petite anglaise

May 16, 2007

pulse of hope

Filed under: mills & boon — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:38 am

In the unexpected letter the person formerly known as “Lover” sent me a couple of weeks ago, one phrase stood out, and I noted it on a green post-it and tacked it onto the wall of my “office” along with all the other incomprehensible scribblings I’ve been collecting. “A pulse of hope.” I liked his turn of phrase: it was one of the first things which drew me to him when we met, two years ago.

What Lover was hoping for will never come to pass, but this week his words lingered in my head and took on a new resonance, albeit in relation to someone else.

For the first time in months I spent a few days in the throes of the most deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness. I’m at a loss to describe what it was about my new friend that caused me to close my eyes in public places and try to conjure up a mental image of his face. To stop dead in my tracks and smile or blush at the memory of something he’d said. To put my index finger to my lips, which felt different somehow. The feeling came out of nowhere. Knocked me off kilter.

Hanging onto his back as his scooter tore along rue Piat, I inhaled the scent of his skin, his clothes. I sipped a Kir in Lou Pascalou, too busy looking at the laughter lines around his dark eyes, his thick eyelashes, the sprinkling of grey in his dark hair, to actually concentrate on what he was saying. Little things got to me: the way he parted my hair with his fingers when I tried to hide behind it. The way he laughed and accused me of playing the damsel in distress when I fumbled with the strap of my motorcycle helmet and mutely gestured to him to help me out.

At the end of every date I craved more. I knew – the way you just do sometimes – that I could fall for this man. Fall hard. And the knowledge left me in a constant and utterly incapacitating state of joyful-fearful panic. Was I reading the situation the way I should? Was I setting myself up for a resounding disappointment? I marvelled at my own ability to let myself be side-swiped all over again. To shrug off the cynicism I’ve been cowering behind for months on end.

To pulse with hope.

And then came the “you’re very special, and I love spending time with you, but I don’t think I have the ability to fall in love, and I’m horribly afraid of hurting you” speech. Which doesn’t sound any better in French, believe me.

Last night I lay wide awake by his side, biting my lip, listening to him talking in his sleep, wearing the t-shirt he’d so thoughtfully provided (and trying not to feel disappointed that I’d worn silk underwear for nothing). I felt the pulse of hope fading, fading, fading; I tasted metallic blood on my lips; I smarted with regret and disappointment.

And yet still I persist in believing I’d rather live through occasional periods of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness than settle for less.


  1. ‘And yet still I persist in believing I’d rather live through occasional periods of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness than settle for less.’

    brilliant, i competely agree- i gave up a very happy and stable relationship a year ago to be with worsehalf (my now love) for that feeling of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness. i will never regret it, even if he breaks my heart.

    Comment by Eliza — May 16, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

  2. Dear Petit,

    Your beautifully written text reminded me of this:

    “darling!because my blood can sing
    and dance(and does with each your least
    your any most very amazing now
    or here)let pitiless fear play host
    to every isn’t that’s under the spring
    -but if a look should april me,
    down isn’t’s own isn’t go ghostly they

    doubting can turn men’s see to stare
    their faith to how their joy to why
    their stride and breathing to limp and prove
    -but if a look should april me,
    some thousand million hundred more
    bright worlds than merely by doubting have
    darkly themselves unmade makes love

    armies(than hate itself and no
    meanness unsmaller)armies can
    immensely meet for centuries
    and(except nothing)nothing’s won
    -but if a look should april me
    for half a when,whatever is less
    alive than never begins to yes

    but if a look should april me
    (though such as perfect hope can feel
    only despair completely strikes
    forests of mind,mountains of soul)
    quite at the hugest which of his who
    death is killed dead. Hills jump with brooks:
    trees tumble out of twigs and sticks;”

    e.e. cummings

    (so take heart, I think. If you let enough looks to “April you”, you will eventually find someone to “April” you back).

    Comment by Danny — May 16, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

  3. ‘…than settle for less’

    Amen, sister.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — May 16, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  4. “I persist in believing I’d rather live through occasional periods of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness than settle for less.”

    And I think you are right. I’ve regretted missed opportunities, not those taken. One can be too clever.

    Comment by John Norris — May 16, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  5. I’d just like to thank each and every male who has shown up on my gmail chat today with variations of the theme “I would have happily serviced you”.

    I needed to smile.

    Comment by petite — May 16, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

  6. People fall in love when they least expect it…

    In any case, life is a journey and you have to enjoy it. You have to take risks, and it’s always better to have loved and lost rather than to have never loved at all.

    I am a walking cliché today…I apologise.

    One more; people regret what they didn’t do, not what they did.

    Have I clichéd you out yet? :-)

    Comment by Princesse Ecossaise — May 16, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  7. You know I never expected to find my ‘her’. Then she ran over me like a train. Never a moments doubt since. And I’ve plenty of standing on the edge.
    Nice post. Thanks for keeping it true.

    Comment by meredic — May 16, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  8. To reach the peaks, you also have to climb through the valleys. Too many of us settle for the lower slopes – you are brave to take the risks.
    Bonne chance, p’tite.

    Comment by Moses — May 16, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  9. Don’t let go of that hope.

