Since coming back to France from my summer in the US my friend D, with whom I was such good friends last year, has been almost completely absent from my life except for the odd café meet up on a Wednesday afternoon or occasionally being available on a Friday night to see me. What happened, you may wonder?
She got closer with her boyfriend so I am no longer necessary, because she has someone else to fill her weekends and Wednesdays.
By contrast, when I thought I was going to have a boyfriend when I got back to France, I planned ways to divide my time between D and him, because she is my friend and important to me and you make time for the people you care about.
I think the main difference between French and American women is French women consider their female friends disposable. The most important relationship in their lives is always their significant male other; girl friends are there just to fill the gap between boyfriends. "Chicks before dicks" does not exist here. Once you have a boyfriend, you can stop seeing your girl friends because you no longer need them to help you find a man. D will occasionally remark that she doesn't see me, or other girl friends, as often as she used to, but is clearly unwilling to sacrifice time with her boyfriend in order to see us. Her priorities, and the priorities that French society has laid out for her, are clear: get a man. That's the only relationship that counts.
I went to see the Sex and the City movie with D last year. She loves SATC, she said, because the women are always there for each other, through thick and thin, no matter what. That kind of female relationship just isn't programmed into French women. Sure, you still see your girl friends every once in a while when you're in a couple (because you might break up someday and need the girls to help you find another man) but it's nothing like the American idea of girl friends who continue to see and phone and email each other all the time, in or out of a couple.
This is my interpretation of the elusive French woman, would be interested to hear the thoughts of others. Interestingly, I've also noticed that men seem to have friendships more like the typical American female friendship. Comments also welcome on this topic.
I've been watching a lot of Sex and the City this weekend. I really miss my girl friends at home.
Also, still looking for ideas re: my last post.