Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Search of a Soutien-Gorge

After reading my post about my cultural misunderstandings with France Telecom, my friend Harley emailed me a humorous story recalling a shopping incident during her year in Provence in the 1960's where a better command of the language sure would have helped. In her own words.....

It reminded me of when I first arrived for my year in Provence. My mother had told me to wait until I got to France to buy a new bra, since the French made superior ones. So off I went to the lingerie store and there I encountered the short, fat 60ish proprietor who had pasty skin, a tiny little mustache and beady eyes. I explained in pulverized French that I wanted to purchase a bra and told him my American size, but he indicated with a fierce head shaking and emphatic “Non!” that he wanted my French size. I said that I didn’t know it, assuming that I would be given some choices to try on. Mais, non! He grabbed my left boob with his right hand, gave it a hard squeeze, and announced my size. I fled the store with my virginal face ablaze.

Oh, Harley, when I think of all the stories some of these shopkeepers have to tell when they get home---more than a few good laughs at our expense, no doubt. Perhaps it is a good thing you didn't have the rest of the 'soutien-gorge' experience that day, oui? Merci beaucoup for another great story.

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