Friday, March 12, 2010

Anais: The Truth


** 1. **
“Androo,” said my French flatmate Helene, “I met a crazy French girl and she is in love with you already.”
“What?” I said. “How does that work?”
“I met her, and she said her dream is to marry an English guy.”
My eyes widened. This sounded promising. “I'm an English guy,” I said.
“Yes, and she read some of your stories. She is extraordinarily enthusiastic about them.”
“It's my dream for someone to fall in love with me through my writing,” I said, wistfully.
“And now it has happened. She left her email address on your website.”

** 2. **
Dear Anais,
How are you? I'm fine. What are your hobbies? My hobbies include reading and watching popular American TV shows.

No no no! Boring! Delete delete delete!
Let's try something a little more imaginative...

** 3. **

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Rank these characteristics in order of importance when choosing a boyfriend:

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Complete this sentence with the best answer.
"I like weird English guys because
a) I lived in England for a long time and I understand them.
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c) Helene forced me to. 
d) I have seen various Hugh Grant movies and assume all English guys look and act like him.

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** 4. **
It's a very original and unexpected way to get to know someone! I was into you before, but now my interest has become a dangerous, unhealthy obsession which will lead one or both of us to disaster.
See you soon!
p.s. Can you meet me at the airport? I'll be there on Thursday morning.

** 5. **
I canceled my classes on Thursday morning and went to get the girl from the airport. She was late. This was strange because the plane had landed on time. I felt relieved – if she had gotten cold feet and stayed in Paris, it would have been the first normal thing she had ever done. After about 40 minutes I sent her a message. 'I am here, waiting,' she replied. Tetchy! 'Where are you?' 'The place where you get your baggage.' 'You realise people from outside can't go in there?' There was no reply. A sheepish French girl appeared.
She tried to kiss me. I let her chin brush my cheek. She tried to get the other cheek. The girl was clearly sex-mad.
“Was that your first time on a plane?” I asked.
“No. I just didn't realise people couldn't go into the baggage area.”
I stared at her for a long time.
“What?” she said, blushing.

I took her back to the flat, then took her for a little trip around Prague. Our tram crossed a bridge. From there, you get one of the best views of the city. I bent down and tried to show her. She couldn't see it. “Bend down a bit,” I said, pointing towards the view. She didn't bend down, and looked at me as though I were pouring acid over her shoes. “Just bend down a bit and see the stupid view,” I said, and pressed down on her head to force her to enjoy the beauty. She refused.
This totally pissed me off.
We walked around in silence for no less than twenty minutes. Having walked through some of the most splendid, most beautiful, most romantic sights in the world, in complete silence with an annoying French girl, I finally saw the funny side.
“I guess it's tough when reality doesn't meet your expectations,” I said. The girl had fallen in love with me over the Internet, and the reality was sadly lacking.
“Oh, no,” she said, “Quite the opposite.” She looked at me with puppy dog eyes, which I later realised was her way of flirting with me.
“What?” I said, genuinely annoyed. “You mean you like me more now that you've met me?”
“We just spent the last twenty minutes not talking to each other. Why didn't you look out of the window?”
“I thought you were laughing at me for being short.”
I stopped in the middle of the street and put my hands over my face. There were three and half more days until she went back to Paris.

** 6. **
At home, I showed her a Youtube video of Flight of the Concords. It's called Business Time, and the lyrics are very funny. The guy says that because it's Wednesday night and there's nothing good on TV, conditions are perfect for making love.
“Oh, Androo,” said Anais, simpering, “You're so funny. You know, in France we have a saying: A woman who laughs is a woman in your bed...”
I turned to her. “I have a saying: A woman in my bed is a woman who laughs. Because of my micropenis. That's the medical term.”
Anais sighed, and pointed her eyes at me. “Androo, don't you want to kiss me?”
“Not right now, it's only one o'clock. It's a bit early for that sort of thing. I'm an English gentleman.”
“I ask because I want you to kiss me.” She tried to make her eyes bigger. That was getting tres enervant.
“I'm sure you do, but we just met. Don't get presumptuous.”
“We've known each other for three months,” she said.
“Talking on the Internet doesn't count.”
“Yes, it does,” she said.
“Nope,” I said.
“If you don't kiss me, I'll boil your cat and feed it to you.”
“Sorry, what did you say?”

