French People Think You Suck In Bed

A helpful phrasebook offers translations for “I don’t like that” and other expressions of incompetence.

You can learn a lot about French culture from the Lonely Planet Guide de Conversation, written and edited by French people, seen here as swiped from a French tourist to San Francisco. Most important, you can learn what phrases they believe are necessary to navigate sexual encounters with us English-speakers. The beginning of the “Vie Amoureuse” chapter (rendez-vous and séduction, of course) seems mostly to speak to an awkward misguidedness about how to bed the natives, with lines like “Do you come here often?” and “What star sign are you?” — which, alright, maybe does work if you have a French accent.

Moving on to “rejections,” it smarts a little but is maybe not such an undeserved stereotype that one of the four versions of “No Thank You” offered is “Your ego is out of control!” But most telling is the sexe page, which starts with essential sentences like “Let’s use a condom,” empowers users with the translation for “I don’t like that,” and progresses to helpful instructions like “faster,” “harder,” and “Easy tiger!” … instructions that only culminate, heartbreakingly, inevitably, in the one phrase that negates the purpose of having picked up an English-speaker to have sex with at all, but that, given English-speakers’ skills as lovers, one just has to have on hand: Ne t’inquiète pas, je vais m’en occuper.

Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself.

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