Where’s the snoot?

Okay, so who stole the snoot from the French? I have tried everything to find an arrogant Frenchman – even waiters who traditionally had the role of professional snoot cockers – I have tried speaking French in the worst accent (Australian) and used my best schoolboy french to upset the natives, but no, they politely respond… in English.
Arrogant? I have tried asking directions to the toilette of guards in Versailles and all they have done is smiled and pointed me in the right direction. What am I doing wrong here?
I have tried wearing the wrong shoes (long story) and I even tried ordering a coffee ‘tres legere’ but to no avail – not a sniff among them, just polite courteous service. Nary a Gallic shrug to be found.

Note: the Gallic shrug is something to be cultivated – a combination of ‘I choose not to understand your anglicised attempts at French’, and an ‘I don’t care even if you are lost/busting to find a toilette/desperate for a decent coffee or (d) all of the above.

Somewhere in the last few years all this has gone the way of globalisation and perhaps the global economic crisis, but now I would have to say that the French reputation for snootiness or arrogance is grossly misplaced. Just sayin’.

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6 Responses to Where’s the snoot?

  1. Allie Aller says:

    About that Gallic shrug…I do agree, everyone (except one waiter) was delightful to us, so helpful. The shrug I encountered was of a different kind, but struck me as so characteristically French…and so charming!
    Our tour leader at the DMC factory was a serious man named Jean Luc. By the end of the day we talked just a little about his personal life…Mulhouse is near the mountains, so when I asked him, “Faire du ski?” he gave THE SHRUG, looked away and said, “Of course.”
    It was so cute I just wanted to die on the spot. But I just nodded seriously back.
    Ah, the French!

    • Thanks Allie – how delightful! And I’m glad others have had the same experience of French being helpful – and thanks for sharing you experience – ah, the French indeed 🙂

  2. Anneliese says:

    As we are living here partly – and renovating – I can but say the same. They are friendly, friendly, helpful, try to understand and so on. Especially neighbors – they are kind!! Some of them even are learning German at school. I am so glad the ressentiments against Germany are slowly disappearing. It is the young generation which is giving this hope.

    • Thanks Anneliese – I’m glad you also found the same thing – and especially with neighbours. I think the European resentment over Germany has mostly passed now as I think it really only resides – if at all – in some of the generation that lived through the war. So much has been done since to bring Europe together through the EU and in terms of the way Germany and France have done so much to bail out the less strong economies in the EU through the global economic crisis that I think much proverbial water has passed under the bridge. I also see that daily in the way Australians have embraced the Japanese in friendship, and in the welcome I have had as an Australian in Japan on previous visits.

  3. Rachel says:

    We’ve had the impression that the French rather like Australians, and are much less likely to be rude to them than to other nationalities. And out in the countryside, any effort to speak French is usually rewarded!

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