petite anglaise

April 6, 2006

semi-detached

Filed under: single life — petiteanglaise @ 1:29 pm

Can you simply make a decision that you won’t form a deeper attachment to someone? To say that you want nothing more than witty conversation and lighthearted physical proximity? A fling. Uncomplicated fun.

Because I haven’t had chance to get used to this vibrant single life of mine and all the new friendships and opportunities it has to offer. Because I’m finding I take a selfish pleasure in living only for Tadpole and myself, taking no one else into account day to day.

Because it’s much too soon to allow anyone to slip inside the invisible circle I have drawn around myself. Too soon to let the firm ground beneath my feet shake and tilt. Because even though, on the surface, I feel lighter, stronger, more whole than I have in a long time, I am still conscious of a soft, vulnerable centre. Unwilling to test the limits of my new found strength.

Because I’m convinced that, flitting from city to city, this elusive boy seeks no ties.

Wandering around Nice, taking in the opulence of the hilltop villas from the vantage point of an open topped bus, hair buffeted by the wind, cheeks warmed by the hazy sun, tiny details kept insinuating their way into my head. The way his voice changes when he smokes a cigarette. Dark chocolate eyes. The bar where we drank jus de gingembre until the owner chivvied us out of the door, when suddenly we realised chairs were stacked on tables around us and not a soul remained.

And so I shook my head vigorously to clear it, banish those unbidden thoughts, and turned to face my travelling companion.

77 Comments

  1. A year and a half ago I had just ended a three and a half year relationship. The ending was very very messy and I was looking forward to some peace and just ‘getting back to me’ for a while.

    I became friends with a guy and we watched movies, went for coffee, talked about books, just hung out in general. I liked the uncomplicated company. I told myself to be careful, it was too soon, I’d end up falling into old and bad patterns from my just ended relationship but did my heart listen???

    Nope! A year and a half later I’m with the guy. Heart never listens to head no matter how much you think you need it to!

    Comment by CoCo — April 6, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  2. You certainly have a lovely, lyrical style of writing. It’s unbelievable that you haven’t been offered a book contract yet! I’m sure there are numerous people who’d be interested in the experiences of a perceptive and romantic young woman trying to make a life in Paris.

    Comment by just saying — April 6, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

  3. It’s called a “gap guy.” Enjoy it for what it is and don’t bring him home with you.

    Comment by Small Town Diva — April 6, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

  4. Oh THAT’S what you were thinking about. I thought you were about to sneeze.

    Comment by anna — April 6, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

  5. Anna, just to dispel any possible ambiguity, when we were in the olive oil restaurant, and I was unable to stop myself from moaning out loud, repeatedly, it was the FOOD on my mind and nothing else.

    Promise.

    Comment by petite — April 6, 2006 @ 2:49 pm

  6. My experience has been that you can’t “decide” to be detached. Shortly after my divorce, I entered into a doomed relationship where I attempted to be as nonchalant about the whole thing as the boy was. Problem was, he really WAS detached, and I was falling… harder and harder. I broke it off when I realized that we were in two different places. Problem is, it was too late for me, and it hurt like hell. I’m over it now, but determined to never again dabble like that. Good luck.

    Comment by kelly — April 6, 2006 @ 2:49 pm

  7. TWO WORDS (or sounds) : UH OH.

    Comment by magillicuddy — April 6, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

  8. I don’t think you can ever ‘decide’ to stay unattached, hearts aren’t rational enough for that! About a year ago a relationship of mine ended really badly and i was devastated, and decided that i needed a year to get over him and concentrate on finishing my degree. And i DEFINATLY wasn’t going to start a relationship with another student. Not only have i been with someone for 6 months but he will be a student for another two years! Anyway my point is your heart rules your head, not the other way round!

    Comment by Ellie — April 6, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

  9. Yes, you can make that decision instantly, to not get serious, but my experience is that I got serious anyway. I tricked myself into thinking that it meant nothing. Later (2 and 1/2 years later!), based on my original decision I said that enough was enough, ending. Six months went by and I wished that I hadn’t ended things. Piaf sang that she never regretted a thing (“non, je ne regrette rien”)but I can say that I have.

    Comment by Lost in France — April 6, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

  10. Well, Petite, I’ve been enjoying your site for some time. And the one thing I wish I’d done when I was dating (umpteen years ago) is listen to that inner voice. It’s telling you something for a reason. And when you said something about him not wanting ties, well…

    Comment by Jouf — April 6, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  11. Hope you’re enjoying the lovely weather down here! :)

    Comment by O. — April 6, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

  12. Everyone is different so the advice we give is pointless. If you feel you have grieved enough for the end of your relationship with Jim and even with Mr Frog, then of course you should move slowly on. With baby steps and kid gloves and many other mixed metaphors.

