petite anglaise

May 4, 2008


Filed under: mills & boon — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:06 pm

Choosing ‘writer’ from the drop down list of professions when I came to fill in my online dating profile was a decision I would come to regret. It seemed to bring out the very worst in my suitors. A couple of hundred extremely verbose, overwritten emails later and it’s no wonder I found The Boy’s one-line dig about my taste in TV so refreshing.

That makes a change from ‘j’ai cru voir un ange passer en regardant ton profil’ I thought to myself, enjoying the sensation of not feeling like I was going to throw up into my mouth, for once. I clicked through to my provocateur’s profile and took a look. There was a single black and white photo: short hair, six o’clock shadow. Either squinting into the sunlight or frowning. Or both.

I found his profile blurb amusing. Using the simple ‘j’aime/j’aime pas‘ format was not wildly original, but the things he professed to like were random and thoughtful enough to pique my interest. Among them were: penguins and otters; bananas flambéed with rum; raw scallops; curling; bad jokes; magic; history books; Desproges (plus several other writers I’d never heard of); bad weather when I’m warm indoors; sleeping; my apartment; living in Belleville…

I replied to his email, defending my taste in TV and noting that we appeared to be neighbours and ought to maybe meet for an apéro Aux Folies sometime. I had this vague idea that it would be nice to make a friend in my neighbourhood. Nothing more than that, because my head was elsewhere. Over the past few weeks I’d made obsessing about a frustratingly elusive man I’d met on the same dating site almost a full-time occupation. Going out to meet him, refusing to read the billboard-sized signs that he just saw me as a friend/drinking buddy, making excuses for his rebuttals (‘he’s damaged, he has issues, I’ll overcome them…’) and generally breaking every single rule of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’. (Another thing I can’t read without a little bit of bile creeping up my throat).

I finally set up a date with The Boy after a resounding rebuttal involving a fruitless sleepover. Time to diversify, I said to myself. And so I dug out The Boy’s MSN address and popped up on the screen of his work computer late one Wednesday afternoon.

Almost a year later, and a little over a month before we say ‘I do’ (or, to be more accurate, ‘oui‘) I’m struck by how true everything in his dating profile was. I’ve witnessed the bad jokes firsthand, adopted him an otter for Valentine’s day, inspected his bookshelves and marvelled at his ability to sleep through just about anything. It’s all true. Every last word.

So this week I shall be adding rum to the shopping list. It’s about time I tasted those bananas.


  1. A great post. I hope you are happily married forever, Petite and Boy.

    Comment by pierre l — May 4, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  2. What!? you still haven’t had a “bannane flambee”!?
    Well, if you like banana and rhum you can’t go wrong with it… even if you don’t like any of the ingredient, just looking at the all ceremonie (it almost feels like one!) can’t be bad either… so really, it is a win/win situation!

    bring on the rhum!

    apart from that I can’t believe
    a) you used a dating website
    b) it worked!

    I said a) because I dont know many people who use one, but hey why not, maybe I should look at that soon (aren’t you worried to meet some weirdos!?)

    Now, b)… and he was honest!? it was the real deal! well, I think you should marry him! ;)

    Have a good weekend (us in the UK got 3 days, must make you regret going to France ;)

    Comment by Bugs — May 4, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  3. It’s so sweet that despite everything that you have gone through since your blog’s first post (or perhaps despite it) that you have found your other half after all…..

    Congratulations Petite!

    Comment by Rebecca — May 4, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

  4. You don’t appear to give yourself much time between relationships and I wonder if that is wise. I did it myself years ago until I learnt that it wasn’t obligatory to have a ‘beau’ and time to regroup could be a good thing. You know best I’m sure.

