Two French Boys One Day
I arrive in Paris and climb three flights of stairs wearing a backpack bigger than my body to find myself locked out of my AirBnB. No key left under the mat, no note left with instructions. But I’m not at all miffed, I’m in vacation-mode. I drop my bag in the vestibule, find a cafe down the street, sit at a small table outside, order a glass of wine, ask for the WiFi password, and open up Tinder. Tinder in Paris is a dream: every swipe offers up a new impossibly handsome French man, and every swipe is a match. August in Paris means most French people are at the beach or the countryside. And that means I’m fresh meat in a stinking city.
French men can be over the top. I know this because I had an adorably dramatic French boyfriend during study abroad. But today I don’t mind the ridiculous compliments rolling in, as my second glass of rosé makes me buzz along with my phone. “How beautiful you are,” one match writes. “An American girl in Paris? Let me take you out,” another direct messages me.
By the time my AirBnb host returns to let me into the apartment, I’ve already made a date for that afternoon with Jean.
I’ve been traveling through Europe interviewing men about sex and dating in their respective countries, so I show up to each date with an audio recorder. I don’t tell them about my project beforehand, I just lightly bring it up once we meet. Discussing intimate details with strangers has led to hours of salacious recorded conversations, and inevitably, sex. There’s something that transpires between two humans after baring their deepest fantasies, fears, and desires. It’s basically like playing “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love” but an abridged, sex-focused version.
My afternoon Tinder date tells me to meet him at Parc Buttes for the best view of the city. It’s on the outskirts of Paris, and when I exit the metro, I realize I am the only tourist in the area. It feels like a secret.
Jean arrives near the entrance to the park on his motorbike. He’s tall and slim, but I can see beneath his light sweater that he has defined muscles. He’s classically handsome, dark wavy hair that he runs his hand through when he’s nervous, and a very French five o’ clock shadow. He is animated and has an ease about him. Plus a funny accent, which he explains is the result of learning English in Scotland. It’s a French-tinged brogue and it balances his handsomeness with harmlessness.
We walk around the park, take in the view—which is indeed the best, Montmartre looms on a hill in the distance—then settle on a spot in the grass, lounging and talking. I ask him if I can flip the switch on the recorder and he is happy to oblige, only if, he ventures, he can interview me as well. I agree.
Our conversation wanders from serious relationships to casual sex—I admit I have been single for awhile and my approach to sex has begun to feel too unceremonious. I tell Jean I feel blasé about one-time sexual partners, like they are just another in a long list, difficult to differentiate and too risky to put meaning on. He stops me, corrects me: “Each new lover is a discovery,” he says.
“Don’t you think there’s something sad about having really wonderful sex with a person where you feel really connected and then you never see them again?” I ponder, already thinking about what it would be like to fuck him and leave Paris in a few days.
“Well,” Jean answers, “it’s kind of beautiful, too. It’s kind of both. It’s the most free act and liberating thing you can do. Of course it can be sad because you start wondering, what if, what if, what if? But it’s never just sex to me, and I don’t say that just to please you.”
This is really how he talks, like a poem put through Google translator.
With only the recorder between us, Jean details how his job lusciously allows for sex in the afternoon. He declares it’s his favorite time to fuck, because he knows how few others are enjoying it then. On the other side of the recorder, I am thinking how nice it is to be with a handsome man, in a park, in Paris, in the afternoon. I also feel superior to my friends and acquaintances back in New York, in their frosty air conditioned offices.
Jean suggests we move to a cafe, but I interrupt, “We can just go back to your apartment,” I tell him, hopping on the back of his bike. “As you wish,” he says, handing me his extra helmet, made for moments like these, when a willing woman wants to take a ride.
We zoom off and I try to make sense of all the sensations in the moment. The air is teasingly lifting my skirt and the motor is humming and jumping over cobblestones. Iconic Parisian apartments loom above us, providing a grand tunnel that our journey seems unworthy of. The man in front of me, unfamiliar but friendly, reaches back often to rest his hand on my thigh, protectively. I tighten my grip around his waist.
We arrive in hilly Montmartre, and Jean lets me into his perfectly situated apartment, makes me an espresso, then leaves me on the balcony with my cigarettes to go run an errand.
I light a cigarette and start texting my friends back in Brooklyn, describing Jean, describing our conversation, suggesting it will surely lead to sex. Yes, they agree, it surely will, and I send pictures of the cinematic views from my perch on his balcony.
Jean returns quickly, and I step into his living room and conspicuously sprawl on his couch, in my most seductive pose, letting my legs open a bit to offer a peek up my skirt. It’s completely unnecessary.
“So,” he studies me, “after all that talk about sex, I think we have to try each other.”
He walks to the couch and scoops me up, carries me into his bedroom. He lets me down on the side of the bed.
His bed is large, and there are beautiful windows thrown open to the afternoon light. They look directly across to a string of Baroque apartments—windows, balconies, carved stone flair.
He stands behind me waiting for my next move. I press my ass into him, feeling him already hard in his jeans.
Without looking back, I say, with such authority I surprise myself, “I want you to fuck me from behind while I look out your windows. I want someone to look out their window and see us fucking in the afternoon.”