    My experience is quite different to that of yours (or rather I have been the flip side of the coin). I have been with my current partner for two years. For the first year he was in a another (long term) relationship with his now ex-girlfriend. When they broke up a year ago, of course I wanted to dive in to a full on “normal” relationship, however he sensibly told me to slow down. And after a year of many many ups and downs and his coming to terms with the baggage he has and mistakes he has made in the past, we are finally becoming a real couple. Throughout this I loved him constantly and somewhat impatiently. Is this new man willing to give you the time and space and 100% support that I gave my Mr Man to help you back into a healthy mind-set?

    It takes a strong person to just look after themselves and to not jump into a new relationship just to fill the void of the departed.

    Comment by Hmmm — April 6, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

  13. Mmmm, sounds like a delightful “transitional” guy. Just enjoy and don’t THINK so much!

    Comment by The Bold Soul — April 6, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  14. Being detached is so numbing to the soul…one really isn’t living, it is like being in limbo or purgatory which to me is worse than hell.

    Comment by Holly — April 6, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

  15. The answer’s in what you wrote, isn’t it? (I feel that makes me sound very wise, without really saying anything at all – just how I like it). More to the point, where can I get me some “jus de gingembre”?

    Comment by rhino75 — April 6, 2006 @ 6:36 pm

  16. yep, that’s my question exactly where can I get “jus de gingembre” miam.

    I wonder whether the aphrodisiac character of ginger had anything to do with it all?

    Comment by croque madame — April 6, 2006 @ 7:54 pm

  17. Le Panier, rue St Marthe. Fancy going for a cheeky ginger juice Mr Rhino? The owner is barking mad and there are pictures of fluffy kittens on the wall, I think you would approve.

    And as for the ginger, I had a ginger ice cream yesterday, and I didn’t jump on Anna, so no, I don’t think so.

    Comment by petite — April 6, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

  18. Aaah, you just never know what will happen. I ended up marrying my gap lad. Enjoy yourself.

    Comment by dongurigal — April 6, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

  19. No matter what, you’ll make the correct decision. Just listen to yourself and you’ll know. Tadpole will also tell you as well, I’m sure.

    :)
    AM

    Comment by AlieMalie — April 6, 2006 @ 8:26 pm

  20. I’m finding myself in the same position right now. And I’ve been in it the past. And, as far as I can tell, the only answer is that it’s a difficult line to walk, but ultimately, whatever one tries to make themself feel is pretty much irrelevant. The heart tends to do what it pleases.

    As for the jus de gingembre, Franprix (or at least the one near Odeon) sells a bottle for about 3 Euros. It is delicious with ice, soda, and bourbon. A dangerous combination.

    Comment by Kerry — April 6, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

  21. I’m sure bloggerers will appreciate knowing that the elusive jus de gingembre, or at least the nectar de gingembre can be bought online at http://www.houra.fr and delivered to your doorstep. However it does sound like sharing it with a chocolate-eyed gravelly-voiced niçois is much more fun.

    Comment by Paris Lights — April 6, 2006 @ 8:46 pm

  22. not a niçois, you are getting all confused…

    Comment by petite — April 6, 2006 @ 8:55 pm

  23. “… this elusive boy”,…what a wonderfully characterstic Petite turn of words!

    But what is the inference to be drawn from the descriptors? From ‘Mr Frog’, a benign combination of the formal and amiably derogatory? ….to ‘Lover’, sybolising lustful passionate abandonment after years of frustration? ….to ‘boy’, suggestive of a Mrs Robinson dominatrex sort of intent?

    As for ‘voice changes when smoking’… well, yes, the vocal chord does suffer and unless you are already also a member of the fellowship of the weed, that’s not all…. mouth (his & yours) starts to resemble an ashtray, while carcinogens are being pumped around the cardiovascular system, so not, perhaps, a good long-term bet, or role model for Tadpole?

    So why not just enjoy the fantasy in your mind & play it cool for now? Who knows, next time you are in Nice it may be in the company of Michael Winner, whisking you from port to heliport to anchored yacht, while ‘boy’ continues to perambulate around on the top deck of the omnibus?

