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The first thing that came to my mind after having read your entry was this:
Love hurts, Love scars, Love wounds and mars
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain

(Intro to the song Love Hurts composed by Boudleaux Bryant and covered by many American singers since the early 1960's.)
I guess it came to my mind, because I saw Elvis Costello perform it with Emmylou Harris in concert last Sunday.

To me, it typifies one classical representation of love in the American cultural landscape (country music and Blues.)

And yes, that thing about the French being more romantic is a bit strange. May be it has to do with French being a "romance" language (ah!) - actually Italians, Spaniards, and Latinos in general have the same reputation (I wonder if there are surveys that indicate comparative levels of satisfaction with sexual partners of different nationalities!) Remember also that the American tradition stems right from puritanism and the Bible and, hence, upholds sex as evil and, definitely as nothing that should be relished and enjoyed. The French tradition goes in the opposite direction.

It is true that the typical French couple stays married, sometimes in spite of infidelities (and hell, who cares if even the President has an illegitimate daughter?). I do come from a very catholic family, and this may skew the statistics but, in my generation, I am the only one who is separated (although my marriage lasted 21 years.) I have an uncle who has been married three times, though. There has also been, in France, over the course of my daughter's and nieces and nephews' generation, a change regarging cohabitation and out-of-wedlock pregnancy and childbirth. Two of my cousins' daughters and my niece were either pregnant when they got married (with no shame whatsoever attached to this fact), or already had a child with the man they married.

Oh, and flirting on the job. Yes, fairly common and regarded as innocuous in France (check this week's comic strip For Better or for Worse which has to do with a guy hitting on Elizabeth on the job, and sexual harrassment.) Women in France (I think) use their femininity (I am purposefully not using the term "sexuality" - what I mean here is something else and more intangible than sexuality, it has to do more with seductiveness) to their advantage to get what they want on the job.

Most of this has to do with the difference between a society that represses sexuality (America) and one that embraces it (France.)

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