Monday, October 7, 2013

Language Exchange NOT Online Dating

Yesterday I decided to enter the land of language exchange once again. This involves a website that I used the last time I was in Paris, to great effect... However, while not under the same circumstances this time around, I find it exceptionally appropriate to relay something I wrote for a potential show after the last time I used the site...

"Like Alice meeting all of her quirky companions in Wonderland, thus began my first experience with “online dating”... And yes, I put it into air quotes for a reason! For this is not the online dating that anyone else would be used to... In reality, it is called “language exchange”. My dear compatriot, the Australian (the man I was dating at the time), actually turned me onto the site, a suggestion I feel fairly certain he later regretted, more than once reprimanding me that this was an “educational site” and commenting on my “other boyfriends”. In essence, you write a few words about yourself, state where you are located, what language you speak, and what language you want to practice. You can contact others with blurbs that appeal to you, or wait to be contacted. Purely by accident, I managed to interact with only men at first. I assumed that it might be a little bit easier to begin with men because I was shy with the language and if all else fails, I could flirt! Little did I know that this would turn into quite the “dating” experience, fully equipped with men I would have absolutely NO interest in but who would certainly take a liking to me, men who I felt were delightful and might want to date, men who were big ole teases in the end, and men whom I would part ways with amicably but never to hear from again. Language exchange turned out to be a lesson in many more ways than one...

The first date was with “Short guy with Latin Name”, semi-lecherous, tried to dance with me on a Parisian bridge after rather enthusiastically suggesting that we write a song together, as he was a composer... Then there was “Glasses guy with Russian Name”, one that turned into almost a best friend. On our first meeting we got drunk and he taught me naughty French words. I saw him weekly for the rest of my time in Paris, while always wondering about more... “Actor guy with French Name” was the one who I had a lot in common with but when we finally met up he was way more shy than I anticipated. When I told him I was nervous about speaking French he told me I was just not trying very hard... “Older guy with Short Name” was not actually much older but fell into the cliche “father figure” role, explaining how airplanes work so as to calm my nerves about flying. But who also seemed to have a little TOO great a fondness for me in the end. “Invisible guy with Nerdy name” was all talk/no action, sending me flirty messages but never arranging a time to meet! He looked up my last show on youtube and commented on it. Perhaps he was unimpressed or thought I was unattractive despite this being an “educational site”? And one of my last outings was with “Hipster guy with Slavic name”, another surprise in a boy I could perhaps have wanted to actually date at some point. He brought me to a little theatre, normally used for acting, but to see some live jazz and we had a quirky experience with a host who looked AND acted like Toulouse Lautrec from Moulin Rouge... Interwoven amongst these all were various ups and downs, all creating the tapestry of my romantic adventures while my “constant prince” stood waiting for me..."

I don't think I could have written a better anecdote at this point. As I said, yesterday I embarked on my first exchange this time around. He was a nice man, a little bit older I assume, but far too stoic for me. I may have also acted a little hyperactive because the espresso I bought sort of sent me through the roof. In addition, I have a massively hard time attempting to speak in French when the other person knows so much English. If we haven't noticed, I like to express myself, and if I don't feel I have the vocabulary to correctly depict my thoughts, I can't handle it... Though not committed to the idea of only men, we shall just have to see what further "language exchanges" may bring...

7 comments:

  1. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks.
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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time! I will certainly be writing more anecdotes about "language exchange" soon!

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