    Comment by fella — April 6, 2006 @ 8:58 pm

  24. Well……..I have read these comments and agreed with the “enjoy it for what it is” sentiment, the “listen to your heart” sentiment and most of all the “don’t think too much” sentiment (because that is such a “me” trait). But most of all I think that at times you can’t control things and most of all you can’t control emotions and how you react to someone else. I know I have tried to remain “stoic” in the aftermath of failed romance and promised myself no ties and a fling……and invariably I fall for them.

    I think that as long as you are happy – and have the lovely feelings you describe and are able to see things from both your perspective and his, you should enjoy it and most of all, don’t ponder too much!

    I know that is hard because sometimes I just want out of my own head because I can’t switch off from the thinking.

    :)

    Comment by Kasey — April 6, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

  25. Lovely!
    I think it’s safest to savour the moment, like you do. Pointless pain is wasted life.

    Comment by fjl — April 7, 2006 @ 2:52 am

  26. Pictures of fluffy kittens? Were there any other men in the place?

    Don’t worry for the long run so much. your heart and mind are both taking lessons as well as healing. Enjoy the ride!

    Meanwhile, I’m sure I’ll find myself perusing the local markets in vain, looking for the ginger out of pure curiosity.

    Comment by Gruntled — April 7, 2006 @ 3:34 am

  27. another one found in the comments box, I presume?

    Comment by Trevor — April 7, 2006 @ 6:52 am

  28. …have I missed something? Where did this new love interest spring from? (Perhaps those at the Blogmeet know – lots of cryptic in-jokes in the comments lately.) But do take care Petite… If anyone is out for “selfish pleasure” it sounds like it’s this boy who “seeks no ties”.

    Comment by old school friend — April 7, 2006 @ 8:59 am

  29. The brown-eyed boy smokes (ugh)and flits from city to city.
    He’s obviously gay.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — April 7, 2006 @ 9:07 am

  30. *amused by the fact that the male commenters are tending to be so negative and over-protective*

    Trevor – no, not even a reader, as it happens. Better that way.

    Comment by petite — April 7, 2006 @ 10:37 am

  31. I tend to think that you should always live your feelings to the max, life is too short to always be careful and even a short fling can bring endless joy and fun – as well as it’s share of heartache but at the end of the day, when you look at the big picture you’ll most likely remember the fun parts more…

    so go with the flow and enjoy the ride…(as in voyage) arf arf.

    Comment by croque madame — April 7, 2006 @ 11:11 am

  32. Was going to suggest a charming enthusiastic boy as the way to go (I married mine). If he’s ‘elusive’ then maybe best not to get Tadpole involved just yet (but you knew that anyway).

    But mostly, as an advertiser, I wanted to thank you for keeping the blog interesting… ;)

    Comment by Paola at 'mirror mirror' — April 7, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

  33. I aim to please. But I hope I don’t just live it this way to increase the readership…

    Comment by petite — April 7, 2006 @ 12:04 pm

  34. Dark chocolate eyes, not even a reader. One of those Johnny Foreigner types then, I presume?

    Comment by Trevor — April 7, 2006 @ 12:04 pm

  35. Trevor,what’s it to ya where Petite “finds” anyone? (“Another one found in the comments box, I presume?”)
    Stop presuming so much; your snippy attitude reeks of envy!

    Petite, I think that you are emerging from your cocoon after having undergone a spiritual metamorphosis this past year and are awakening anew, with the background of Spring, to LIFE, full spectrum…

    Enjoy Paris
    Enjoy your young man
    Enjoy the blessing that is Tadpole and most important of all,

    LIVE

    Comment by Belle — April 7, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

  36. Ho Ho, he’s a sneeky one is Johnny Foreigner, I’d watch out with that fellah!

    Comment by Trevor — April 7, 2006 @ 12:59 pm

  37. Hahahaha.

    To answer the qu in your first paragraph: No, probably not.

    But does it matter? Live for the moment.

    Real life includes pain as well as joy, and the good wouldn’t be good without the bad. But don’t try to preempt it. Just go with the flow.

    Comment by Clare — April 7, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

  38. Oy, not only do I not smoke but I’ve been living in the same city for eight years – so less of the “gay-bashing” Parkin Pig. It’s a well-known fact that people’s sexual orientation can only be determined by browsing through their CD collection or wardrobe (a lot of clingy sleeveless tops, fake tan and Madonna often indicate a “Gentlemen who is good with colours”) The ginger juice café sounds suspiciously like my apartment, fluffy kittens and all, though.

    Comment by rhino75 — April 7, 2006 @ 1:16 pm

  39. Lordy. Johnny Foreigner indeed. No. English. Friend of a friend.

    This probably sums it up (don’t click on the link mum and dad! that’s an order!) but given that I am a hopeless romantic and live mostly inside my own head, clearly that concept is fraught with potential problems.