** 7. **
She spent the day plotting ways to kiss me. Her methods weren't well thought out, in my inexpert opinion. First, I took her and Helene to the Opera. Anais scandalised the entire audience by talking during the Opera like she was at home on her sofa watching Sex and the City.
“Hey,” she bellowed, “Who's the guy in the funny hat?”
I put my finger over my lips in the universal gesture of STFU.
“I like the music,” she said, “Is it by Da Vinci?”
“Why is it called The Magic Flute? Is it about magic?”
I put my hand over her mouth and forced her to breath through her nose for the rest of the first act.
In the interval, she spoke to Helene in French for a while. My French isn't great but I'm pretty sure the conversation went like this:
Anais: I am going to kiss him now.
Helene: How?
Anais: I will just say something about being thankful that he brought me to the Opera and I want to kiss him to say thank you.
Helene: That's a good plan. The English are too shy to initiate a kiss with a girl. It's up to the wily French to seduce them.
Anais [in English]: Androo, thank you for bringing me to the Opera.
Andrew [checking out some hot Czech girls]: Yeah, sure.
Anais: So I would like to kiss you.
Andrew: Right. [Suddenly realises the non-sequitur] What?
Anais: I will kiss you now.
Andrew [reasonably]: No.

** 8. **
After the Opera, we went to a very nice restaurant. Another French guy joined us. I worried he wouldn't speak English, but in fact he was almost fluent. The conversation was going really well. The French, at their best, are highly interesting and thoughtful and great company. Anais, though, was not at her best. She spoke French. At first, Helene and the guy gamely tried to keep the discussion in English, but eventually, Anais turned the whole thing away from English, and cut me out. She later claimed it was my punishment for refusing her kiss.
Amusingly, she thought we were now even, and that we would go home and make monkey-love all night.
“No,” I said, “We won't do that. When I get home, I will brush my teeth, and get into bed, alone.”
“Sure,” she said, shining her eyes at me. She knew I would be hers that night. She had played the game perfectly.

We walked down Wenceslas Square towards our flat. Helene and the guy were hanging back. “They are giving us time to be alone,” said Anais, in case I was too stupid to understand.
“Boy, am I tired,” I said, stretching. “Listening to all that French made me really sleepy. I can't wait to get to bed and cuddle up with my soft, warm... cat.”
“Oh, Androo,” said Anais. “We had Opera, good food, wine... conditions are perfect.”
“And you've been smoking and being rude to me all night, and are intensely obsessed with me in a way which makes me fear for my safety and the safety of those around me. Yes, these are the perfect conditions.”
“Silly Androo,” she said, thinking I was joking. I turned around. Helene and the guy had vanished. It was the least subtle plot since that porn movie I saw where the housewife couldn't afford to pay the plumber.

After brushing my teeth, I went to my bedroom. Anais was astonished. “But... but... what about monkey-loving?”
Annoyingly, she tried to keep me awake by crying and sniffling and so on. The French can be so rude!

** 9. **
The next day she was all red-eyed and pathetic. I felt sorry for her, probably because I'm such a good person.
“Let's go shopping and see a movie,” I said.
She looked incredulous. Then she looked hopeful.
“Do not,” I said, “Talk during the movie. I hate that.” I saw her trying to internalise this instruction. I wondered if there had been any ninety minute period in her entire adult life when she had remained silent. It would be difficult for her, but I knew she'd try. Out of love.
We went to see Jumper, about a guy who can teleport. Anais tried to make me feel jealous by going on and on about the star, Hayden Christensen. It was easy for me to shut her up: “We're mainly watching this movie because it has Rachel Bilson. She's hot as hell. She's hotter than the sun. She's hot like - “ I stopped because Anais's lips were wobbling.
Anais talked non-stop during the trailers, but obediently shut up when the movie started. She spoke only once, when Rachel Bilson was kissing Hayden. “She's not that hot,” she whispered.
This made me laugh.
“You're okay, kid,” I said, digging her in the arm.

** 10. **
Anais couldn't eat because she was in love. I ordered my favourite dish, which was pasta with chicken, spinach, and cheese. Mmm! Anais, still in love despite what she perceived as me being mean to her, took out a pack of cigarettes.
And started smoking while I was eating.
She spent that night crying, too, and I was never again able to eat that meal without tasting the acrid smoke she insisted on blowing in my face as part of her French mating ritual.

** 11. **
Anais went back to France, more in love than when she had arrived. The monks at the Shaolin Temple, where I learned Tai Chi, believe that love is an energy which cripples while it liberates. Now, Anais has been liberated by her love for some non-English guy, but her memory of the events in Prague seems to have been crippled by this new love.
Almost two years after her trip to Prague, she wrote a blog entry full of inaccuracies and unexplained gaps. Inaccuracies which I have corrected, and gaps which I have filled. Now, at last, the world knows the truth about Anais.