Oh girl. Okay so I understand your problem because I’m also American and my in-laws are Parisian. Lemme see if I can help you out. The French women standing to pee thing is a myth. But you knew that. The thing though is that French in general do not have the same weird hangups and taboos as Americans. French women are basically like, “yeah, I poop. What of it?” Because there’s not this weird how very dare you be human thing that Americans have French women are much more comfortable … relieving themselves. And yeah, peeing in the woods is a bit of a skill, but because French women don’t attach shame to bodily functions they’re okay with failing. The worst thing that can happen is you do get pee on your boots and then you tell your friends and laugh, because it’s funny.

This whole sexy mystique French women seem to have is their willingness to be actual people. In America women have to be perfect and we’re not supposed to eat or poop or bleed or be human and any smell or sound or suggestion that we’re not a sentient compilation of coconuts and flowers is an absolute horror. But yeah, every time I’ve been to a party in France with French people — and it’s a lot — sure some guy will be like, “oh isn’t she graceful and stylish,” but some woman will … burp or something and everyone laughs and gets on with it.

There’s sexism in France but it’s not as bad as American sexism. In America we’re not supposed to be people. America still has the Madonna-whore dichotomy going on. In France you can be human and your life won’t end.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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