    Comment by petite — April 7, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

  40. Here we go again guys! Of course we’re negative and over-protective. We’re blokes and we’ve got another damn rival!

    Comment by Parkin Pig — April 7, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

  41. I imagine he will be played by Johnny Depp in the film of your life – Who will play you Petite?

    Comment by Di — April 7, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  42. I had one of “those” and very nice he was too! No worries about where it was leading, quite a few moments of fun and we’re still good friends.

    Just what you need for Spring!

    Comment by Hazy — April 7, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  43. Hazy,

    What confuses me is that you seem to be saying that “despite having quite a few moments of fun” with this individual, you still remain friends. Could you please clarify by way of a few extra details what exactly you mean by “quite a few moments of fun”? Surely there’s nothing unusual about remaining friends with someone with whom you’ve had lots of fun.

    Comment by Trevor — April 7, 2006 @ 2:19 pm

  44. Well Trevor if you look at the Urban Dictionary explanation of “this” I’m sure you can imagine what fun it was. And it sure was fun.

    Also I didn’t say “despite”.

    Comment by Hazy — April 7, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

  45. YOU DIRTY THING!

    Comment by Trevor — April 7, 2006 @ 2:31 pm

  46. A bit prudish, aren’t you Trevor?

    Comment by Hazy — April 7, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  47. English?
    Wasn’t he Brazilian?
    Oh no, my mistake, that was a different topic of conversation.

    Comment by Mancunian lass — April 7, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

  48. I think he can play himself, in the film version, being as he’s a bit of a thespian. And as for me, as long as I’m not played by Gwyneth Paltrow I will be happy.

    Brazilian? Careful. There is only so much of this sort of insinuation my parents can take in one day.

    Comment by petite — April 7, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

  49. Don’t get us excited with stories of cheeky gingers…

    Comment by Flighty — April 7, 2006 @ 5:13 pm

  50. An unemployed Shakespearian actor. Lock up your daughters!

    Comment by Trevor — April 7, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

  51. who is this Trevor? he’s come out of nowhere and taken up residence?

    Comment by petite — April 7, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

  52. Ok, I’ll go then. But you’ll miss me.

    Comment by Trevor — April 7, 2006 @ 6:22 pm

  53. Phew!!!….Hmmmn…… its all getting a bit seamy! Not my placed to be censorious…. just wondering whether it might be better to transfer to following Eric’s gentle perambulations around Paris in his daily photo blog?! But, echoing Petite, it would be a bit like mutilating an arm!

    Comment by fella — April 7, 2006 @ 9:36 pm

  54. seamy? or steamy?

    hope it’s the latter as I am not very good at sewing.

    Comment by petite — April 7, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

  55. dear la petite anglaise,

    It’s an absolute joy to read your blog.A sheer extraordinary fabulous delight that I stumbled upon it and I shall buy your first novel when it graces our booksellers shelves.

    Chapeaux bas,
    I want to be like u when I grow up,

    M

    Comment by M — April 8, 2006 @ 1:57 am

  56. Life is short, nothing wrong with having some fun.
    I ended up marrying my “gap man” too.

    Comment by ColourMeCrazy — April 8, 2006 @ 7:50 am

  57. That’s a very nice photo Petite. Was it from Nice?

    Comment by Hazy — April 8, 2006 @ 8:20 am

  58. Indeed. If you click on it, you can see all the other photos anna took, and they are gorgeous.

    Comment by petite — April 8, 2006 @ 8:48 am

  59. Well, to be fair, you can’t see all of them, because I haven’t finished titling them yet, because I seem to have taken half a billion.

    You can see some, though…

    I’m glad you liked this one though, ‘tite.

    Comment by anna — April 8, 2006 @ 9:13 am

  60. Petite – fabulous picture……so atmospheric….and so fitting for your searchingly written piece.

    Comment by Morbihan Princess — April 8, 2006 @ 9:27 am

  61. at first i thought you were talking about a Cadbury egg… hard shell(well how hard is chocolate really?) soft and gooey in the center. mmmm.. i think it must be close to easter my Cadbury radar keeps going off. keep smiling and hugging Tadpole. :D

    Comment by Lynn — April 8, 2006 @ 10:15 am

  62. Ah, the Baie des Anges, the blue chairs of the Promenade des Anglais and the ubiquitous big pebbles below (they kill your feet, but they’re so much part of what makes a beach in Nice they become kind of romantic, don’t they?)… I spent so many summers there at my grandparents’, it’s nice to see pictures of it (well done, Anna!). My grandfater died in November and I fear I will never go back, or, worse, that when I do go back it will just not be the same… I hope you enjoyed your time in Nice, Petite. Did you go up to the castle? And did you eat ‘fougasse’ in the Cours Saleya (see http://www.locations-saleya.com/nice.html)? And did you go to the flower market there as well? It would be lovely to read a post about what you saw in Nice – I’m sure you would describe it exquisitely. Keep writing!

