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My first reaction was to laugh at him because it seemed so absurd that someone (let alone a cashier my age with whom I had only spoken three words) was asking me on a date.

You will never, in France, find a guy you don’t know show any romantic interest in you if you have not been introduced by a mutual friend.

After 20 years of happily ever after, my husband awoke one morning in our Paris apartment a changed man, a man in a midlife crisis. We already had two kids and I was the other side of 40.

Once two people kiss while sober (French teenagers drink a lot, as it’s legal), they can already consider the other one as their boyfriend/girlfriend, and assume the relationship is going to be exclusive — there’s no need to define it.

While British men are renowned for their aloof nature, and the Americans are juggling girlfriends, French men can come across as extremely keen.

Expect next-day contact and a date within the first 48 hours.

When they spend time alone together, the girl and the boy don’t go out for dinner, they just go for a walk or chill at home, which is really different from the formal dating process I see in American movies. We don’t ask people out, especially if we don’t know them well.

When I was visiting California this summer, a cashier from Brandy Melville asked me out on a date while I was buying a t-shirt.