Serendipity Cafe (Where the Parisian Boffs You)
Frothy café au lait (kuh-fay oh-lay) in Serendipity Cafe with identical porcelain coffee mug, stained with caffeinated black tar, sipped by thousands before them.
C’est romantique. J’aime bien.
Oh, if the French stick out their lower lip, raise their eyebrows and shoulders simultaneously and emit a nonchalant “Bof” when you’re unlikely to piss them off and you take offence by this Parisian attitude. Here’s a guide to offend the French — you can start by fondling a slice of cheese.
Gallic Shrug can be useful in numerous everyday situations — from a response to sloppy service to reacting to spurned romantic advances. You stick out your lower lip, raise your eyebrows and shoulders simultaneously and emit a nonchalant “Bof”. Déjà vu?
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. 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.
Répète. It involves cupping your hand over your ear, so feigning deafness. Scowl at the same time to express displeasure.
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.
La Moue, or The Pout. It’s the classic way to convey just about any negative emotion, including discontent, disdain and disgust. 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.
On se tire. 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.
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.
Or lounge around in the middle of the park à la Monica Bellucci of Irréversible — reading in a park surrounded by children (accompanied by Beethoven’s 7th Symphony).
In one of the millions underground passes next to the Seine, where tethered riverboats pulsate with drugs, booze and human emotion, Daniel had me pinned against a wall, breathing on my throat, murmuring “I want to rape you, here, now” in French-English, and me, my mind racing, thinking of J and inevitably of Bellucci in Irréversible, panicking slightly, trying to disentangle myself from criss-crossing limbs, negotiating my terms of release in all the languages I know, verbal and non-verbal, like a seasoned diplomat.
Serendipity Cafe where the Parisian boffs you, sometimes literally — like getting rape in the pedestrian underpass while you try to cross the street after a good mug of café au lait.
You can either get shrug off with a “bof” or shrug off to get “boffed”.
It’s a pun. You get rap or rape.