When it comes to flirting, I would describe myself as on the Autism Spectrum. I mean, I don’t really comprehend what’s happening. It’s like watching a NOVA special. Do I actually get what they mean when they are talking about hadron colliders or M theory? No. But, I nod and tilt my head like puppies do because that’s what you do when watching a NOVA special.
See, I would have known that he was flirting if I had known that I was on a date. I thought it was a meeting to help me possibly get a work visa. The thought did cross my mind that the meeting could lead to a date. I am a young single woman who is looking. Sometimes I wonder if I will always be looking, so… I knew it was not a pre-date “get to know each other coffee meeting”. No. It was an adult meeting. David said that Raphael was a highly connected businessman, or venture capitalist, or something fancy, and that it would be good for me, a newly transplanted American girl (woman! sorry), to know Raphael Montaigne.
I really, of course, blame Byron. I mean, if I hadn’t met him, I would still be in Pennsylvania. I would have my inheritance and my heart would not have been broken by some Scotsman who rides a manic depressive choo-choo train for kicks!
David was just some nice guy I met at the cafe. He saw me reading On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. Side note, that book is seriously depressing. David asked me if I spoke English. I said, “Yes” and then he asked if I was English or Canadian. I said neither. I’m American! And, his eyes grew wide and the most charming smile stretched across his face. Right there is where my sister would have yelled “Taken!” and then go on some diatribe about girls — I mean, young women — who are charmed by foreign men only to end up being roofied and sold into the sex trade. Don’t get me wrong. All those concerns did race through my head, to which you would probably ask why I decided to meet with some older man I had never met.
But, god. I was so lonely. I hadn’t spoken to anyone other than waiters since Byron abandoned me for London and pig-nosed Olivia, and that had been like two weeks. And, and, David seemed so nice. He wasn’t at all turned off by me being an American and all. On the contrary, he was quite pleased to speak English with me and talk about American TV. He really likes Frasier so our tastes really aren’t the same. I tend to go for the more teen dramas. But, I guess you wouldn’t care about that.
I just didn’t get the “I’m going to snatch you and then have my way with you" sort of vibe from him. I liked him. I liked talking to him. You never know how isolated you can be until you are surrounded by hundreds of people and you are unable to speak to them because you literally do not possess the words to do so.
David asked about my story. So, I told him the short pathetic tale that is how I came to be in France. Just so you know, I came here because I was in love, maybe I am still in love, with Byron, who I thought might be into me. I mean wouldn’t you think a guy liked you if he called you every night and when he visited he would spend the whole day with you and sometimes even caress your hand? Hello! Signals. Anyways, he moved here for an art residency, and so I moved here too. But, when I arrived Byron was on his way to London with some floozy he met at a gallery named Olivia.
I read somewhere that the hormones released when you are in love with someone are the same as when you get high from heroine or something. So basically I was high on love, and heartbreak, and loneliness. A toxic combination.
All of this is to say that I had no idea that David was an “Entertainment Manager” for a hedge fund or what that even meant. He said he helped prospective clients get football tickets and took them to shows. Well this client had particular interests. American blondes. What am I? Two for freaking two! I just thought that this friendly Frenchman, David, was trying to help me out and that Raphael would help me get a work visa.
So when the date started — I mean, “meeting” — I took all his winking to mean something other than flirting. I mean, winking in France could mean pass the croissant for all I know, like honking in Norway apparently means hello.
But then his hand started to travel southward and with a kind of conquering courage an old time-y explorer would have, and I had to do something.
So what I am trying to tell you Mister Monsieur Police Officer is that one, I did not intentionally nor willful participate in prostitution. There was no exchanging of any thing except for my pepper spray onto his face. And, two. I had no idea that pepper spray was illegal in the great French Republic.
I really am sorry about Mr. Montaigne. I just thought he could help me get a work visa.
Do you know how I can get a work visa?