I guess since there is no set protocol, French women are pretty obvious, and often more direct than other women. It’s unlikely they’ll refuse to take it further, but not unheard of.You will know when a French girl is flirting with you: she’ll smile to excess, move her hair a lot, smile at you, blush, laugh hard and loud at your jokes, find occasions to touch your shoulder (or even your knee… and it’s not unlikely that she’ll make the first move. Again, the game is often more important than the catch, even to men. The woman has all the power when it comes to dating. It’s then up to the guy if the company of “la belle” is enough for him, or if the game has lasted long enough – in which case no-one is forcing him to continue to invite her.
One of the very obvious difference is the dating game. But I was not aware that accepting to go out to dinner with a man alone gave the signal that I was possibly romantically interested in him.
Nor did I know about this first date, second date and third date business In France, it’s very common for a girl to go out to dinner with a male friend.
Even for a married woman to go out with a male friend who is single : I often travel to Paris by myself, Leyla and Olivier stay in Paimpol, and have dinner with one (or several) of our good male friend(s), single or not.
Olivier trusts me, and we both trust our friend(s), who would never make a pass at me.
I guess it’s much more accepted in France for men and women to be friends.
However, if a woman is dining with a man, you can bet he will pick up the check. I usually trick them by asking to be excused (as if I was going to the lady’s room, grab the waiter and give him my credit card).
But I would never do that to my Dad who would be very upset if I did. When I meet a man and I am without my husband, I’ll place within the first minutes of the conversation that “my husband blablabla… That usually is enough to make my state of mind really clear.
I did the same thing as a girl, talking about my boyfriend (actually existing or not) early on in the conversation. And some people are just not faithful, but contrary to popular opinion, it’s not worse in France than anywhere else (and several studies demonstrate it). It’s in our genes and it’s socially accepted in France.
Now, not everybody does that of course, some girls like to play, and sometimes lose themselves in the game, or hurt people. A Frenchwoman is expected to play her feminine side, and be “admired” for her beauty and wit among other qualities.
Frenchmen like to flirt as well, even if they know very well there is no hope of it leading anywhere.
The game is the main point, it’s relatively innocent and usually no-one gets hurt, just a little blushed :-) With kissing hi and goodbye being the standard and French women being more “flirtatious”, it can be difficult for foreigners to correctly read a French woman’s body language.