Over the weekend le boyfriend threw a house-warming party. I neatly arranged saucisson sec, expensive-looking crisps and black olives on a table.
Boys in blue stripey sweaters attended, clusters of people did bohemian things on the roof and I walked around crashing into things.
I tend to avoid conversation as a whole at Parisian parties. I avoid not being funny in French, I avoid accidentally insulting someone in French and mostly, I avoid the reality that everyone around me is French. Technically, so am I on Dad’s side, but I’m forever known as zi English, or l’Americaine; no one can quite figure out what I really am and I don’t really bother to correct them.
So I float around the room offering ‘After Eight‘ chocolates, crashing into shisha pipes and tripping over bag straps because I’ve had a little too much rosé by this time. I also forget that After Eight is an English chocolate that the French are most likely going to hate. They do, with scrunched up noses and, “Ugh, c’est très Anglais ςa“. Shrug. More for me.
I clamber up onto the roof with the bohemians. I try blending in but end up accidentally insulting this guy’s hairstyle. Trying to apologize/backtrack with the aid one of those dramatic French hand gestures, I launch my plastic cup of rosé into the night which lands on the heads of a couple sitting on the terrace below. “OOHH LAAA! MAIS NON!” [angry voices]. The glass could have come from anywhere so I go along with that theory and quietly retreat to the loo for good measure.
Later on I see someone spill their drink on the same couple. Party guests swoop in from all sides to chastise the culprit. I shake my head, because the nerve of some people, spilling drinks on people’s heads.
An hour into the early morning, I reluctantly get into a conversation with a Frenchman about the 90s singer/group/can’t remember, Pulp. And Pulp is ‘so Englisshe‘ so I’m supposed to know everything about him including his birth town. I tell the Frenchman I’m going to go look it up on my iPad, never to return.
As the night wears on and the music gets louder, I notice that guy that loves Pulp jumping around like a french monkey. “C’est Pulp!” he shouts, spotting me across the room. I duck. Crouching on the floor I realize I’ve managed to make it through most of the night without starting a proper conversation with anyone about anything except “After Eight?”
I study some Parisian girls conversing by the sofa and decide not to approach because one of them, a sultry blonde, is definitely mean.
It’s 3.30am and the last stragglers are totally unfazed by the fact that the trash is being taken out– there are always stragglers that are totally unfazed that the trash is being taken out. A good technique is to leave the front door open in the hopes that they might walk through it. It works and finally I can turn off that f**king Pulp music.
When everyone is gone, le boyfriend and I survey the disaster of his new parquet floor and hug. We decide everyone in Paris is filthy as we look up at the moonlight, my head resting on his shoulder.
And I say, “But it was a great party.”