Les French! Les Bastards!


I feel quite good today because I went for my gyno checkup and it turns out I am perfectly anatomically correct! My Gyno had a trainee assistant with him and he told her “This is a very normal vagina, do have a look at it! And now feel her breasts. This is how normal breasts feel.” So she had a good grope of my breasts (does that count as a lesbian experience – I don’t think either of us got anything out of it but still)?


Where was I? Oh yeah I wanted to talk about this barbecue I went to on Sunday – very picturesque, kids messing about on the lake in kayaks until my daughter cut her toes on some rocks. Yes indeed it was great for the kids but I spent the party being pursued by the French Paradox. I don’t mean he was trying to grope me or show me his baguette but initially this French bloke who is a conductor, not a lighting conductor or train conductor simply one of those that waves a white stick at violins. Every time I turned around he was there beside me muttering, “Paradoxes. I’m fascinated by them.” I suppose the only french paradox I am interested in is the one bandied about, you know, How can French people drink so much wine and eat so much cheese and red meat and have one of the lowest heart disease rates in the world, les bastards! I have never really gotten to the bottom to this but make sure to eat my body weight in camembert and drink red wine for breakfast just to keep my heart healthy ya know.


Now at this particular barbecue I decided not to get pissed. Partly because it was 90 degrees F and I tend to get sunstroke when I mix wine with heat but also because I get a loose tongue and a) tell everyone’s secrets in a very loud voice b) pick a pointless argument with someone. So maybe had I been drunk I would have told French Paradox where to stick his paradoxes but I was really kind of stuck with him because there were two groups at the party both of which were unbearable bores. There was one huge table of braying lawyer/doctor types who weren’t sagging too much because they were childless or pregnant – needless to say they were so boring you didn’t want to start anything with them. The other group was a bunch of happy clappy granola mums and dads who all looked knackered – you know the types – co-sleepers which means everyone sleeps in the same bed and no one gets any sleep let alone sex. Their kids don’t get to watch TV and instead have to spend the evening doing circus tricks on dad’s feet – yes this was something that was demonstrated at the party. Some of the kids at the party had never seen a TV let alone a commercial which was fine but I didn’t necessarily want to talk to those parents either who seemed to be having an argument about whether they should do ‘hot compost’ or ‘slow compost’ this summer for their back street garden.

So instead I listened to French Paradox witter on. “It is such a paradox that the British sense of humor is the finest in the world, the people are so refined and polite and yet you have these crazy football hooligans.” If drunk I would have pointed out that most of the TV comedy programs imported around the world are written by Oxbridge graduates and consequently not representative of the British masses. Then he was on about “Why are the French known as gourmets when they have the highest rate of McDonalds in the world?” No flipping idea mate. Also, “Seattle, it is a place where the rules are strict, if you jaywalk you get a fine and yet they have the highest rate of car crashes in America. Why is that?” Buggered if I know. And on he went. He was a harmless innocuous type so I let him ramble on until it was time to go.

On the way to the barbecue we had travelled on a route that was truly horrendous. You know you are going through a terrible area when you see “Free HIV tests today” and churches advertising “HIV symposium today – must be over twelve!” Then there were three boys taunting a bull dog no doubt getting him ‘ring ready’ for a dog fight. There were groups of toothless red baked alcoholics with not a tooth between them staggering across the road. There was a hunchbacked woman carrying her shopping on her back and a squirming group of filthy toddlers on a stoop apparently chewing on the grey foam insert of a cushion. They should maybe do tours through here 'The Real Baltimore' – quite interesting I suppose but I couldn’t help wondering if on the GPS system where they ask you to choose between ‘minimize freeways’ and ‘direct route’ they might also want to include a ‘no social deprivation route.’ As no such option currently exists I closed my eyes on the way back. I started thinking about paradoxes. Do they exist – I mean surely you can take two opposing facts about a country and place them side by side and they look like a paradox. Can you actually think of any actual paradoxes? What about if Emma is so mature now that she doesn’t drink at parties then why is she still bored shitless?