    I’ve also had a week where I just needed to smile. The hope that I’m desperately clinging onto is the only thing that keeps me going.

    Still, like you, “I’d rather live through occasional periods of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness than settle for less”.

    Comment by Sparkle — May 16, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

  10. Women.

    Comment by Woody — May 16, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

  11. The silk underwear will live to slag another soir. As will you…

    But are we sure that this contender has left the ring?

    Comment by Le Meg — May 16, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  12. I recommend a good dose of lying on your bed and listening to some thoroughly happily sad Emo. Do they have Emo in France? L’Emo?

    Anyway, you know what I mean. Like Coldplay’s “See you Soon” or something. Contentedly wallowsome. Just the ticket. Well, for a little while anyway. Chin up! :)

    Comment by inspiredbycoffee — May 16, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  13. ps if you look at that smiley from the wrong angle, it’s a bit creepy. no? I don’t intend it to be creepy. Just smiley.

    Comment by inspiredbycoffee — May 16, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  14. Well Meg, I’d say if he hadn’t before, he probably has now!

    Comment by petite — May 16, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

  15. I got a very similar speech 14 years ago.

    He and I have been married 11 years and are expecting a daughter in a few weeks.

    Sometimes “no” means “I’m scared.” I hope it works out for you.

    Comment by La Rêveuse — May 16, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  16. First you tell us that he’s going grey, then “I lay wide awake by his side… I smarted with … disappointment”
    How to destroy a man’s reputation!
    Mind you, if he owns a scooter….

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — May 16, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

  17. Hi PA,
    I didnt even get the speech last time! I just got some garbled text about being busy for the next two months and then nothing! How rude! This came a day after he had announced to some mutual friends that we were seeing each other. I think I may have freaked him out by letting him see me in full domestic goddess mode cooking breakfast and fussing! But hey I cant expect people to leave my house hungry and with no breakfast! Thats not hospitable! Im still not finished smarting if i’m honest, the thing is that years of experience has taught me that the “getting over it” stage WILL happen eventually and that you are right in the statement:

    “And yet still I persist in believing I’d rather live through occasional periods of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness than settle for less.”

    P.S I seem to have missed a blog! Where is the reference to the latest love interest and lovers letter?!!

    Comment by Maz — May 16, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  18. You’ve got to have the butterflies, life’s nothing without them.

    So, what was it that Lover said that stuck out? Was he missing the butterflies?

    Comment by Susie — May 16, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

  19. Hmmm. I guess I’m one who doesn’t feel hopeful for you and that you are setting yourself up for more pain and disillusionment. When a man says he can’t fall in love and all the rest, believe him. Some great sex won’t change that if he is like most men. That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.

    Comment by Linda — May 16, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

  20. Lover = the guy I was seeing from my blog from May 2005 to March 2006. And he, er, wanted me to consider going back to him.

    His phrase, because I probably wasn’t clear enough, was “pulse of hope”.

    Which I shamelessly recycled.

    Comment by petite — May 16, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

  21. Beautifully written? I think it sounds more like a 14-year old girl writing.

    Comment by nobby — May 16, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  22. Not trying to be a downer, but; The possibility of falling in love, with all its uncertainties, is still far better than having fallen out of love, attempting to pick up the pieces, and then trying to fall in love all over again with the same person………..This is what I am struggling with, and wondering if this person that I have shared my life with for over 20 years will ever resonate to me as she has done in the past.

    I would give a lot to feel what you are feeling right now, or even what he is feeling. My pulse of hope is simply far to erratic and uncertain these days.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — May 16, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  23. Maybe these things flush out the inner fourteen year old?!

    Comment by petite — May 16, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

  24. so beautifully written. you are such a talented writer. love will come when you least expect it. but until the meantime, enjoy…

    Comment by Delphine — May 16, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  25. I don’t understand. If there was no possiblity for the relationship to go further then why didn’t you just go home rather than spend the night.

    As a man am I not getting in touch with my feminine side or what?

    Comment by rocket — May 16, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  26. And is there a real problem with this issue of a guy being honest? Really! [sighs in exasparation] We blokes can’t win either way can we?

    Was the main disappointment being that you didn’t “hop on”? And are you aching for “release” or affection with this bit of candy?

    Comment by JNH — May 16, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  27. “Maybe these things flush out the inner fourteen year old?”

    Pimples included? ;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — May 16, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  28. About his speech – ouch!!! Why do men have to pad out bad news with niceyties(sp). What is with that?? It is almost like he delivered a bad news sandwich. The bread being the ‘you are special and I don’t want to hurt you’ and the filling, the important bit being the “I don’t have the ability to fall in love”. Men!!! (No it is not that time of the month)

    Comment by ollie — May 16, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

  29. Ah, the bitter dilemma of choosing between “occasional periods of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness” or settle at last with a long stable relationship without that spark.

    Until now, I’ve always chosen to refuse settle for less, even when it meant breaking a relationship who was not fulfilling, even when it meant a divorce, even when it meant getting custody of my daughter and becoming a under 30 divorced dad, even when it meant splitting after a beautiful try to build a “recomposed” family, even…

    And now, I’m 31, my daughter is 5, and I’m alone again, as I’ve been too many times these last years. And I ask myself, as I’ve already done too many times
    if I should settle for less, if those wonderful “occasional periods of deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness” (I love that way of describing them, petite) compensate for all those lonely evenings at home while my daughter sleeps in the next room.