Seconds later, he lifts my skirt and his face is in my ass. He licks me feverishly, and I arch my back so his tongue also teases my pussy. I feel my gaze out the windows overcome, my eyes sinking, heavy with pleasure. He enters me, and thrusts deeply. I collapse onto the bed.
We laugh and he turns me over, marveling at my breasts, scooping them up, squeezing them, before diving into my cleavage with as much energy as he went for my ass. I reach down and take his wet cock in my hand and guide it back inside me.
We fuck like that for awhile, both sweating in the sunshine, until I push him off and out of me so I can climb on top. I ease onto him, riding him and holding my tits, watching emotion take over his face; amazement, luck, bliss, fear of losing control. He begins speaking in French, his Scottish-English abandoned in the heat of the moment. I feel close to coming, and he knows. He waits for me to cum, and I shake and drop down onto him, my chest on his chest. While I’m still feeling the aftershocks of orgasm, he flips me over once more and pulls out to cum all over my ass.
We lay together for a while, and when I ask to shower, he politely asks if he can join me. We wash each other in a way that’s so familiar, and once dry he gives me exquisite details on my route to my next destination. We kiss, once on each cheek.
I follow his directions exactly, stopping only to buy a basket of strawberries before reaching the Abbesses Metro station, famous for its swirling set of some 200 stairs. I skip down them, dizzy on the power and freedom of sex with someone new, in the afternoon. On the metro, I realize I am famished, and the sweetness of the strawberries make me feel almost unworthy of all of this. Almost.
I dine at Derriere in the Marais with my friends that night. A hearty lamb roast, and so much wine. Cigarette after cigarette. Tales of my French escapade. And texts with another French boy, Jonathan.
In his pictures, Jonathan looks gorgeous in a prohibitive way. Boys who look like that are either dumb or total assholes, or both. But for one night in Paris? I can do gorgeous asshole. He doesn’t seem to be dumb, we’ve been exchanging witty banter all evening.
He tells me to meet him at Comptoir General bar, which according to the internet, looks like Brooklyn in Paris.
Jonathan is waiting for me outside. He immediately moves to my cheek to give me a kiss, and then another on the other side. As our faces pass each other, I feel his breath on my mouth. He smells good.
He’s even more beautiful than his pictures reveal; long, enviable eyelashes and deep, large eyes, a model-like pretty face and a delicate but angular jawline. He walks ahead of me into the bar and I detect a swing in his hips. He moves with such confidence, it’s as if he is floating; he floats to the bar and orders us gin and tonics, and then we float to some nearby seats. I let myself float with him.
We make small talk, but his beauty makes me nervous. I am immediately disarmed and hyper aware of myself, my clumsiness, my Americanness, because he is so French and cool. He’s not like Jean. I feel alert around Jonathan, enticed. I want his approval.
We set off into the night, walking along the canals, eventually arriving at Chez Prune. We sit at the bar and order more gin and tonics. I like watching him do it in French, and he naturally, smoothly, pays for the drinks.
We’ve commenced on my assignment, discussing cultural differences in dating, and I figure it’s a good time to ask about who typically picks up the check on French dates, since I haven’t offered to pay for a round yet.
“Don’t worry, you can pay for the cab back to my place,” he replies.
I roll my eyes and groan-laugh at his ridiculous assertion. But 20 minutes later I find myself summoning an Uber to take us to his apartment.
Outside the bar Jonathan presses his entire body against mine and kisses me slowly, seducing me. I can feel his hard dick against me, another French man so full of desire. We continue to kiss, and I make half-hearted excuses about why I shouldn’t go home with him.
“Have you ever had sex with French people?” he asks me.
I decide to be completely honest.
“Earlier today,” I answer.
Without missing a beat: “How was it?”
I can’t control myself from laughing, and telling another truth. “Good, yeah.”
“So the French are good lovers?” Jonathan asks. “Yes,” I answer.
“Good,” he says. “Glad we have a good reputation.”
With that he takes my hand and leads me up the curve of a bridge over the Canal Saint Martin. The bridge is short, and it’s ours. He takes me in his arms when we reach the middle, spins me, dips me dramatically, and kisses me. He’s aware of the cliche he’s enacting, but he knows he can get away with anything.
I call the Uber.
Back in his apartment he undresses me slowly. I’m fully naked before he removes any of his clothing. I let him take the lead, let him catch my nipple in his mouth and then take his pants off and put my hand around him. His cock is thick and heavy, that impossible magic of a thin, smallish man always surprises me.
He pushes me onto the bed and crawls on top of me, lowering his face from my neck, down, down, down, past my belly. He hovers over my pussy and I can feel his hot breath. I’m physically exhausted, and it makes me more sensitive, sensual even. I clutch the sheets as he parts my lips and licks me, once, twice, three times. I moan, reveling in the fact that another man was down there only hours before. Jonathan gets me just wet enough before mounting me. He has expertly slipped on a condom. I feel him deeply and gasp. I let him do the work and feel myself getting close to an orgasm. I come. He fucks me more and comes.
A few moments later, he leaps out of bed to the fridge and returns with a container of olives. He offers them to me. I decline. I watch him as he methodically eats them all, one by one, very boyishly, alone.