    Comment by Pat — May 4, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

  5. Hhhhhh! Sharp intake of breath! The online dating site. Now that is something I know lots about, I’ve tried tacky, uDATE even tackier, Timesonline and Telegraph have a better class of time waster. No, I didn’t do well. For a start I’m far too honest and honesty isn’t a prominent feature of online daters. Most recently I fell hook, line and sinker for someone about 25 months ago, he was seperated from his wife. But once he’d reeled me in I discovered they were still living together. I still see him sometimes but it was all ruined because of the lies – which I abhor.

    Years ago when it was new and there weren’t that many PC owners it wasn’t bad, I dated a fascinating 1/2 Austrian 1/2 Uruguyan, tall, and darkly delicious. He was 20 yrs younger than me for a couple of years. We went inline skating together and he introduced me to world cinema. He asked me to move down to be with him but I realised I didn’t want to and so it came to an end. I’m quite proud that he told me I was a femme fatale……because I don’t think of myself that way.

    Now when a PC is so easy to come by, i.e., you can pick it up from the supermarket,and online dating is another word for screwing around I’ve more or less given up. One guy I met had a bright blue shirt to match his bright blue soft top car, we met for coffee on a fabulous sunny day but after about 30 mins he said, “I think you need someone more energetic than me” and we went our seperate ways……he may have had a sports car but I beat him off the mark and left him standing. hahaha

    I met my own French man, again probably 20 yrs younger than me but that didn’t get off to a good start because he wouldn’t tell me his last name; implying he was related to a very famous family who live in Paris. I think his name was Jean-Marc R(?). I tried to guess initially but I guessing games aren’t for me. So bye-bye.

    Well done you Petite for finding the Boy on line, it was obviously meant to be – two genuine people find love on line now that’s a story in itself!

    Angela x

    Comment by ookymooky — May 5, 2008 @ 12:10 am

  6. This is the first time for years (it seems) I’ve seen “pique” my interest spelled properly. This would have piqued my interest were I looking. (A friend of mine, recently single for a while reported getting lots of profile replies from gents professing to be “intelligant”).

    Here’s hoping it stays piqued!

    I haven’t visited much lately and you’ve not posted as often, but for some reason (perhaps my interest was piqued) one of your promotional things reverberates occasionally in the back of my mind… slides and a voice over. Someday I’d like to hear more.

    Comment by Eats Wombats — May 5, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  7. haha bananas sound good.

    but… curling?! Do you really mean that thing where men scrub ice manically with brushes?

    Cus I’ve never known Anyone that actually likes that. But, i guess, each to his own…

    Glad you seem relatively happy, anyway :)

    Comment by Sunny — May 5, 2008 @ 12:33 am

  8. If only we ALL could have such a nice “warning” as to how the boys will turn out!

    Comment by unbalanced reaction — May 5, 2008 @ 2:06 am

  9. Perhaps I should join a dating site in France. Heaven knows the ones in the U.S. are too dismal.

    You two are definitely an inspiration and He’s Just Not That Into You is a monstrosity, I agree ;)

    Comment by Anaïs — May 5, 2008 @ 2:26 am

  10. You’ll love them. Bananas Foster is so good, it’s scary.

    Comment by La Rêveuse — May 5, 2008 @ 3:10 am

  11. Hi

    I just wanted to drop you a quick note, as I bought your book at the bookstore in St Pancras station on friday afternoon just before catching my train to Paris Nord.

    One of many trips me and my significant frenchy other have been doing for nearly a year now.

    Last week Frenchy proposed to me. Along with the proposal came a sparkly ring with a real diamond in it. After falling off my chair, I picked myself up a accepted his proposal.

    We had made plans on the possibility of me moving over to Paris to be with him. Now that it is definate, I am filled with excitement and fear. Your book seemed to throw itself at me from the shelf. I started it on the train on friday and have finished it tonight. I just couldnt put it down.

    As I read your book from cover to cover, I found more similarities with your experiences than I thought I would.

    I loved your book, your honesty, your strength and your sensitivity.

    I was wondering if you had a minute, could you give me your opinion, on whether or not I might be absolutely insane to be moving to a city that I love but cannot speak the language (Frenchys english is very good) at the age of coming up to 37? It seems like you and so many other ex pats moved over in their 20s, giving plenty of time to learn french and start a new life.

