Obviously, this is a massive generalisation, totally unfair, and bordering on the racist. Perhaps it would be better to say Why I Hate The French People I Personally Have Come Across. Because, despite the fact that I live in France, my contact with actual french people has been kind of limited. Which, if the few francophones I actually know are anything to go by, may be just as well. In fact, apart fom a few very nice students who I have had relatively little contact with, the french people I know fall pretty neatly into three categories.
1. Random French guys who like to hit on people inappropriately. Like, all the time. Day, night, dressed up, hungover, face covered in impetigo, whatever. And it's not even because I'm foreign (although that does tend to exacerbate things). It crosses the line between flattering and creepy. They don't take no for an answer, they never leave you to carry on the conversation you were clearly having with your friends and they have literally no concept of personal space.
2. Then there's my A level french teachers. Two women who delighted in asserting their moral superiority over the english, whether it be because we drink ('It's just so sad to see a girl drunk at prom') or because we eat things that came in microwaveable packets ('My son Jude has never eaten anything that wasn't organic'). This, combined with the fact that I was never the most model student and they weren't the sort of teachers who would let homework slide provided you were still doing well on external examinations, led to a strained, at best, relationship.
3. Finally, there's my roomate. Or should I say, former roomate. Because last Wednesday, without warning, she asked me to leave the apartment. The reason for this is that she is a freaking mentalist. Basically, reread the description of my A-level teachers. Then imagine living with one of them.
It was clear that we weren't going to get on from the day I arrived, when she followed me round as I unpacked making helpful comments such as 'I don't hang my trousers up that way, it doesn't keep them perfectly straight'. But it was a very nice apartment, and I was prepared to keep my head down, do what she wanted regarding the shared kitchen and bathroom and make the best of it.
Unfortunately that was not good enough for her. Not only was the very clean kitchen not spotless enough (and she wasn't a neat freak, she just liked to say that she was so that I would feel obliged to be super tidy while she did whatever she goddamn wanted), but I apparently neglected her as a friend by having a social life of my own. My mistake, I was looking for a roommate, not a BFF. Which, incidentally, is also my fault for not making that more clear to her before I arrived.
My many, many faults, on top of selfishness and lack of personality, also include chronic rudeness. Apparently it was horrifically impolite of me to arrive, invited into her house (as opposed to being a lodger who paid half of the rent) without a gift for her. When I WAS EMIGRATING. I paid £35 in excess baggage because I had to fly my entire life to France by Easyjet and she was upset that I didn't have room for a bunch of freaking flowers. Similarily my friend Mel, when she came to visit me in the room that I had paid for, should have brought her a gift. And, when we came in and she was sitting in her pyjamas in bed , complaining about how tired she was, we should not have gone to my room and made an effort to be extra quiet, we should have invited her to join us for a glass of wine. Seriously. I give up.
But it's ok now, because I'm set up in a new place, where I can happily lock the word out if I feel like it. And I do have some french neighbours who I share a kitchen with. Yet to meet them, but hopefully they can do something to improve my opinion of the nation. Because otherwise I have a long 8 months ahead of me...