samedi 20 avril 2013

France vs. Canada/Denmark cultural differences - going out with friends

I remember how I used to go out with my girlfriends when I still lived in Canada. Actually, whenever I am visiting Canada I still go out with them. I really miss girls' nights out.

I've slowly noticed that women in Denmark (and in the UK as well), as in Canada, have girls' nights out. I often see them enjoying a night out in a restaurant or bar drinking, just gabbing the hours away together. I've also noticed that men do this here as well.

So how are things in France? Quite different, in my opinion.

There are a lot less girls' and boys' nights out. I've seen 2 women eating together in a restaurant, but I usually don't see groups of women together. I'm trying to understand why.

Everything seems to be done as a couple. If you don't have a boyfriend or husband you just tag along with friends who are couples.

This means that things can be very awkward when a couple splits up because everyone is used to hanging out all together. How does the single person or couple choose between which half of the couple to continue seeing? You can, of course, try to continue seeing both sides separately, but I find that that often doesn't work out well. You often have to choose (or sometimes the choice is made for you) which side to continue seeing.

My husband is uncomfortable going out without me. It has nothing to do with him feeling uneasy in the company of others, far from that actually, it's like he needs me to be with him, for us to do everything together as a couple. He doesn't need to go out with groups of men. I force him sometimes because I can't stand watching certain movies at the cinema, I don't like watching football in a bar, etc.

A few days ago we met up with a Danish friend in a bar. She knew that we would be there as a couple, so we figured surely she would bring her fiancé along. Nope, she came alone. She actually never seems to go out with her fiancé with other people. We've only met him once, at a wedding. Same thing with another friend; sometimes we eat together at a mutual friend's house, but she never brings her husband. I can't imagine a dinner date in France where a couple wouldn't attend together, unless they were physically separated by distance!

I originally thought that it's because of French women themselves that there are no girls' nights out. Maybe, dare I say, they are a bit clingy and expect to do everything together with their husband or boyfriend? Now I am not so sure, because, well, just look at my husband! Maybe it's because women have not traditionally been so independent in France as women in Denmark or Canada?

Of course age is a factor. I have seen plenty of women out together alone without men, but these are usually young teenage girls or young women. I'm talking about people my age. It seems like the only times I see women my age out together in France is for hen/bachelorette parties.

So, to summarise my post, these are my main observations in France:

1. Women don't go out together in groups a lot.

2. Women who are married or in a relationship don't go out independently of their partner.

What do you think? Have you had the same experiences? What are your theories to explain the differences?

9 commentaires:

  1. I always go out independently. Feng knows my friends and like them but we don't really hang out as couples with other couples, and I hate when of my friends HAVE to do everything with their husbands. I mean, if both couples are really close, why not? But it shouldn't be something you have to do just because you are married or in a relationship!

    1. You really are Canadian!

      I really miss pizza nights with the girls in front of the telly on a cold winter's night in Canada. And nanaimo bars for dessert. Nothing like it in France!

  2. Max goes out with his friends whenever he is in the north of France. I don't usually go to the north with him, but if I were there, I'd go along. Not because I consider his friends my friends, really, but more not to be left alone with his parents!

    French women my age scare me. Perhaps this is why I don't have any French friends my age who are female. I just don't "get" them, and I doubt I ever will!

    1. They scare me too! I actually sometimes feel quite uncomfortable around them. I wish I could connect with them, but I starting to realise (and accept) that that may never happen.

  3. I have noticed this when in France also - people are much more family-orientated. After suffering the after effects of a girls nights out this weekend, I feel like that family orientated culture is better though! Although I do enjoy a good girls night ;) what about DVD nights and things like that?

    1. DVD nights with other French women? You've got to be kidding! I just can't imagine it. I've thought about it, but I always push the idea to the back of my head. A lot of the French women I know have small children anyway. And the rest... well, let's just say that I don't see them coming over for a girls' DVD night anytime soon. I think I would like that, though, but with who, really?

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  5. This is so true.
    I feel like this is a social code in France.
    In my early years in France when I didn't speak French, I told my husband to go alone to friend's gathering. He did it once or twice then finally he told me that in France people go out as a couple. If I don't go with him, he will have to answer a thousand time why he is alone.

    1. Thanks for reading my blog!

      As I write this, my husband is eating out without me. I think I'll do a blog post about this.

      There have been so many times when I have had to force myself to go somewhere with my husband just because it would be too awkward for him if he went alone.