    I am doing this all in the name of love. Which I believe in. Its just everything else I absolutely worried about!

    Comment by tamara — May 5, 2008 @ 3:55 am

  12. I’m just curious just because I was considering this online dating thing… Did you have reservations? I can’t seem to get past the stigma of desperation even though I’ve had friends find their other and sometimes better half online. I don’t know… Any tips?

    Comment by Einstein — May 5, 2008 @ 5:01 am

  13. awww, so sweet!

    Comment by ms firefly — May 5, 2008 @ 5:24 am

  14. @Pat – I was on my own for just over a year… Not long enough?

    Comment by petite — May 5, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  15. Very nice!! Dating websites can always bring nice surprises! I am also on those websites and I have had bad and nice meetings. And I also regularly receive lots of poetry! lol

    Indeed, the simpler it is, the nicest!
    What do you think?

    I wish you all the best for the Boy, you and Tadpole! :)


    Comment by Mae — May 5, 2008 @ 9:09 am

  16. Petite: just a thought. As I said, you know best.

    Comment by Pat — May 5, 2008 @ 9:52 am

  17. I LOVE flambee bananas – they’re one of my mum’s dinner party specials. She usually serves them still flaming at the table!
    Incidentally she also uses dating sites although just for a bit of fun and someone to go out with once or twice a week rather than looking for anything serious. Mostly we have a great laugh at the plethora of wierdos and freaks that send her messages, or the bad dates she has when the person who turns up isn’t quite like his profile….but if she finds a good one there’s no getting details out of her for love nor money!

    Comment by Nicole — May 5, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  18. do you really say 6 o’clock shadow? on this side of the pond it’s a 5 o’clock shadow

    maybe it’s a time zone thing (kidding)

    Comment by kara — May 5, 2008 @ 11:50 am

  19. you can either consider it a typo, or effectively a one hour time difference to allow for me being a Brit in France..

    Comment by petite — May 5, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  20. Tamara, I will reply to your marriage proposal/dilemma. Marry him, he loves you, he buys you a diamond and he speaks English! What can go wrong? However, you will be entering into a bi-cultural marriage the perils of which – I am married to a Swiss – I write about on my site All marriages even fabulously happy ones such as mine are a compromise. I get the feeling you haven’t done this before so it is probably the whole marriage thing rather than the Frenchy moving to Paris idea?
    The alternative is that you end up visiting dating sites like Petite. Take a big leap of faith Tamara, vol, vol comme un papillon.

    Comment by — May 5, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  21. Funny you mention bananas flambée because Georges ordered it for us for dessert Friday night at a restau. I’d never had it, either. Then, over champagne, he handed me a little box with a gorgeous ring in it! Oh, these romantic Frenchmen!

    DO buy the rum and bananas, soon. You won’t regret it.

    Next time I see you, remind me to tell you the sweet thing Your Boy said to me about you at your book signing at W.H. Smith. When he said it, I thought, “Yep, she definitely found the one for her.”

    PS… for all those who doubt whether you can meet anyone nice and “normal” via a dating web site, I met my amoureux on the same website as Petite, and we’re getting married in July; he was also everything he reported to be in his profile and subsequent descriptions of himself and he’s never once disappointed me. I also attended a wedding last Friday of another couple who met via the same site. Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it. Can you (will you) meet some weirdos and losers? Sure, probably. But it only takes ONE to make it worth the trouble.

    Note to Tamara #11: I moved to Paris (my favorite city) alone at 45 and then met my Frenchmen at 46. He proposed 2 weeks ago. I’ll be 47 when I marry him this summer. Sure it’s scary to move somewhere and start a new life, but also exciting, and the language is a challenge but so beautiful. You can do it! Congratulations!

