potagerdeparis

food diplomacy through the story of a meal

Love French-Style

From 1969-1974 there was a crazy show, “Love American Style” which promoted the sexual freedoms started in the 1960’s.  Each week, the show featured unrelated stories of romance (and lots of sexual innuendo), usually with a comedic spin.  Think of it as a precursor to any comedy skit show that centered around a large, ornate brass bed.

This kind of sexual freedom, expression, and experimentation was both thrilling and counter to what conventional relationships were like pre-60’s revolutions (women, political, sexual, etc.).

I am a child of the 70’s and my parents lacked non-conformity.  They found one another, were happy with traditional roles, and were committed to one another until one of them passed.  Even in death, their commitment to one another continues.

However, I missed out on that organic feeling.  Don’t get me wrong, I am no hedonist, but I just cannot understand a relationship that is based on a fantasy of everlasting love from only one person.  Love is about giving another person freedom, rather than slavery to a culturally manufactured ideal.

Many of the French share the thought that true love lies in the idea of freedom.  To love truly is to want the other free, the freedom to walk away, the freedom to love deeply.  No one person can fulfill all your desires and needs.

Don’t get me wrong.  Cheating, deceit, and falsehoods will take down a relationship in a New York minute, but different individuals come into our life at different times.

Looking back to the 16th century and the rise of the “libertines”, France has always had an edge.  Take for example the less-than-perfect relationship between Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.  Never married, never lived together, and yet a deep relationship with all the complexities and challenges.

Love is always a risk-taking experience.  What I like is that there is no safety net, there is no everlasting.  Love is is always changing with both a gentle current and life-changing waves.   Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly, as said by M. F. K. Fisher.

There is no place for locks on a Parisian bridge with a river filled with the tossed away keys.

 

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