    For now, I still think that I won’t settle for less… but each depressing evening alone with my TV and computer push the limits of my resolution.

    Comment by LostInBrittany — May 16, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  30. Petite,

    Ignore such harsh comments. Your writing is beautifully crafted and not in the least reminiscent of adolescent angst.

    Your words clearly brought back to me how I felt in those first days of my relationship with my husband. We just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. There is nothing better. Hold out for it.


    Comment by Kaycie — May 16, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

  31. oh to be 14 again!!

    ah, pulse of hope, yes get it now. Me being a tad slow, nothing to do with your literary skills.

    Comment by Susie — May 16, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

  32. You brought tears to my eyes. I had that same speech some while ago, along with the “it’s not your fault, it’s mine” part, complete with the “let’s stay friends; you’re too special for me to lose” lie… Only to find out that he has been giving a good friend of mine another speech, the “it’s better that noone finds out about us, let’s keep it a secret” for the last year and a half.

    Comment by neraidoula — May 16, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

  33. ‘The pulse of hope’: friend or foe? Sometimes it keeps alive the things that need it most; sometimes it vainly attempts to resuscitate the long-gone. The trick is to be able to differentiate between the two.

    I certainly haven’t learned how yet.

    But I have noticed that the things you want most only appear when you stop looking for them – I haven’t learned how to do that yet either.

    Don’t give up hope, Petite!

    Comment by hopeoverexperience — May 16, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  34. This will cook your self esteem like a fried egg. Boot him out. He doesn’t deserve what he doesn’t appreciate. How patronising! Tell him to shove his T-shirt. Be yourself again.

    He is not born yesterday and wants to make sure you don’t make a resentful stink on your blog.

    :0) he he make a list of all his awful habits and see what happens.

    Comment by fjl — May 16, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  35. Suite a previous comment, I’d like to point out that there a heck of alot more fishes in the sea…lol… especially where you are. Sometimes it does them good to know it. But if that awe isn’t there fore you with him, don’t hope. Wait till you’re loved properly again by someone else.

    It’s not up to him to comfort you for the fact that he doesn’t love you….that’ll be soul destroying! He shouldn’t be doing it.

    Comment by fjl — May 16, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  36. I would be extremely wary of “Lover” wanting to rekindle something relegated to the past…I’d think (and this is just me) that he had, shall we say, “pecuniary motives”…knowing how much of a success you’ll be when the book comes out!

    I wouldn’t give him the time of day.

    I loved reading this post. :)

    Comment by Karma — May 16, 2007 @ 7:27 pm

  37. This was a very sad post.

    “Inability to fall in love” sounds like a crock of shit. To quote my sister, “guys are stupid”

    Comment by Misplaced — May 16, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

  38. Lover wants to get back with you?!

    I’m lost, is the man who said he can’t fall in love Lover or is he someone else?

    Don’t get back with Lover :-( he was mean

    Comment by Princesse Ecossaise — May 16, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

  39. this is the eternal ‘it’s not you, and I don’t think it sounds good. It must be devastating to think of that “pulse of hope” fading, but you deserve but. Still enjoy while it last, “kissing the joy as it flies” as Keats said, this post has made us all very poetic. Good luck Petite, you’re further on than I am anyway, recent love life or lack of it is becoming very depressing and meetic makes me want to jump off the roof !

    Comment by Kate — May 16, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  40. sorry I meant “deserve better”, tired and ready for a long weekend, hurrah !

    Comment by Kate — May 16, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  41. I have not the slightest intention of getting back with Lover (although I do not consider him mean, nor his motives pecuniary!) and in the case above, there was more information which I’m not sharing, because it’s not mine to share.

    Let’s just say that if I’m going to fixate on older men – and this is clearly Hugh Laurie‘s fault – then I’ll have to accept that there is a lot of baggage to handle.

    Comment by petite — May 16, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  42. Hugh Laurie?
    Cor blimey

    Comment by Flighty — May 16, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

  43. (In reply to those above, not so much Petite’s lovely words, and in no way intended to undermine those above’s life decisions:you were there, not me)- but this feeling of jittery jumblyness, it fades, and fades every time. It’s beautiful, and magical, and it’s also (sadly not even cynically, but biologically provenly) a lot down to hormones. Falling in love is a lot more than a honeymoon period, it’s about what happens when the fairy dust wears off. Talking to my mother about her 25 year marriage, she dispairs of (mostly women)’refusing to settle for second best’, because no human is perfect:does ‘best’ really exist? I fell in love properly (painfully) for the first time, 18 months ago. I say painfully, because it’s not perfect, and I say love, because it is. In the words of my mother “second best- it’s not perfect, but it’s given me the best moments of my life. And that’s all I could ever wish for”.

    Comment by daringpeach — May 16, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  44. I am not really concerned about whether this was written by the inner 14 year old or not, but I thoroughly enjoyed this post. It is probably just as well that you are not sharing all the details with us. If you did, I imagine no-one would be willing to go out with you at all. With all those magazine and newspaper articles, plus the item on TV, you presumably are recognised quite often.