    Comment by The Bold Soul — May 5, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

  22. #11 Tamara,

    What makes you think you can’t learn another language at 37? I have a friend who is learning Mandarin in her mid-50s (to add to the other seven foreign-to-her languages she already knows as well as her own), and several years ago, I tutored an 83-year old who was learning Italian.

    You’ll find it’s way easier to learn the language once you live in the country and as long as you don’t rely completely on your fiance’s ability to speak English. Go there, take language classes, and do things without him as well as with him so that you have to try and communicate. And as you learn, make him speak French with you at least some part of every day.

    Amusez-vous bien and enjoy your new life!

    Comment by Passante — May 5, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  23. So, have you sorted out Tadpole’s wedding attire yet? Let the child wear whatever she wants is my advice.

    Best wishes to you and your young man. I hope you will share at least a photo or two.

    Comment by Meme — May 5, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  24. Those bananas sound really good… :)

    It definitely sounds like you found a good guy! I’m a big fan of honesty. I tried internet dating once, but it really didn’t work out. He wasn’t the guy he said he was.

    Comment by Marjolein — May 5, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  25. What a lovely post … and some nice comments too!

    Best wishes.

    Comment by lkh — May 5, 2008 @ 9:08 pm

  26. I seem to remember making a comment here one time about the fact that the right one would come along when you were least expecting him. (I know I thought it anyway, even if I didn’t actually post it!) I’m very glad for you it was sooner rather than later.

    Comment by Almost American — May 5, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  27. Don’t hesitate, “les bananes flambées” are delicious.
    Best wishes to you for the great event.

    Comment by marie-hélène — May 5, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  28. Hi

    I have literally just finished reading your book and I have to say I completely admire you! You are a true woman, you are what young women should look up to. You’re book touched me and at times I was even brought to tears. All I can say is that you have inspired me to write down how I feel instead of leaving them inside.

    I truly hope you have found happiness

    Bex x

    Comment by Bex — May 5, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

  29. Is it true, does it really work this internet dating thing?

    Comment by Ellen — May 6, 2008 @ 8:37 am

  30. I really enjoyed that post. Did you really adopt an otter for Valentine’s day? That is sooo romantic. Does it have a name?

    Lindsey Violet

    Comment by lindseyviolet — May 6, 2008 @ 9:54 am

  31. Bon appetit!

    Comment by sablonneuse — May 6, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

  32. Oh Petite, I’m so happy for you! Lord knows you’ve earned a good man. Feliciations!

    Comment by MATTHEW ROSE — May 6, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  33. Oh Petite, I’m so happy for you! Lord knows you’ve earned a good man. Feliciations!

    Comment by MATTHEW ROSE — May 6, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  34. I met the man I’m getting married to in September online.

    He’s everything he claimed to be, and I’m glad I recognised the initial stumbling emails as a techie trying to chat me up and went on the date.

    Hurrah for the web!

    Comment by cam — May 6, 2008 @ 4:11 pm

  35. If it can make you feel any better, ‘cluelessness’ can go both ways :


    Comment by bestiole — May 6, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

  36. A real fairy tale with a real happy ending… comme dans les contes! Maybe your little one is right and you are indeed a real life princess? [Look, I could taste bile when I read your post so my imagination had to counteract it with sugary sweet thoughts!]. Aw. Thweet.

    Comment by Ariel — May 6, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

  37. Petite,

    I got a kick out of seeing your book listed in one of our professional journals today at work while I was doing book orders (I’m a librarian). Although I have been reading your blog faithfully for a few years now, it just seemed surreal to actually see the book listed for some reason. :)

    – Catherine

    Comment by Catherine — May 6, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

  38. Awwww, I didn’t realise you met The Boy online! That rocks ass!

    Comment by girlwiththemask — May 6, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  39. Ellen: as my sons said before my first blog meet:
    ‘For God’s sake Mum – meet in a public place and take someone else with you.’
    I went alone – she had her partner with her, and neither of us ended up in the white slave trade.
    But the boys had the right idea IMO.

