The Louvre trip was funny. I left my husband chilling on a bench while I took some photographs. Hanging around my neck was the big, expensive camera he didn’t want me to travel with for fear it would draw too much attention to thieves. The French culture is not renowned for it’s superficial niceties, so when approached by a stranger, I was immediately defensive. I have been warned that my tendency toward eye contact and general Midwestern friendliness could someday lead to trouble. Still, nothing about my stoney mask and preoccupation with framing the Louvre just so invited conversation. He asks, “Are you a professional?” “No,” I say thinking an affirmative would be asking to be robbed. “Are you French?” Come on, dude. Really? I scream American. Granted, I do rock a bold red lip. And yes, I do believe there isn’t an outfit that can’t benefit from an effortless-looking, casually draped scarf that takes 10 minutes to tie, but still – I’m standing in front of, arguably, the most famous tourist spot in Western Europe – with a camera. I answer in French, “No, I’m an American.” I’m not, however, a 19-year-old backpacking away her gap year, nor have I just fallen off a turnip truck, so the stranger’s subsequent protesting of my country of origin was not taken as flattery, it was taken as creepy. But not as creepy as asking whether I was alone. His eyes scanned around the crowd. At this point, I am clutching my camera and stepping backwards.
My hackles were up, but as I was in a crowd and had a clear path with which to exit, I was also kinda laughing inside. And this is what struck me as funny: My husband, who is big, slightly surly looking (not because he’s mean, but because introverts lack the self-awareness to modify their facial expression) and otherwise perfectly suited toward intimidation will never look over when I need to be saved from an awkward situation. He was seated on a park bench 20 feet away – tops, but it wouldn’t matter if he were 20 inches away, he will never read my OMG, get me out of this conversation look. Once, at a karaoke bar for a friend’s going-away party I literally kicked him under the table. For the record, guys, getting kicked under a table is the International Sign of Hey, Buddy! A little help! Later, when chastised for his inattentiveness, he told me he assumed I knew the close-talking, drunk old guy. Why? Why on Earth would I befriend a close-talker? Who are these friends that you don’t know?
I declined Frenchie’s invitation to a roofie-laced drink as politely, but firmly as I could and quickly returned to my husband, who had no idea what had just transpired.
I’m almost ready to post some getting ready shots from Ariel & David’s wedding. I also have some fun personal shots from this weekend. So, check back soon.