    Comment by Pierre L — May 16, 2007 @ 8:36 pm

  45. Ah…fixating on older men. That’s different. ;-)

    Comment by fjl — May 16, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

  46. He is water under the bridge, Petite. It’s time to move on.

    Comment by Jean-Luc Picard — May 16, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

  47. Sometimes getting the cart behind the horse works better Petite. Why would you sleep with a guy in a dead end situation? Surely it’s better to wait until there’s something there besides hormones—or maybe I am just horribly old fashioned. Personally, I think my “ahem–company” is too valuable and wonderful to waste on a window shopper.

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think you’re a bit insane in the way you go looking for love. Sex doesn’t make someone love you, but love and commitment sure make sex better. I think sex without love is just mutual masturbation.

    Comment by Sparrow — May 16, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

  48. Isn’t it a sweet feeling to know you really have moved on from someone who once broke your heart. And even sweeter to be able to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ when they come knocking on your door again. Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold, although of course I shouldn’t really presume that this post is, in part, a sort of two fingered salute to the former lover.

    Comment by nikki — May 16, 2007 @ 9:08 pm

  49. Why I stayed over, after our chat, and fourth very nice date, has more to do with logistics than anything else. I know sparks don’t last, but I do need to have them, in the beginning, and, well, for the rest of my reasoning on this subject, you’ll have to wait for the book!

    Comment by petite — May 16, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

  50. The writer in you should be glad that you are living all you can.

    Comment by Lost in France — May 16, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  51. What a shame! I’d say it’s his loss!!

    Comment by Kuukie — May 16, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  52. Well, I think you’ve got a lot to offer: smart, pretty, witty etc. If he can’t see that, then he’s clueless, and clueless people are usually crap in bed. (“what’s this ‘foreplay’ that everyone keeps talking about?”)

    Anyway, you’re not just looking for sex, otherwise you could just open the window and yell “the pooty store is open!”.

    Europeans fence with endless parrying, attacks, and feigns. In Kendo, by contrast, they wait for the perfect moment, then strike with all their might. I think, at heart, you are a samurai ;)

    Comment by homeimprovementninja — May 16, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  53. well, I did find myself composing this post in my head in the early hours of the morning… At the risk of sounding pretentious, I can’t live anything interesting, funny or intense without thinking about how to write it.

    Comment by petite — May 16, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  54. As I tell my friends often: boys smell. Unfortunately we can’t live without them

    Keep looking for those butterflies, I’m starting to wonder if I should.

    Comment by becca — May 16, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

  55. Re #53. Is this what make a good writer, I wonder? I remember reading in another blog about someone who was having painful things done in a hospital bed and she recorded every detail of the room and its contents so she could write about it a day or so later.
    It certainly make the sort of post that I enjoy reading here, and the reason why I return day after day.

    Comment by Pierre L — May 16, 2007 @ 10:29 pm

  56. Thats because you are a true writer Petite! I would like to say how much I enjoyed todays post, it has given me some slight peace over a similar experience and I thank you for that. Only you know the depth of your break with lover and your reasons for not giving it another go at this time. I must say that I have a huge temptation to say to lover “SEE!!! We knew it would be your loss!!” but I wont hehe! P.S If he is reading this – it isnt a personal dig honest. I think what he did was brave and surely better to contact you than have regrets about not doing so. I’m not sure I would have had the bottle and then I would never know.
    Look forward to your book.

    Comment by Maz — May 16, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

  57. have you thought about getting a dog?

    Comment by lee — May 16, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  58. I believe Lover is neither mean nor financially motivated. Rather that life and emotions are strange…
    Comment #49 shows a new Petite tactic: “I did this, I did that. To find out more you need to buy the book…” ;)

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — May 16, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

  59. Oh petite,,,this should so scratch him off any potentially potential list. You should not settle. You are far too talented, beautiful, interesting, funny, loving, caring, and maybe someday, very well off. Set your sights high on love m’lady. Your talk of riding with him reminded me for a moment of Amelie. I think you should marry someone from Brazil. I have no idea. I don’t even know anyone from Brazil, nor have I traveled there. Just seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do! Fall in love with a tall, dark, handsome Brazilian. Yum.

    Comment by beaunejewels — May 16, 2007 @ 11:35 pm

  60. Those words are never nice to hear in any language. Though I imagine they sound prettier in French than hearing them in German. Or Slovak. Not that those are not lovely languages in their own right. Just a bit gutteral is all…

    Comment by Jelly — May 16, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

  61. Me Too. You made me cry, in a good way. I truly enjoy your writing, and have been slowly plodding thorugh your archives when I have a spare moment to dig in. I’m enjoying “getting to know you,” and look forward to your book.

    Comment by Lana Wood — May 16, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

  62. settle for less, not now but what about when we turn 64?

    Comment by est — May 16, 2007 @ 11:49 pm

  63. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I can’t live anything interesting, funny or intense without thinking about how to write it.

    I want to know before you had the blog did you always feel that way? That you had to just write about every intense emotion you felt ?

    I doubt it…
    It is probably just coincidental.

