petite anglaise

February 10, 2005

what a drague

Filed under: Uncategorized — petiteanglaiseparis @ 4:24 pm

In the interests of preparing female readers for the inevitable harrassment they will encounter if strolling around the capital unchaperoned (or chaperoned only by a furry leopard), here is petite’s rough guide to common French chat-up lines.

“Vous avez de beaux yeux…”

The French equivalent of “Do you come here often?”. Although it might sound like a charming compliment the first time you hear it, it doesn’t age well. After about the twentieth re-run I found myself hard pushed to even muster up enough enthusiasm to bother responding with a sarcastic “Ah bon?”. However my real problem with this well-worn line is that the sleazy dragueur types using it very rarely look you in the eye while saying it. I don’t think I’m suggesting that the line should be changed to “what a lovely cleavage you have there mademoiselle. ” But a little eye-contact would be nice.

“Vous êtes américaine?” [or “suédoise” or “anglaise”]

Wrongly or rightly the French male seems to have the impression that all American girls are easy. So this line is likely to be delivered with a ‘hopeful’ intonation. Being more or less blonde (depending largely on the frequency of my visits to the hairdresser) and apparently non-French looking, I have been asked all of the above time and time again. The best line of defence seems to be to pretend not to understand a word of French. Either they give up, or the motivated ones start practising their dreadful Ingleesh on you. Which is likely to be good for a laugh if nothing else. And puts the dragueur at a distinct disadvantage.

“Vous avez une cigarette?”

Careful! There is nothing more bitterly disappointing than a drop dead gorgeous gentlemen requesting a cigarette, only to turn tail in disgust when no “clope” is forthcoming. Often French people who ask you for a cigarette are looking for just that: it’s a perfectly acceptable thing to do in this country. Similarly “vous avez du feu?” can be a genuine request for a light, or the oldest chat up line in the book. A vous de juger.

“Vous êtes charmante”

Thank you kindly. What a pity that you, Monsieur, are old enough to be my grandad and fug ugly.


  1. i am very “french” looking(the nose) and had a good sense of where i was going all of the time while visiting this fall. i came to realise that my vulnerability came from sewing a tiny canadian flag to my bag. i didn’t realise that i would stand out so much with that on there. once i ripped it off i noticed the attention was a tad less frequent. just a tad. haha.

    Comment by mélanie — February 10, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

  2. I’m astonished at how often I get asked for cigarettes. Almost always by surly teenagers or drunks in the local park when walking my mutt – day or night. The weird thing is the look of disbelief when you say no, especially if you add “I don’t smoke”. So, I’m fairly convinced it’s not a chat-up line – unless of course I am downright irresistible to the discerning Old-Mutzig drinking toothless SDF. Or teenager. Not sure which is scarier.

    The Eeengleesh thing is a tad wearing after a while too. Virtually all my girls’ schoolmates rush up to call me Monsieur Rosbif in the playground. It’s nicer than what the winos call me, I suppose.

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — February 10, 2005 @ 4:52 pm

  3. My favourite was a guy who asked me how tall I was.
    I could have said “cinq pieds et dix pouces” but I don’t think he would have understood, and I wasn’t sure of the metric translation. So he proceeded to guess

    1m 75?
    1m 77?


    Comment by witho — February 10, 2005 @ 5:22 pm

  4. //My favourite was a guy who asked me how tall I was.//

    “Tall enough to give you a slap if you don’t leave me alone”…? ;-)

    Comment by Iain — February 10, 2005 @ 6:22 pm

  5. Oh my. You should’ve seen my Dad after an Italian geriatric shuffled up and asked him for a cigarette. :mad: It was like the worst thing anyone could do in his eyes. I was :shock: when I heard his reply to the poor old man.

    Comment by Helen — February 10, 2005 @ 6:38 pm

  6. Ah, but if that is your oeil in the picture, you DO have de beaux yeux!

    Comment by Bluegrass Mama — February 10, 2005 @ 7:40 pm

  7. Whatever happened to the old stand by, “If I told you that you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me?” :lol:

    Comment by Bob — February 10, 2005 @ 7:41 pm

  8. Hey – I fell for one of these “lines” over 12 years ago while on vacation here in Paris and walking along the Seine. I can report that I have been happily married to this “harrasser” for almost 11 years now and love him more and more each day!!! ahhhhhh :lol:

    Comment by Pat — February 10, 2005 @ 10:32 pm

  9. well, I can’t talk.

    I met Mr Frog on someone else’s blind date in a bar…

    The post is called ‘Kissing the Frog’ and it’s in here somewhere.

