A New Yorker with limited French skills gets dropped into an advertising agency in Paris:
"In French class, I did well in spoken tests, but my written French was appalling. The conditional tense confused me, and the French loved the conditional tense, French conversation practically being founded on relativity—perhaps, maybe, I don't know. In kissing, some people were ripe, others were not. Whole groups could be off-limits.
"It definitely wasn't appropriate to kiss your boss, except when it was, though it was correct to kiss your underlings, except when it wasn't. Young men generally didn't kiss other young men, unless they were friends outside work. But older men did, sometimes. You never knew. Also, these kisses were intended not to touch the cheek but to glance it. People kept their eyes locked on the middle distance and seemed, while kissing or being kissed, very bored."
PUBLISHED: April 19, 2012
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4069 words)