    Comment by Pat — May 6, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  40. ah, ‘the boy’ is morphing into an actual person right before our eyes. it sounds like the real deal. doesn’t really matter though. you’re happy.

    i recommend internet dating for enhancing world travel. i had great months in both china and chile with wonderful women i’ve met on international dating sites. should have married the chinese woman but hesitated. she’s now happily married in vancouver. i am going back to chile this summer to see my friend there with whom i have become great friends (i know, i didn’t find a wife but this may be even better).

    from a purely statistical point of view, your chances of finding a soulmate are considerably greater online than peeping up and down the aisles of the supermarche. doesn’t sound very romantic but it’s all a numbers game.

    life is what’s happening while we’re sitting at the computer looking for a date. :)

    Comment by rob — May 6, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

  41. best wishes for your wedding – not long now – glad you are feeling better. We will all be following the build up avidly!

    Comment by jane in preston — May 7, 2008 @ 12:36 am

  42. Petite,

    Felicitations, I hope the wedding goes well and that you, the boy and tadpole have a fabulous time and I wish I had the courage to consider an online dating site but I’m not sure what the crop would be like in Belfast!!


    Comment by Rois — May 7, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  43. And the penguins?

    Comment by Damian — May 7, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  44. He had me at Penguins and Otters – adorable.

    Comment by Marianne — May 7, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

  45. And would you say ‘The Boy’ is ‘your 42’?

    Oh, and ‘fruitless sleepover’ very funny ;-)

    Comment by Steve... — May 7, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

  46. I can’t bear the ‘he’s not that into you’ thing. What happens when he seems very, very into you for months and then suddenly changes his mind? Why do they do this? Where’s the manual, and is there a troubleshoot page?!

    Comment by pinolona — May 7, 2008 @ 9:12 pm

  47. wow, no wonder you’re marrying him, he’s original, flambeed bananas indeed. Funny how someone that you don’t pay much attention to at first can become a big part of your life.

    Comment by Babycakes — May 7, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

  48. What has happened to the site? A few days ago you had 52 comments and now it has returned to 46 and appears static. Hope all is well.

    Comment by Val — May 10, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

  49. Years ago, when in a beach cafe in Thailand we had friend banans with condensed milk poured over them for breakfast. I’ve never had anything like it since..

    Comment by Alice Band — May 10, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

  50. He lights his banana on fire? What? Oh!

    Comment by BOSSY — May 10, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  51. FYI a friend of mine met her husband on a dating website and they’re very, very happy. Best of luck – it must be hard to squeeze a blog in around all the planning!

    Comment by Alexandra — May 11, 2008 @ 12:24 am

  52. It really is amazing how two souls in this wide world can find each other. My love of 7 years had just moved away and I, in my mid forties, was preparing myself to spend the rest of my life alone. So when I started volunteering in a mens homeless shelter it was not to meet any one at all. But I did. He was a young man…too young… on the staff working there. But we would leave and talk for hours and it was clear that this was someone special. There was such kindness and nurturing in this man. But my children were grown…I had two grandchildren… and he had not had a family yet. But we had indeed found each other. We were married 18 years last month. I just became 65, he is now 52 and I worry about becoming a burden and he says that’s not possible. He just brought candy and flowers for my Mother’s Day. I am so very, very lucky…and blessed. I wish as much happiness for you.

    Comment by stljoie — May 11, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

  53. Happy Mother’s Day, Petite! Do you celebrate that holiday in France, or is it a North America phenomenon only?

    Comment by Tamara ModernGear TV — May 12, 2008 @ 2:48 am

  54. Blimy just a month away – I tried online dating/social networking sites n met some right horrors who loved to play mind games n have lots of females on the go at the same time telling all they were the best since sliced bread. I think you get the picture, gosh I could write a book ‘ chuckles ‘.

