Sorry, I Don’t Know Any Seeking Work Right Now

I spotted this and thought it might be worth a lighthearted mention.

WordPress tells us search results do not always reveal the specific “search words” used to find your blog. Yet they do occasionally. Case in point: I have had visitors who’ve clicked in here recently after having searched on “French au pairs” and “French au pair story.”


Now, that does make reasonable sense. In a post, I do explain one of the characters had been one. Also, insofar as I can recall off the top of my head, I do mention “French au pair” in another.

Yes, one never knows what is going to, uh, attract a degree or two of interest on the internet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Quick Take: “Virginie”

I knew from the start that writing anything about France is to venture into a literary minefield. We know it is one of the most studied places there is. Whatever you put on a page is bound to irritate somebody. (“What’s he on about? It isn’t like that! This guy thinks he knows everything!”)

Ah, but in focusing on selected individuals, you are not attempting arrogantly in 400 pages to paint the totality of the national experience. You are writing about these people. Sticking to that framework is vital.

For example, we learn in one blurb regarding Virginie’s au pair sojourn in the U.S.:

….She detected also that American men were fascinated by French girls, some creepily so. In time she stopped going out Saturdays with other au pairs because she was revolted by the guys who tried to pick her up. She did not know what American girls did, but American guys seemed to fantasize French girls routinely had sex with men they had just met in bars.

Yet she had enjoyed her year overall. She knew France was not wildly popular with many Americans, but no one was ever nasty to her. She found Americans friendly and curious about her country….

Virginie is a twenty-something Frenchwoman who did not perhaps fit many Americans’ preconceptions. She spoke English solidly, and was eager to make friends and learn about America. In all that, she surprised her American new acquaintances.

Free Stock Photo: Vintage photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

But, back in France, Virginie does jokingly also reveal one type of narrow-mindedness:

โ€œIโ€™ve told you,โ€ hacked off, [Isabelle] reminded Virginie, โ€œI met him once with Alain for lunch. Another guy whoโ€™s desperate to get married. Why donโ€™t you go out with him?โ€

โ€œYou know I donโ€™t like short guys,โ€ Virginie chuckled.

โ€œFine,โ€ Isabelle replied. โ€œI know, maybe Iโ€™ll tell Alain that Bรฉatrice would be perfect for him.โ€

โ€œI think youโ€™ve got it,โ€ Virginie approved. โ€œIntroduce Silvain to her…. then heโ€™ll be the one running to America!โ€

I worked in London with a Frenchwoman who had emigrated to the UK and eventually married a British man. (There is a large French expat community in London.) She was also regularly full of praise for the United States. She had been to America only once, but she knew so much about it, and was so fascinated by it, I was frequently taken aback.

Mesmerized as U.S. media and literature are by the stereotype of the “ugly Frenchman” recoiling from modernity, full of disdain and even hate for things American, French people like my former colleague, and our fictional Virginie, rarely get much recognition. They deserve some. My little novel seeks to give them a bit.