One of the things I haven’t done enough of since moving to London is travel around Europe. I’ve been to Val D’sere for snowboarding, and Rome, but that’s it! I love traveling, though I’m not very good at doing it. I’ve never been backpacking, my idea of camping involves a very cool heated pod, and I hate flying. All the same, I try to do it when I can. And tomorrow, it’s Paris!
I have some good friends who used to live there, who’ve given my boyfriend and me a comprehensive list of places to try. From an amazing Mexican (?!) restaurant/cocktail bar called Candelaria, to Buttes Chaumont with its tower with a view over Sacre Couer. They, being Irish, even recommended an Irish bar called Cork and Cavan, though, and I quote: “I presume you’re not going to Paris for Irish bars!” I’m a bit anxious about the food situation as a pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish, i.e. a cheater). I know France isn’t great for vegetarians. My former-Paris-living friends are both vegetarians, so I think I’ll be fine with their recommendations. Luckily, I love cheese. And bread. And wine. So I’ll be fine.
Another thing I’m really excited for is to observe French women. Throughout history, French women have been the height of cultural cool (as my brother and I joke “super chouette“) and also of not shaving. While I am going to shave before (and during) my holiday, I am intrigued by this stereotype, and want to see if any elements of it are true. And another thing, I’m also always curious about it cat-calling in other countries.
Here in London I notice it, but not as much as I did in New York City. In Rome there was none directed at me, probably because we were constantly surrounded by tourists who were all preoccupied with their selfie sticks (I have never seen so many selfie sticks). Being out with my boyfriend does, sometimes, lessen the aggressiveness of male attention, but I try to be aware of it when it’s directed at other women as well. There are of course cultural differences in the way men and women interact. I learned this well when I spent some time in Japan. Within Europe, however, I wonder if the differences will be more subtle and if, therefore, sexism and objectification may be harder to identify. Let me clearly state: I am not chalking up any objectification of anyone to cultural differences. I am simply curious as to how those moments are perceived, and responded to, by those affected by them.
I’m curious as to what Paris will be like. I leave tomorrow, and will be sure to report back on the style / cat calling / tourist-ing / food-inhaling that takes place!