    Comment by not a blog — May 16, 2007 @ 11:56 pm

  64. Petite,”I know sparks don’t last” you say. That’s no doubt true for many, or even most – but definitely not for all of us. I am now back with the love of my life, after over 30 years without any contact, because for me the spark didn’t die. I’m not proud of having caused the break-up of two fairly happy and long-lasting marriages, but eventually I made the decision to look for her because the strain of trying to live with a ‘second-best’ became too much. When I found her, she felt the same, but then I’d been intuitively certain that she would. The really hard part is recognizing that ‘eternal spark’ when it comes along, before screwing things up, because at the beginning it doesn’t necessarily seem any different to the many ‘ephemeral sparks’ that we all live through. I recognized it too late, but a year or two with ‘the one’ is worth more than a lifetime with a ‘second-best’, for those of us who are afflicted by the ‘eternal spark syndrome’. Good luck.

    Comment by Scotsman — May 17, 2007 @ 1:13 am

  65. “I’m horribly afraid of hurting you”. Interesting line. Don’t you get to say if you want to risk being hurt?

    It is interesting how that feeling of “deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness” is so scary, and we know can lead to so much pain, yet we long for it inspite of it all. Even afterwards when our heart has been broken, it was still worth it for that feeling for a little while.

    Comment by grayarea — May 17, 2007 @ 1:16 am

  66. Petite – my heart bleeds! What’s wrong with the bloke; can’t he see you are utterly gorgeous and the one for him? If not – punch him on the lip. Just so that yours didn’t bleed in vain!

    Comment by teeweewonders — May 17, 2007 @ 1:37 am

  67. Petite, I think you’re so sweet and wonderful and human. I love every one of your postings, but it’s ones like these that bring out the 14-year-old in 31-year-old me. To paraphrase and agree with you, it feels good to be alive, crackling with the occasional electricity, however short-lived.

    ps oh yeah, and I think you’re such an awesome mom.

    Comment by amy — May 17, 2007 @ 2:51 am

  68. Ah, well. Better sooner than later, I say. I know it sucks, but at least he’s honest! Truth is (and another commenter already said it). His loss.

    Comment by Susan — May 17, 2007 @ 3:29 am

  69. Bravo Petite, bravo! An engrossing emotional rollercoaster of a post.

    I applaud your attitude also. Bonne chance! :)

    Comment by bonkers — May 17, 2007 @ 4:20 am

  70. “Well Meg, I’d say if he hadn’t before, he probably has now!” Hmm, so sad/mean new lover is a visitor to your blog. A commenter, too?

    But. I am sorry it didn’t work out. Been there…

    Comment by Molly — May 17, 2007 @ 7:49 am

  71. how weird and awful it must be to have your relationships disected so. I know you put them out there, but stil…..Aren’t you afraid that some fleeting thought/feeling you touch on in a post may have a negative effect on your relationship, potential or otherwise? You know how you (and by you I mean me and all girls really) get at the beginning stages of just starting to ‘see’ someone, you read every little look, agonise over what to wear on dates, wish you said funny witty things you hadn’t and could take back the awkward mundane things you had. Us girls normally get to hide ‘the crazy’ at least until he lets his ‘crazy’ out too (for we all are a little bit cookoo)! very brave…

    Comment by Susie — May 17, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

  72. Actually, now I think about it, my last French boyfriend said the same thing to me; “I’m afraid I hurt you”.

    He wasn’t worried about ME hurting HIM, he knew I liked him more than he liked me and I wish I’d never bothered now. Because he did hurt me, and those tingles at the beginning were only felt by me.

    In my case it certainly wasn’t worth it.

    Men eh?! What is wrong with them? Why are they always scared of love and comitment?


    Comment by Princesse Ecossaise — May 17, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

  73. How did you KNOW!???!?! Your post manages to eloquently collate my recent anguish, or ‘will-be anguish’ (i just know…yet that damned pulse of hope…).

    Top notch writing again Petite. To je škoda.


    Comment by Nomes — May 17, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

  74. Yikes. All this time I should have been hiding my “crazy”?

    No wonder my love life is such a mess!


    Comment by petite — May 17, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  75. Hi Petite,

    Lovely post. I have no answers but a couple of questions: Where do you meet men? Is Paris a good place to socialise? I’m in Dublin (Ireland) and find pubs/drinking dominate social life here. I’m not a big drinker so I’m considering a change of scene.

    Comment by Ebay Queen — May 17, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

  76. “I’m afraid I hurt you”.
    I’ve been told that by a french boyfriend. And it hurt so much… 9 months later, the very same guy had said “I love you” to me. But I had learned to know him better and didn’t care anymore. Was that the reason of his sudden urge to commit? By the next (british) boyfriend, I tried to pretend that I didn’t care, although this time I undoubtedly felt this “most deliciously terrifying jittery tingly melty dizzy hopefulness”. It only made things worse, his being so terribly insecure and not able to make the move. Nothing happened and 1 year later, I still regret it.
    Life is so strange and illogical. Don’t believe in recipes!
    I love the way you’re expressing this simple truth. This is a great post.

    Comment by reinette — May 17, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  77. I’m confused too: last night you hooked up with a French man; not Lover, right? And this French guy gave you the familiar “I can’t fal lin love with you” speech?