    Comment by Lotus Flower — April 8, 2006 @ 11:56 am

  63. the guys u leave behind are usually the most fun

    Comment by piu piu — April 8, 2006 @ 12:11 pm

  64. First of all, you can only call someone a fuckbuddy if you know the limits. The fact you’ve already lost your senses a bit to him makes him definitely not a fuckbuddy. Second of all, I know the type of girls who can have fuckbuddies. You’re not one of them. You’re too romantic and SERIOUS.

    So, what I’m saying is cut it while you can. And that’s my nosy advice to you.

    Comment by nardac — April 8, 2006 @ 1:12 pm

  65. You may well be right Nardac. But my experience this past year has shown me that I would rather live, have feelings, experience things (and cope with the flipside) rather than close myself off (and keep my legs crossed).

    Que sera, sera.

    Comment by petite — April 8, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

  66. Lovely photos…

    The kitty taking a nap in the wine cave, obviously awaiting a date(as 180 Euros is a lot to splurge on a bottle of bubbly for just oneself,no?)is especially charming and one look at the hothouse tomatoes in the Nice market has me lustily entertaining thoughts of making spicy salsa and a slow-simmering sauce…MMM

    Comment by Belle — April 8, 2006 @ 2:15 pm

  67. lovely pic – that anna is ace

    Comment by andre — April 8, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  68. oh how I long for a fuck buddy

    Comment by andre — April 8, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

  69. My humble opinion is that you should wait a bit longer before you jump into anything else. I just had my heart broken too and I can honestly say that within the months after the breakup, I found out who I really am and became a more confident happy person.

    The situation may be different for you, but I think we all need some alone time. I had my “gap men” (notice the plural ;) too but I wouldn’t let it progress into anything serious.

    Bonne Chance!

    Comment by juliana — April 8, 2006 @ 4:07 pm

  70. oh lordy, if this carries on I can see I will soon hold the coveted top google spot for both “bad mummy” and “f*ck buddy”.

    Lucky me.

    Comment by petite — April 8, 2006 @ 4:20 pm

  71. Over two years ago I went through a nasty break up, it was really painful and I thought I need time to get over it. Three months later I bumped into a man in Paris, and since then I was falling… I moved to England because I wanted to be there and because of him. I knew he didn’t want anything serious with me, but two months later he admited he loves me. Year later (since the day we met) we got married, we’ve been together for over two years now, and our relationship is becoming stronger daily. I was afraid to love him, my heart didn’t listen, and I am happy because even if my happines is going to last only until next week it’s worth it. We waste a lot of time of being afraid of getting hurt, give it a try. If doesn’t work just let it go, but never torture yourself for the past, look forward to future. Life is too short. Everyone is different, but I am happy I didn’t refuse relationship with my present husband, he loves me a love him. There is only love and world around us. Good luck petite.

    Comment by carra — April 8, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  72. Actually you have the top two spots for ‘bad mummy’…

    Comment by Ellie — April 8, 2006 @ 7:19 pm

  73. Petite, I can’t help but wander if you’re using an alias for your flickr account… You have mentioned a lot that you cringe at the sound of anyone french pronouncing your name…?
    /Nep.

    Comment by Neptune, God of the Seas — April 9, 2006 @ 11:20 am

  74. there’s other ways to live, my dear. well, just be careful… I know how these things work better than you, I think.

    and you know I could never judge you for keeping your legs uncrossed… pot and kettle stories.

    Comment by nardac — April 9, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

  75. pay attention Neptune, it isn’t my flickr account, it’s the blogger I was with in Nice, Anna, of Little Red Boat’s photostream.

    Comment by petite — April 9, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

  76. Be in the moment petite, but keep in mind the moments from the past that have taught you lessons that were hard learned……..Above all, enjoy your life!

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — April 9, 2006 @ 8:58 pm

  77. “Because here I am, an open book, with a broken spine.” It sounds like the best title for the picture, isn’t it ? And all the atttention converging towards the closed hand, half clenching and half digging… Anna has the talent to back yours, Petite !

    Comment by coutho — April 10, 2006 @ 8:45 pm


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