petite anglaise

July 19, 2004

A species à part

Filed under: french touch, working girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:17 pm

The French females (FF’s) in my workplace are a very different breed to the Brits and need to be ‘handled’ with extreme care. The following tips are based on personal experience, and may not be applicable to all FF’s.  Let no-one accuse me of making generalisations…

  • If you want an FF to do something for you (which incidentally is part of her job description and therefore by definition what she is paid for) don’t forget to prefix your request with the immortal phrase “I’m sorry to bother you, but could you possibly…”. Acknowledge the fact that she is doing you a favour by merely breathing, and don’t be afraid to resort to (c)overt flattery. If you follow these steps, the work should get done. FF does reserve the right to moan about you behind your back to other FF’s. This is unfortunate, but sadly unavoidable.
  • Be very careful when communicating in French to FF’s, verbally or by email. You cannot assume that sarcasm and irony will translate or be understood. Nor can you assume that FF has a sense of humour/can relate to yours. You are playing a very dangerous game if you adopt a tone which implies criticism. The punishment is generally being “sent to Coventry” by every French female in the office. Voices will drop to a whisper every time you enter the room and the atmosphere will be glacial. For months.
  • If you choose to communicate in English, which generally gives you the advantage, obviously you must be prepared for FF to claim to have misunderstood you when she misses the deadline/f***s up. Note that although FF has chosen to work in a British environment and said in her interview that she welcomed the opportunity to improve her English, it was all lies. She resents having to make the extra effort and will make you pay (see above). This tactic is therefore to be used sparingly.
  • Avoid using the bathroom after a thin FF, especially after lunch. She has invariably been using the two-finger technique to prevent the grated carrot salad she had for lunch from making thigh contact. Similarly if random foodstuffs go missing from the communal fridge, particularly items that no-one in their right mind would pilfer, like the two crabsticks and one soft cheese square which went AWOL last Tuesday, then look no further for your culprit.

To be continued…


  1. *laughs*

    07.19.04 – 3:16 pm

    Comment by cass — October 8, 2004 @ 8:18 pm

  2. A great guide to working in France! But, I must ask… why would ANYONE take Crabsticks to work?!

    07.20.04 – 4:05 pm

    Comment by gary — October 8, 2004 @ 8:19 pm

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