You can’t make friends with a cheese platter!

© Jessie Kanelos

A few months back, I was at the wedding reception of mon mari’s best friend.  Although i had a few fleeting conversations about New York and its amazing ‘energie’ with the other party guests, I was stuck in that buffer zone of not clinging to the people i had already used all of my Pringles jokes on and targeting who my next victim would be.  So I did what any normal expat in search of inspiration would do, i propped myself up next to the cheese platter.  Time went by.  Champagne came and went.  I was both invincible and completely invisible to the soiree.  Victory was mine!  Until the host of the evening, the ever sociable best friend of mon mari spotted me out. “You know, Jessie”, he whispered discretely in my ear. “If you want, I can happily introduce you to some people.  Although I often think otherwise, you cannot make friends with a plateau de fromages.’ Before I could translate “Try me, bro” into French, I knew I was thoroughly busted.

Unlike America where everybody says “I love you!” and inclusion is a virtue, I am still teaching myself to be a bit more proactive in social situations in France.  If not, it will be just me and the cheese.

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  1. thefrancofly says:

    Thanks so very much, mlle. Bon w-e.

  2. thefrancofly says:

    Thanks Cynthia! It is still an adjustment. Thank goodness I have a sense of humor though.

    Enjoy your day!

  3. thefrancofly says:

    Thanks mlle!

  4. mlle says:

    Enjoy the commentary, but the illustrations are the real treat!

  5. Cynthia Lewis says:

    P.S. Today I was thinking about invisible you beside the lovely plate of cheeses and wondered if your husband was at this reception. He must have been since the occasion was for his best friend and the bride. Just wondering…….at times adjusting to a different culture must be challenging!


  7. mlle says:

    In French society, it is almost always necessary to have a formal introduction on the first meeting – very kind of your hubby’s friend to offer to assist! it’s an ice melter and mark of approval.

    and ‘what do you do?’ (for work) is considered a boorish way to begin a conversation – also unlike in America. you could always think of something witty to say about the cheese, perhaps!

  8. Cynthia Lewis says:

    Frankly, the cheese platter sounds delicious and more inviting than the other guests who allowed you to be left alone with it. To my mind, it is considered “mal élevé” not to include someone in a social gathering….keeping them by your elbow until they are enjoying themselves. But then I am from the Deep South…of the USA. Bonne chance!

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