    I’m sorry, I need to get your love life at least half straight in my mind… ;)

    Comment by Kali — May 17, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

  78. As a former single parent of a four-year-old girl I can empathise with you. It is not easy dating/falling in love after you have children. Sorry to resort to cliche, but it is better to have loved and lost than not have loved at all. I remember crying on my friend’s shoulder at work after one man whom I had been on one date with told me (by email) that he didn’t find me attractive. I didn’t even particularly like the guy, but it was the humilation of rejection.

    Comment by Helen — May 17, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  79. I received a similar speech from my (now) husband on our fifth date. Except it also included the phrase, “You see, I really think (ex’s name) is who I’m meant to marry.” We split the next day, he went back to work things out with his ex, and one cool month later he left her again. I welcomed him back happily. Six years later, the sparks are still happily sparking and I continue to be amazed that the person I like best of anyone I’ve ever met feels the same about me.

    Which is not to say that I think this man could be the love of your life – rather, life is unpredictable (which you know QUITE well) and love can sock you in the mouth when you least expect it.

    Comment by carrie — May 17, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  80. Relieved you don’t want to get back with Lover- like some other posters it made me rather suspicious, you being quite the celebrity and all now (not that it wasn’t obvious he would eventually see the error of his ways)!

    Where’s the best place to buy underwear in Paris by the by?

    Comment by destinationmetz — May 17, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  81. I must admit that your lifestyle is harldy an incentive for us who slog at a marriage with little excitement bar the odd dinner and reliable shag. Every other weekend off, holidays alone, nights out with no kids to wake up to, or even waking up in another’s bed? It’s a good life Petite ‘pulse of hope’ chat or not.

    Comment by Welsh Cake — May 17, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

  82. It just occurs to me… I assume you are actually talking about about event that happened weeks or months ago, and are already discussed in that second draft you finished last week. So speculating about recovery actions is fun but futile… But this is what makes this blog interesting.

    Comment by Pierre L — May 17, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  83. Hi Petite,

    I am in the same situation at the moment… I know that it wll bring more pain than joy but I just can’t stop…

    Comment by Mel — May 17, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

  84. well, I fell in love with an older man, head over heels totally in awe and was inspired to higher planes of love and then bam, all of a sudden he has decided he is too old, discovered an illness that is treatable but does not want to, from a commitment, I want to marry you he said to me, it’s now wait and see what the dr says, maybe, maybe not….. all I know is the agony of your heart breaking into millions of pieces is damn hard to accept, and waiting for maybe….for how long must a person put your life on hold????
    So maybe be selective about the older man…. Petite

    Comment by suzanne — May 17, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  85. Hugh Laurie? YUMMY! I love that man and try to watch “House” religiously but never do…ha ha! :)

    Comment by Karma — May 17, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  86. Well if you got some good sex out of it and had some fun then what is the problem. Some of your commenters are weird. Or is it just me? I cannot really see you not having a meaningful relationship petite but you obviously are not truly, really in your heart ready for it. I mean seriously, look at your life. Where would you put a man? When you are ready you will know it and are he will come.

    Comment by Jules — May 17, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  87. Petite – I am the same. I love the butterfliesand the fear/excitement that is brought on by the chance of a possibility even though my head tells my heart it is most probably fruitless. I just can’ help myself and I end up being woud up like a coiled spring for days. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world and would rather feel like this time and time again then never feel it at all.

    Comment by Catkin — May 17, 2007 @ 9:48 pm

  88. “I’m horribly afraid of hurting you”…? Sounds a bit like projective reversal to me.

    Comment by Amanda — May 17, 2007 @ 10:25 pm

  89. Cynicism vs. Regret and Disappointment

    The more I think about it, the harder the choice becomes. But of course, without the risk of regret and disappointment, there wouldn’t ever be the winks of the possibility of a happier life. You’re right — everyone has to “persist in believing” they’d rather live through those fleeting moments of hope and crash occasionally than never having the opportunities in the first place.

    You should be so glad to have had the chance (after all, not everyone of us is so lucky!).

    Ah, and like so many others say, your writing is absolutely beautiful. Your perspective illuminates my own situations.


    Comment by Dan — May 17, 2007 @ 10:39 pm

  90. Ebay Queen, I have single friends who go speed dating and it has been very successful for one of them as she has found her perfect partner. Although the others haven’t been so successful they really enjoy the experience. I must say that I don’t think it would be my cup of tea as I think I would find it unnatural and almost as if I was on trial but it might be something worth trying for you.

    I thought at this point that I would like to add a poem which I rather like, unfortunately I can’t claim it as my own. It is by Ogden Nash.

    Here is a dream.
    It is my dream,
    My own dream,
    I dreamt it.
    I dreamt that my hair was kempt,
    Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.

    Comment by Lydia — May 17, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

  91. Don’t worry, silk undies are never for nothing!
    They’re for you! You’ll feel better, more confident, at least, I always do…

    And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the “I don’t want a girlfriend” or “I can’t fall in love” right before they had a change of heart.

    Good luck!

    Comment by Robyn — May 18, 2007 @ 12:33 am

  92. *sniff* *sniffe* It’s alright, I’ll be better in a minute. deep breath

    you should not settle for less, but neither do you want to chase after a mine that’s closed, do you?

    Comment by lady macleod — May 18, 2007 @ 2:12 am

  93. ‘Retail therapy in the supermarket of love’? Erm, bought some new toys perhaps? At least a dildo doesn’t do speeches. Then again, it doesn’t do love either.

