Monday, April 20, 2009

The Snappy Parisian Comeback

It’s something in their DNA. The way the French can fire off a right-back-atcha snarky comment that puts you in your place.

It’s the world-famous Snappy Parisian Comeback.

I gotta hand it to them – they’ve turned cussing someone out into an art form. And they manage to do it oh-so-politely.

Some examples:

You want this parking spot? I would like to cordially invite you to go to hell, Madame.

I’m the next one in line at the post office. I regret to inform you that your lack of manners makes me want to take a crap, Monsieur.

Now how am I supposed to compete with that?

Last week’s experience in the Marais really takes the cake. A British friend and I schlepped our younger kids across town to enjoy a bit of sun in the Places des Voges. After stopping for a coffee at our favorite sidewalk terasse, we realized our Fries needed fresh diapers ASAP. We paid up and started discreetly changing them in their strollers next to the café. (I’ve got this down pat – no café is ever equipped with a changing station!)

Little did we know that we weren't discreet enough for one tough Frenchwoman.

Bitchy Boutique Blonde: Madame, I ask you to move away from my shop window.

La Mom: Pardon? We’re just on the sidewalk.

BBB: I do not want this kind of spectacle in front of my boutique.

London Mom (whispering): What’s she saying?

La Mom: What, this is bothering you? (Did she note my heavy sarcasm?)

BBB: Baaa, oui!!!

La Mom: Fine, I’ll scoot down.

London Mom: What? No way is she getting away with that! If I spoke French, I’d ask her since when she owned the public sidewalk, for Chrissakes!

La Mom: Oh. Yeah, that would have been good.

But London Mom got the last word, so to speak, as she presented a stunned Bitchy Boutique Blonde with a plastic bag filled with toxic toddler waste.

“Could you just toss that in your poubelle for me, love?”

London Mom, 1. BBB, 0.

Yes, everyday life in Paris offers limitless possibilities to practice my “pardon my French”. I just have to get the couilles to actually do it.


Michelle said...

Too funny!

Under the Influence said...

Ha! It's funny what upsets people.

Scandalous Housewife said...

Tejas loves zee Brit and zee poop-pay diaper! I find giggling at arrogant people and their ghastly remarks, right in their face, earns me bonus points in the battle of the bitches!

vicki archer said...

I can just see it! Sometimes those Parisian dames are just soooooo serious, xv

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Yes, I noticed that at Laudree if you can believe it! I just ignored her and then really, really stretched out my selections to really annoy her! So petty, but somebody has to put them in their place sometimes. Love your post.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

Haha. I have to watch myself because I am a bit too quick to unleash my attitude sometimes.

Paris Atelier said...

Classic! That's so funny! I tink I love London Mom!

The Antiques Diva™ said...

SCORE ONE for the London Mom!! I think I might start carrying around a poopy-sac just for occassions such as these!!!

Anonymous said...

Aye, the brits have pretty good comebacks too. So proud of London Mom!

a H.I.T. said...

I can't believe she was upset over a diaper. I wonder what she'd say to a dog walker.

SuZ said...

Oh Lawd, if that were me I'd tell her that I'd show her a real spectacle if she wasn't careful!!

Ha ha ha.

I love Sarcasm, it makes me so happy. :) :) :)

Savvy Mode SG said...

haha... good for her. it's really a wonder why some people are so uptight.

Monkey Girl said...

My sarcasm did get passed down from my father, who always told me you can always politely call someone an asshole.

He was my role model.

And even though I have a French last name...I'm Irish through and through baby.

Banteringblonde said...

Perfect! LOL

Kelli said...

Love it!
I swear {no punt intended} you have the BEST stories!

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

One up for London Mom, she's my kind of gal. More of London mom 'me hopes' in the future!

I always tell my adult kids to kill their enemies with kindness (:

Mommy In Pink said...

Love it!

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Yes...I would be thrilled to come over and do your gift wrapping, let me go parctise some more and I will book my flight. We do want you to look really good over there competing in that stylish world. And then we want you to keep telling us about it!~

GutsyWriter said...

Just discovered you via Petite Anglaise. Great blog. I understand the French very well.
I can't wait to read more. I have a mixture of you, your English friend and now live in California.

ModernMom said...

I have just stumbled across your blog via It's a Beauty Filled Life. Such a funny story!

Jennifer said...

BAAAAHAHAHAHA! The Brits, how can anyone not love them?

travelling, but not in love said...

ooh, I love the witty retort, the sarcastic comeback. And it makes me so proud when I do this in French.

You know, someone's got to play the parisiens at their own game.

I'm glad to hear it's not just me making the effort...

Alain said...

Very funny and so true!

A Seattleite in Paris said...

Nice! I need to take lessons from London Mom.


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