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After summoning my friends to a crisis coffee meeting, where I had to tell them about what had just happened to me, my friends explained I had, in fact, told him that I liked him a lot – but as a friend.One of my friends even likened saying ‘Je t’aime bien’ to something you might say to a sandwich. In England, if you told someone you liked him or her a lot, you would have been declaring some pretty strong romantic feelings for that person and would most likely be holding out for a future relationship with them.She soon came to realise, though, that this was oh-so-normal en France.When dating in any new culture that you’re not familiar with, it can understandably be daunting, especially if you’re speaking in a language that’s not your mother tongue.But what happens if you find yourself in a stalemate situation where neither of you is making the move to take your relationship to the next stage?You could tell him that he’s great or that he’s nice by saying, ‘Tu es génial’ or ‘Tu es très sympa’, while brushing the hair away from his face… In a totally different situation, if he starts referring to you as his girlfriend after the second date, that’s pretty normal.Oh how different things might have been if I’d known then what I know now… You flirt, perhaps touch each other a little, (or, in my case, he brushed my leg with his foot under the table once, I blush thinking he’s outrageously flirting with me only for him then to apologise for accidentally kicking me.) Anyway, the chemistry is going wild yet he hasn’t made the move and kissed you.

I’d previously been used to a world where if you appeared ‘too keen’, you might lose the guy prematurely.

Once you kiss a French man for the first time, you’re practically declaring exclusivity right off the bat.

In other cultures, it may be normal to ‘date around’ when you’re single, see which shoe fits…

’ Well, of course, in an ideal world I want to answer that question by saying, ‘Let’s do champagne at Le Meurice followed by the Opéra, topped off with a horse and carriage ride that would leave me right at the foot of my door.’ Once my head stops spinning and I’m brought back to the present moment, however, I have once made the regrettable decision of simply answering, ‘Oh, I don’t mind. ’ My date then suggested going for a drink at a bar in Le Marais.

This sounded perfect until I Googled the bar and saw it was listed as, ‘Un établissement gay et lesbian’.

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