    Comment by Ariel — May 18, 2007 @ 2:56 am

  94. “I don’t think I have the ability to fall in love”.

    What a cheek — such arrogance! What makes him feel that you are after his ‘love’ in the first place? Did you say you wanted him to fall in love with you? Did he know that it is what you are looking for — and are you?
    It sounds like such a line — a ‘get-out’ cause. I’d be wary of men who utter such statements. Don’t waste your time on him, unless it is a short encounter you are after (and there is a time for such things).

    p.s. I still have not given up on you and Mr Frog! But then, I am fascinated with Mr Frog — you mention him often but we know so very little about him. You — very rightly — keep his secrets but it has the effect (on me) of wanting to know more.

    Comment by Scottie — May 18, 2007 @ 3:18 am

  95. Hello Petite,

    While opinions and “lovers tales” form others can be little bits of information that we may or may not take to heart, only you can steer your own life course. Similar relationship situations are just that, merely similar and only the two people involved in a relationship (on any level) know the truths good and bad.

    Because life is all about choices and consequences, I’ve had a long held belief that there are really no “mistakes” just good choices and bad ones. If we’re smart we learn from what we deem to be the bad ones and simply try not to make them again. My (albeit a bit corny) philosophy is this…Every person is a diamond. Every choice you make in your life is a new facet cut away from the raw stone. Since all of the choices you make effect your overall life experience they directly make up who you are and how you see and experience the rest of the world. The problem is when we begin to make the same cut over and over again and essentially grind our diamond down in one place, or are too afraid to make any new cuts at all. From what I can see you are a brilliant diamond petite, so go ahead and shine and decide for yourself when and where that next experience will add to the sparkle.

    Comment by California Reader — May 18, 2007 @ 3:25 am

  96. Settle for less. An interesting phrase. One that I hear most often used by women (sometimes also men) who are not in a stable relationship, who would rather chase the ellusive; who are under the power of “will he or won’t he call?” And there is also the perpetuatual lie that for every person, there is “the one.” We make it all up and we can choose to be happy or we can choose to live chasing a dream. Living in a stable, warm, loving, happy relationship certainly does not feel like “settling for less.” It feels more like “settling for more,” more than just the jitters. It feels like the real thing, real life.

    Comment by Mary — May 18, 2007 @ 3:45 am

  97. nobody can foretell his destiny. it is the same to love or marriage. it is best to take the world as you find it, isn’t it?
    hope you can have a life full of sunshine.
    btw: i am one of your faithfull readers from China.

    Comment by scottie — May 18, 2007 @ 5:40 am

  98. It’s the Hugh Laurie bit that’s troubling me. He’s Bertie Wooster/Lieutenant George in Blackadder and no amount of fake Merican and grumpiness will change that. I prescribe a course of Blackadder re-runs to save you from your unfortunate fixation and unsuitable older men.

    Comment by Paola — May 18, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  99. Petite,
    it’s cliched but, you’ll find someone when you least expect it (hopefully soon). Relax and “Live the Dream” while you still can. Glad the retail therapy helped.

    Stay true to yourself. Can’t wait for the book!

    Comment by Sodom&Gomorrah — May 18, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  100. Actually, it’s the reference to Hugh Laurie as an older man that gets me. I just cannot see him as such, even if he is. I keep thinking he must grow up sometime.

    Comment by John Norris — May 18, 2007 @ 1:39 pm

  101. I’m just wondering if the blind date mentioned in an earlier post, and the man with the inability to fall in love in this post are one and the same? I only ask because both posts make some kind of scooter/motorcycle reference (in the previous post it was a helmet left at a table). You’ve mentioned Mr Frog has a scooter too I think. Do you have a thing for men on bikes in addition to one about older men ;)?

    Sorry …it’s Friday, I’m bored. Anything to avoid the piece of work I’m actually meant to be doing.

    Comment by nikki — May 18, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

  102. Undies: Anamai, 17 rue du Jour, 75001. Can’t find a website, it’s just one boutique and a lovely lady called Aurélie who makes very simple silk undies with a black ruffle and bow in some really gorgeous colours.

    (And they are reassuringly expensive.)

    I’m definitely a real bobo now, wearing my fancy pants under scruffy jeans while drinking a two euro beer Aux Folies…

    Comment by petite — May 18, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

  103. So everyone keeps saying you’ll meet “the one” when you least expect it. I’ve stopped expecting but still nothing and I’ve just turned 40. Why do the exes – the ones we’d quite happily have married if they had been agreeable – always come back when you’ve moved on? It’s all so confusing. I’m in love with a man who is giving me mixed signals, I feel this intense connection. How do we know if these things are real or just our imagination? As I said, I’m confused. Congrats to the poster who’s with the one she likes more than all others – love hearing such stories.

    Comment by Alice — May 18, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

  104. Handmade silk underwear *groan* now what did you have to go and post a thing like that for.
    On a positve note I reckon you could make two or three Hugh Lauries out of me :)
    And I am unsuitably old.

    Comment by meredic — May 18, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  105. Here’s a treat for you – Hugh Laurie as you might never imagine him. Interesting article too.