    Comment by petite — February 10, 2005 @ 11:06 pm

  10. Je t’accompagne ?

    Comment by Ria — February 10, 2005 @ 11:10 pm

  11. gggrrr

    Comment by petite — February 10, 2005 @ 11:51 pm

  12. I’m sorry, ladies, but I have a better story that is totally New York. My daughter had just graduated from her nice college in Minnesota (not St Olaf’s), and we were standing outside the Orpheum on Third Avenue just above 86th Street, waiting to see I don’t know what. It was drizzling, and we were sharing an umbrella. Tout d’un coup, a scrawny guy in a T and cargo shorts appeared between us. Addressing me, he asked, “You don’t mind if I wait with you, do you?” I might have taken pity on him, but his body language was madly Meganward. He shrugged and ran off, leaving me wondering about my – MY – failed manhood: ought I to have thrashed him to death (easily done, I expect) to punish his impudence? I am quite sure that that’s what a gentleman would have done a century ago, sans y pensant.

    On se demande: when was the last time you heard a guy in the street mentioning “nichons” to a proper French mlle?

    Comment by R J Keefe — February 11, 2005 @ 7:22 am

  13. I’ve heard “nichons” directed at me a couple times, but uh… well, I’m far from french in that department, alas.

    And I get asked for cigs fairly often as well, but it seems to be just as often girls as it is guys. however, I think it’s mainly just because I look young enough to not give them a lecture about how they can go buy their own cancer sticks (I don’t smoke anyway, but I think if you are under 30, you are more expected to smoke than not do so, which is rather disturbing).

    One guy decided to flirt with me by telling me about how he and his wife were in a restaurant one day when an american came in and wanted a table but there weren’t any left, so they let her sit with them. I guess this open generousity with americans was supposed to make be uh… be generous with him? (plus, doesn’t he realize the wife part just makes him even less appealing?)

    Other than that, I mostly get the “I adore your accent” comment (a comment with which I have a very love/hate relationship, because I despise my accent).

    Comment by kim — February 11, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

  14. The “drague” in Paris is still kinda light, u should experience walking in the streets of Casablanca ( where i live)… You could even considering a trip to Rio (to have your gender changed)

    Comment by Lady M — February 11, 2005 @ 5:30 pm

  15. How funny, and how true. I collected a new favourite French pick-up line just over a month ago, when a 40-something gentlemen stopped, stared at me, and then announced, “Madam – superb.”

    My husband and I have been trying to work out an English equivalent ever since. “Smashing, missus?” :?:

    Comment by juls — February 11, 2005 @ 6:44 pm

  16. To LadyM – must be why my DH was so successful with his “drague” – he is Moroccan!!! :lol::lol::lol:

    Comment by Pat — February 12, 2005 @ 9:34 am

  17. bloody security code. try again.

    1) pretend to be eg Russian and talk gobbledy-gook. Good unless nuisance turns out to be Russian or whatever.

    2) try getting older – that really works short of people with granny fetishes…

    Comment by grannyp — February 12, 2005 @ 1:52 pm

  18. Glad to see you are back grannyp! I kept nipping over to your place and wondering why Christmas was taking so long…

    Comment by petite — February 12, 2005 @ 3:36 pm

  19. Careful, Petite – or you’ll be getting return pictures of petite-filles to match delicious tadpole … but thanks. We try to please. And the pics have improved lately. PS One of the few merits of ageing is that Christmas, etc (mostly etcetera) CAN take a long time. It did.

    Comment by grannyp — February 13, 2005 @ 5:47 pm

  20. I lived in France for a while but it was many many years ago. I had forgotten the cigarette thing! I remember a few people who smoked 1 – 2 packs a day but never, ever bought their own.

    Comment by Karen — February 13, 2005 @ 10:43 pm

  21. The worst drague I have ever experienced was in Senegal. If you are a white girl and de surcroit french, you get about 10 marriage proposals a day, whatever you look like. And I’m only counting the serious ones.

    In Italy though, in Roma to be precise, it was pretty nice to be called Bella or Bellissima all day long in the streets, with a nice smile on top but not too pushy behaviours…

    As for New Zealand so far, I haven’t experienced anything close to drague in my last 3 years here so I cannot tell if it is because
    a/I’m already past my prime at 31
    b/ not their type
    c/ escorted most of the time by by my 6″11 tall boyfriend
    d/ as true anglo saxons they don’t drague :lol:

    Comment by Maurine au bout du monde — February 14, 2005 @ 5:01 am

  22. When I lived in Grenoble a few years ago a French bloke tried this line on me: “Tu es tres belle, j’aime les blondes aux yeux bleus.” I said “Well why don’t you go and find one then.” I have brown eyes…
    I think that was the same bloke who said he couldn’t pronounce my name so he would call me Christine instead…

    Comment by Teebee — February 21, 2005 @ 3:32 pm

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