Everything you learn living with French flatmates
I live with three French people, and love them all so very, very much. However, living in the flat equivalent of the Entente Cordiale has taught me a number of things about these strange, exotic people:
Turns out you don’t speak French as well as you thought
I dropped French as soon as I could (along with German and Spanish) in school, but always kept a simmering interest in the language. I figured I could read it okay, so I could probably hold a fairly stunted conversation.
In come the French though, talking at 1000 words per minute and in slang that, even after being explained, doesn’t really make sense to me (Maccies = ‘Domac’?).
That’s okay though, you’ll pick it up fairly quickly through osmosis
Maybe I’m just a quick learner, but by the end of first term, last year I was being accused of secretly learning French in my room. I also now know the only phrase I will ever need – “je ne suis pas trop beurré, mais je suis très beurré”.
They barely wear makeup but are still all fit
I don’t get how they do it. Good job though guys.
Half their names will still be a mystery though
It’s been a year and a half and I still have no idea how to pronounce ‘Aude’. Awd? Oh-d? Owd? Maybe as my Scouse flatmate thinks, it’s Ood.
And then there’s the nicknames
Aude barely flinched when she told us her nickname back home was ‘Mini-meuf’, which came out sounding like “Mini Muff” but actually means something like ‘small girl’.
My cooking is shit
I make no bones about my cooking skills – they’re not amazing by any stretch of the imagination. Compared to the French, you might as well be cooking with cardboard and wank as your only ingredients. “Oh this?” they say, faux-coyly, as they catch you eyeing up whatever ornate, multi-tiered masterpiece they’ve just produced and which undoubtedly has a name you don’t stand a chance of pronouncing. “Just something I whipped up”.
Knowing people in France is super handy
Unless you’re one of those weirdos that gets to Europe via the North Sea and into Rotterdam (once, never again), France is pretty much your gateway to the mainland. If you know a load of people in France, you can hit them up as you bum around. I had an hour and a half wait in Paris when getting a train from Lisieux to Amsterdam, so spent it chilling with one of my flatmate’s friend. Beats sitting on the platform.
They’re weird about pulling
As far as I can gather, French people don’t nail. They must reproduce by some form of asexual budding, because otherwise I’m not sure how France has gone on this long. Oh, they’ll get with people on nights out—and in the next breath complain that English girls are too slutty—but never anything more than a bit of chaste kissing. It’s like an entire nationality of high schoolers, playing kiss-chase in clubs and giggling about it afterwards.
Anything you can do France can do better
The word ‘chauvinism’ means “belligerent patriotism” and derives from Nicholas Chauvin, who was French, and this shows: Wine? “It’s better in France”. Cheese? “It’s better in France”. Partying? “It’s better in France”. The weather? “It’s better in France”. Girls? “They’re better in France”. Well why don’t you go back to bloody France then and leave us with our little island of shit everything then, hmm?
If you base your sense of self-worth on Facebook likes, like I do, the French are a godsend
Tag a French person in anything: boom, instant likes from half of France, plus the list of names and constant stream of notifications will make you feel dead cultured and international.
Every drunk person who finds out your flatmates are French suddenly thinks they speak it fluently
We had a Tab social that devolved into both our editors slurring broken French at an increasingly amused Lauriane. Props to the kid with “tu est la lune de mon nuit” though. That’s classy af.
If you are mates with them you must be prepared to be mates with all their mates
The three flatmates tend to operate as a single being. They’re either all in the kitchen, or none of them are. They eat together, they drink together, for all I know they bathe together. “We’re having a couple people round for predrinks” means “every other French person you’ve ever met is coming over to drink because we all know each other”.
They will keep ‘accidentally’ knocking down the Union Jack in the kitchen
Oh really Benjamin, did the wind just knock it down? Funny that the Tricolore is fine then isn’t it?