    Comment by john — May 18, 2007 @ 6:00 pm

  106. 19.05.2007

    Dear Petite,

    Of course, my way of perceiving your situation is not necessarily the right one, nevertheless I dare to give an advice. Remaining suspended between failure and hope may have some exciting and even enriching aspects, it’s good for a very short while. In the long run it would destroy you as well as a serious illness. Nobody wins when playing “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”. You must accept that the game is over. Go back to the safe side, you know where it is. Napoléon used to say : “En amour, la victoire c’est la fuite”. It’s wise, it may be applied to many entangled love affairs.

    Tadpole needs you, so do we.

    Yours Sincerely,


    PS. As a frog trying to use your beautiful language, I certainly make mistakes or use the wrong terms. You may correct them, and even rewrite the text.

    Comment by Daniel — May 19, 2007 @ 11:46 am

  107. I struggle with the idea of settling for less. I have come to expect even in the throes of that dizzying joy of falling in love that eventually it will fade. I want to believe that some love is destined to last, but I’m just not sure.

    I am impressed with your perserverance and optimism. Sometimes I think the idea of falling in love, or being in love can almost be as exciting and lovely as the real thing.

    I once heard someone say that the only time we are truly happy is when we are thinking about being happy.

    “If we allow
    the realities of life
    to steal our imagination,
    we might find ourselves
    living in a world
    without dreams”
    -Nan Whitcomb

    Comment by Camille — May 19, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

  108. PS — let’s be clear about the difference between “romance” and “love.” What fades is romance; what stays and grows is love. I liked what the french guy said — translation: “In love, escape is the victory.”

    Comment by Mary — May 19, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

  109. In the words of another poster a couple of months ago
    you may have got over Jim but we still haven’t.Come back Jim !

    Comment by Carol — May 19, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

  110. There is nerds and dancers. The dancers are fun to be with (at least for a while), the nerds are the ones that take care of you when life is no longer pink…
    Most of you are confusing romance, butterflies and drama with love…
    Love isn’t drama, it is feeling good with someone, and know that you both are looking in the same direction insteaf of in each others eyes…

    butterflies are temporary… love stays!

    Drama is NOT love… it is only what they made us believe was love…

    I’ve had my share of dancers, yes, they were fun, for a while… In the end I married a nerd, and boy, we are so happy… It is a CONSTANT…

    Give me a nerd anyday!
    PA, your lover sounds very much dancer. Run away from him as fast as you can… he will never give you and your daughter safety…


    Comment by photocat — May 20, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  111. Well if he reminded you of Hugh Laurie, who can blame you!

    Comment by Janet Spicer — May 20, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  112. 20.05.2007

    PS to comment 106. It’s my first contribution to your blog. I signed Daniel, but if I write in the future my name will be Daniel de Charente. There are so many Daniels ! Sorry

    Comment by Daniel de Charente — May 20, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

  113. I met her at my birthday party and I knew within a few minutes that this was woman with whom I wanted to live the rest of my life. I have no idea how that happened. None. I just knew. Spine-tingling, tummy turning, breath stopping. And thirty five years later she can still do all of that to me in a moment.

    I think we have spent ten thousand life times together. I think she sidled up to me in the primal soup and told me I had a lovely nucleus.

    But … it needs a head as well as a heart. Staying in love is hard work.

    Comment by stillinlove — May 20, 2007 @ 11:22 pm

  114. I’m confused. I thought Lover was English? Hence the appeal of being with a fellow countryman after having been with a French guy, no? Why is he talking to you in French? I guess all this will be better explained in your book. From other posts I don’t think I’m the only one to be confused.

    What happened in the beginning when you met Mr Frog? Were there not those dizzy, tingly feelings then?

    Its so easy when we are single to swear that we won’t settle for anything less and of course you shouldn’t “settle” but “settling” would also be accepting Lover’s emotionally confused behaviour and you are worth more than that. If he is having second thoughts then he needs to take some time to decide what exactly he wants. But you also need to decide what it is that you absolutely want from someone and not accept this half-in, half-out relationship, no matter how good a bit of sex may be from time to time.

    Settling for less, is settling for less than you want but first of all you need to establish what exactly it is that you want.

    Obviously we don’t have all the details so our advice is a little patchy but whatever the case, keep your chin up and trust your instincts.


    Comment by missK — May 22, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

  115. I see that I did cause some confusion here.

    “Lover” was English and recently wrote to me. I lifted a phrase from his letter to use as the title of this post, which is about meeting someone else.

    Comment by petite — May 22, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

  116. twitterpated:
    1)to be completely enamored with someone/something. 2) the flighty exciting feeling you get when you think about/see the object of your affection.
    3)the ever increasing acceleration of heartbeat and body temperature as a result of being engulfed amidst the exhilaration and joy of being/having a romantic entity in someone’s life.
    or (the best reference)
    4) the way birds and other animals act during mating season (as seen in Bambi – “The birds gettin all twitterpated,” said the owl.)

    Comment by Alice — May 23, 2007 @ 12:28 am

  117. Oh, and twunt is in there too..

    n. Useful, satisfying yet inoffensive combination of two very rude words which can safely be spoken in primmest and properest company.

    Comment by Alice — May 23, 2007 @ 12:31 am

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