    Some people are really lucky to meet a soulmate online n it works out fabby with me I went all round the houses looking for what was under my nose all the time lol. Yep after 5 yrs divorced Im am back in a relationship with ex hubby. We still live apart which gives us space in time I will move back to the marital home but it suits us for now lol.

    All the best for next month Petite n may all your toubles be little ones.

    Sooz x

    Comment by Soozyuk — May 12, 2008 @ 8:55 am

  55. Can you or anyone post this recipe for me?

    Comment by pchenge — May 12, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  56. Good luck for the big day.
    Bugs – if you have fait le pont in France on Friday 9 May you will have just have had a five day weekend !

    Comment by Timide — May 12, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

  57. Did you see the news tonight on M6, they featured a online dating service only for rich, beautiful and intelligent people?

    I cant help but wonder if there is a special one for ugly unemployed people…

    Also, I am completely converted to french life as a result of les jours férier, brilliant invention to faire le pont. Sorry blighty.

    Comment by Iona — May 12, 2008 @ 11:32 pm

  58. hurray for petite and the boy!

    best wishes!


    Comment by troubie — May 13, 2008 @ 12:03 am

  59. Hello Petite

    I am new to your blog, having just read your book cover to cover in one sitting. Your story is lovely. You and The Boy and Tadpole deserve to be very happy.

    Cath x

    Comment by Cath — May 13, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  60. Bonjour Catherine,

    Mon Anglais n’est pas très bien donc je vous écris en français.

    Je suis en train de lire votre livre et c’est vraiment très bien. Je ne pouvais pas dormir cette nuit et j’ai lu 100 pages de votre livre.

    Je ne peux pas arreter de le lire.

    Est-ce qu’il vient une suite de ce livre? ‘

    Courage avec tous,

    Dieuwertje Edelaar

    Comment by Dieuwertje — May 14, 2008 @ 5:49 am

  61. Petite, you don’t drive traffic to your website by ignoring it. 10 days now and no new posts? I hope you have a good excuse, missy–like maybe a wedding? :}

    Comment by meme — May 14, 2008 @ 7:30 pm

  62. So glad you’re happy! Many Congratulations Petite :) (kinda spoils the book which i’m half way thru reading right now but never mind!)

    Comment by Emmie — May 15, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  63. “…ability to sleep through just about anything” – it is written as about me. Just, my wife is not surprised it.)

    Comment by maximus — May 16, 2008 @ 11:09 am

  64. I haven’t read your blog for a few years now, but I saw your book this week and resolved to come back on here and see what you were up to. I’m so pleased for you and Tadpole that things are working out so well.

    I hope you and the boy will be very happy together

    Comment by beckyjsbx — May 17, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

  65. Bonjour petite,
    Just got back from a wonderful honeymoon, and Paris was a stop on our trip. Second time there… ‘loved it’ only begins to describe our feelings for the city. Just had to look you up and post a quick note of praise and thanks for such a charming book!

    Enroute to Amsterdam, we stopped over in London… my husband pointed out your book to me. Having just come from Paris, it was THE perfect fit. Couldn’t put it down! I sighed each time you referenced your fave spots… we had just been there! (our hotel was near Oberkampf and we had fallen in love with the area surrounding).

    A writer myself, I appreciate your style and honesty. Especially with the blogging (been there myself) it’s challenging to sometimes decide what to omit, and so on. Well done! Feel lucky to have picked up a copy before it hits North America (I’m from Toronto, Canada). I will be sharing your fab book with my friends for sure.

    I’m now a “fan” on your facebook page. Best of luck with your writing, adventures, and all the fabulousness that is ‘petite anglaise’.

    sandy b.

    Comment by sandy b. — May 19, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  66. Hi, I’ve loved your blog ever since I started to read it a year ago. I was going through you archives earlier and found out you went on a French exchange in St Symphorien sur Coise as a teenager. This place is where I spent my childhood and I was glad to learn you enjoyed your stay there. I wonder what became of Florence, since the famous Cochonou factory closed…

    Comment by Nathalie — May 19, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

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