh, vous avez brisé mon coeur madame” (you’ve broken my heart) to which I had to laugh because these guys had to be kidding. The flattery continued while I stood there shaking my head.  The cabbies, in guise of talking to each other, were chatting me up. The light eventually changed and I crossed the street as they wished me a wonderful day.

And yes, I did have a wonderful day.  Of course, the day would have been wonderful without the interaction but meeting those two gents was like a cherry on a sundae.  After all, everyone enjoys receiving compliments.

It made me think of moments where we have the choice to be happy and share that happiness or to choose otherwise.  The two cab drivers could have opted to say nothing.  Maybe it was the sunny weather that brightened their spirits and they thought to share.  Maybe they’d had a good lunch, as had I, and were still floating on that midday cloud.  Either way, it was neither here nor there to me. But how lovely is it to laugh with complete strangers – French ones too! – on a street in Paris under a glorious blue sky with the Arc de Triomphe in the background!

And so yes, I’ve got that ‘it’ and I know you do too.  Get out there and share ‘it’ with the world.

(To my friends and family in Canada and the US: Happy Labour (or Labor) Day!  Enjoy the long weekend!)

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Categories: everyday stuff, Paris, speaking French

Author:Tanya in Transition

I am a woman in transition. I left my job of 13 years to find happiness and self-fulfillment...in France!

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14 Comments on “The It Factor”

  1. Maureen
    September 6, 2011 at 8:09 AM #

    Happiness girl….the IT factor! Love it!

  2. September 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM #

    Popped in from SITS! That’s awesome!

  3. September 12, 2011 at 4:19 PM #

    What a sweet post! It brightened my morning! Stopped by from SITS.

    • September 12, 2011 at 4:25 PM #

      Hi Pam! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m glad that my post brightened your day too.

  4. September 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM #

    I LOVED this! Funny and sweet all at the same time – I love those ‘pay it forward’ type of moments when a complete stranger (or strangers, as it were) make your day. You really articulated that feeling well in this post – haha, it made my day! 🙂

  5. October 3, 2011 at 6:43 PM #

    SO wonderful! And strangely enough I have the odd older man stopping me in the street too. Wonder what it is?

  6. October 11, 2011 at 8:20 AM #

    Dear Tanya,

    Your posts are becoming better and better by the day..I particularly loved this…I love your insight in French society and I share it!
    Congratulations!

  7. February 3, 2012 at 7:54 PM #

    I love the way French gentlemen flirt. That was just so sweet and charming! Being back in Paris makes me feel like a walking flower sometimes. Mon amoureux me donne souvent des fleurs.

    • February 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM #

      Yes, me too. It’s something you don’t come across often, if at all, in North America. I like that: a walking flower. I tell ya, the rest of the afternoon was beautiful. I was already in a good mood but that encounter was the cerise on a lovely sundae.

      I popped over to your blog and I must say that I love what I’ve seen. I’m heading back over to snoop ‘cuz I have a question to ask you there. Welcome back to France by the way!

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