mardi, septembre 19, 2006

Of Sex and Spatulas

I bet that got your attention.

So, I had totally forgotten to mention that yesterday I had my first experience with la drague in Paris. The verb draguer means "to dredge" or "to trawl," but it also has a broad slang meaning, that sits somewhere between "cruising," "hook up," "hit on," "come on," "flirting," and "sleaze." Within a queer context, la drague refers to the quiet, public and often anonymous sexual practices of gay (mostly) men within city spaces. On the one hand, it can refer to exchanging smoldering glances in the métro or flirting with a shop attendant, on the other hand it can refer to anonymous sex practices in public parks or sex clubs. What I like about this whole thing is that the reference can span such a wide range.

Anyway, my experience was rather on the tame end of this spectrum. I was sitting on the subway on the way to work, and a guy sat across from me and made a point of staring at me for a significant amount of time, and then looking away, and then looking back...etc. To better appreciate the gravity of this behaviour, I should point out to my N. American audience (which I all of you, I guess) that eye contact means something different here. In N. America, eye contact can communicate a sense of honesty, self-confidence and transparency. Here, eye contact means sexual interest first and foremost. On the upside, this means that you can make your interest known to a person merely by locking eyes with them. On the downside, this means that a curious glance or accidental eye contact may give the impression of erotic consent where there was none. So, for example, if a guy is looking at you, and you notice, and you look back at him to figure out what his damage might be, you may be giving him the impression that you want to get in his pants; then you spend the next few minutes having to rebuff his advances with increasing emphasis. Thankfully, the guy on the métro in this case was rather cute, so I looked back. It was a public place, and it was rush hour, so there wasn't much we could do but exchange glances—but all of this in the context of the everyday anonymity of Paris life was pretty potent stuff.

As luck would have it, he was getting off (ha!) at my stop, so we struck up conversation. I had to get to work, he had to get to work, so we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to get a drink sometime soon. How about that for the efficacy of the male gaze! Laura Mulvey, eat your heart out.

And now, on to the spatulas. Oh wait, you thought that the sex and the spatulas were connected? Oh, I'm sorry. You pervert.

So, I decided that I really needed a decent silicone spatula, since all I've been working with at home has been a wooden spoon. Wooden spoons are great for many things, but it's a bit of a pain in the butt when you're trying to make a smooth sauce or something like that. So I headed over to BHV after work, and discovered that silicone spatulas are expensive in this neck of the woods. A single-piece silicone spatula (that is, with no seams between the handle and the spatula) ran me 10€. That's $12USD or $15CDN. Of course, "surprisingly expensive" is something of a leitmotif for this entire trip to Paris, so this didn't come as such a shock. On the other hand, the cheap plastic utensil jar that I got for all of my kitchen utensils was 14€!! WTF?

With that, I headed home and made myself another salad with leftovers from last night, plus some lightly pickled onion slices and chopped hot peppers. Delish! All vinaigrettes taste better with french mustard, I might add.

2 commentaires:

taj a dit…

If I can transpose things a bit, perhaps it's no accident that so many people on the UofC campus resolutely refuse to look at anything other than the ground or empty space when they're walking around. Maybe they've all been to France....

Luis-Manuel Garcia a dit…

Totally. Maybe during orientation they tell all the freshmen, "If you make eye contact with anybody, you have to have a social interaction with them. In public!" If I was a jerk (which I am not), I would tell all of the incoming students here that eye contact in France means "Nice Shoes!" That would make for some amusing situations.