Durst: Pardon My Cantonese
Awfully odd to see the French getting their panties in a big bad bundle over gay marriage. Like watching a river otter work a crossword puzzle. In ink. Recently the entire country went completely bonkers with thousands taking to the streets to express concern over the level of free will leaking out of the same-sex end of their famously perforated hose of liberté, egalité and fraternité.
Its so counter-intuitive. We’re talking about France here. Uptight is not normally their métier, milieu, mise-en-scène or oeuvre. Maybe it’s the marriage part that’s giving them major pause. Could be they’re just that much more comfortable winging it laissez-faire style. Behind closed doors — one thing. Right there out in the open with everyone watching — quelle horreur!
This is a group of people who have an entire category of kissing named after them. The very enjoyably slippery kind of kissing in which the tongue invades the opposing mouth like a German army breaching a belipped Maginot Line. Quite a critical kissing category if you ask me. Talk about amuse-bouche.
Wouldn’t you consider it de rigueur to query whether this is the same country that mercilessly mocked America during the Monica Lewinsky affair for our prim provincial prudishness? That goes out of its way to dismiss us petite bourgeoisie for our tres lack of savoir-faire? Well, monsieur, who’s got the stick up their butts now? Bit of a déjà vu from the other side, isn’t it?
The coup de grace is when you call someone “a French lover,” it doesn’t mean they’re missionary-oriented, if you catch our drift. Have you ever heard somebody swear like a sailor, then ask you to pardon their Cantonese? No, it’s “pardon my French” in honor of the nation that prides itself on riding jaded sophistication into new galactic orbits. Sang froid is their aperitif.
This proud land has honed and nurtured disdain for centuries. Raised scorn and derision to an art form. A nation that witnesses the funerals of heads of state attended by both wives and mistresses and collectively yawns. That worships fashion like nuns at a Vatican theme park while the kids are busy slugging down red wine for lunch. Voilà.
And these avant-garde reprobates are concerned about same-sex marriage? Folks that eat snails and bark and moss and pretty much anything that grows on the sides of trees and the thought of two men kissing has the Romance Capital of the World screaming in the streets? Cherchez l’homme. Vive la similarité.
You would think France would be the bastion of tolerance, but apparently, au gratin or contraire. It doesn’t make sense. It’s like Greece begging to have further austerity measures imposed. Or the Irish requesting shorter drinking hours. Germany encouraging everybody to lighten up. America demanding international cooperation. Canadians asking to be put in charge of something. The Italians marching in unison. Sacre bleu.
France! Getting all uppity on us. The country you normally associate with the moral rectitude of a cat in heat on Mexican spring break during the Ecstasy harvest.
Next they’ll start blaming us for all the butter and cream in their diet. Hey garçon, du jour might be a good time to switch to margarine, skim milk and maybe a modicum of noblesse oblige, n’est ce pas?
Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours.
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