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> How To Be Rude To The French!

Truth Seeker
Group: Members
Posts: 171
Member No.: 850

Posted: Jan 5 2007, 03:45 PM
Quote Post
To offend the French, fondle a slice of cheese

By Peter Allen in Paris
Last Updated: 2:39am GMT 04/01/2007

In a city with an international reputation for rudeness, it is a gesture that any British visitor will find indispensable. You stick out your lower lip, raise your eyebrows and shoulders simultaneously and emit a nonchalant "Bof".

Le Camembert is used to tell someone to shut up

The Gallic Shrug is one of many simple but brutally effective gestures listed in a new travel guide produced by the Paris tourist board.

Aware that it can do very little to change the stereotype of the arrogant Frenchman, it wants to help discerning visitors blend in by using the same body language.

C'est So Paris, produced by the Ile-de-France regional committee of tourism, lists the gestures under the colloquial title "Cop the Parisian Attitude".

They are specially designed for British visitors who have traditionally been made to feel uncomfortable by rude waiters, couldn't-care-less taxi drivers or sulky beauties sitting outside cafés on the Champs-Elysées.

While the Gallic Shrug can be useful in numerous everyday situations — from a response to sloppy service to reacting to spurned romantic advances — more offensive displays are also graphically illustrated.

They include Le Camembert, which is used to tell somebody to shut up. You hold your hand in front of you in the shape of an L, and then slowly bring thumbs and forefingers together, as if gently clasping a small slice of soft cheese. A blank face — signifying vast indifference — completes this traditional French pose.

"It's a rude way of telling someone to shut their mouth; not to be used in polite company," said a tourism committee spokesman.

Just as offensive is Les Boules, or The Balls. "It's a vulgar way of saying that you're unlucky, you're upset or you can't take any more," said the spokesman.

The gesture involves "holding an imaginary set of tennis balls — one in each hand" in front of your chest and twisting your face into a look of utter frustration.

Another traditional favourite is La Moue, or The Pout. It has been widely employed by French icons throughout the ages — especially female ones, from Napoleon's empress Joséphine de Beauharnais to the actress Brigitte Bardot.

"It's the classic way to convey just about any negative emotion, including discontent, disdain and disgust," said the spokesman. The guide advises Britons to "start by looking bored", then "pucker your lips" before "shaking your head slowly for more impact".

Another useful expression is "Répète". It involves cupping your hand over your ear, so feigning deafness. The guide adds usefully: "Scowl at the same time to express displeasure." But if you're so fed up you want to make a rapid exit, hold a hand out vertically, move it up and down and tap the top of your wrist with your other hand. Your companions will get the message.

The guide says: "You don't need to be French to understand Parisians. Use the gestures the next time you're in Paris. People will start mistaking you for a native in no time."

Britons account for one in five visitors to Paris, but their numbers dropped nearly one per cent last year, to 3.2 million people. This has prompted the French capital to rethink the way it packages itself, and to try to laugh at some of its more stuffy stereotypes.

The guide to gestures is part of a £700,000 advertising campaign aimed at Britons that tries to portray the city as energetic, youthful and trendy. "It is to show that Paris isn't a stuffy museum city, but a vibrant destination worth visiting regularly," said the spokesman.

The board is even encouraging Britons to send in pictures "of yourself imitating a Parisian" with the prize of a weekend in Paris.

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