Sorry about that, but yes, I am French. Nothing I can do about it: it is my nationality and I don't intend to reject my history. The problem is that with a nationality comes some stereotypes. Got the demonstration of that a few months back.
As a matter of fact my wife and I are expecting an happy event for September. As a wired urban I had to share the news with my network, using the social media and other technologies. However, when it comes to such statement, everyone recommends you to be cautious. Especially in the early months when shit can happen (well actually, shit can happen at that time, but no matter what, it will come any time soon anyway, literally).
You are then torn apart between your desire to share the news and the rational part of your soul encouraging you to play it safe. So ultimately you opt for the intermediary solution: you reveal the information in some cryptic way so that only the people in the know will get it. That is why I updated my status on Windows Live Messenger by stating "3.1496063 inches of happiness". I was indeed just back from our first scan and had seen the face of the baby to be for the first time ever. And the Choosen One was no bigger than 8cm back then... The problem arose when three of my colleagues, who are connected to me through this instant messenger service, picked up on that status and made some questionnable inquiries. "You perv'...", "Stop boasting...", etc. So I wondered: is that me or is that just because I am French and that we have a reputation to focus most our interests around baguette and sex? And since everyone knows a baguette is longer than 8cm, the shortcut was easy.
Face your future.Anyway, this was making me laugh because I like creating discussion. And as a matter of fact, people started talking about that. They were sharing assumptions. Some clever managed to decyphere the riddle, and did not stop at the obvious dodgy cliché. Other had to wait for the reveal that came after the third full month.
But the initial reactions remain engraved in my mind. Because with the realisation that I will soon be a dad came the first thoughts around the legacy. With two French parents, our toddler will most certainly inherit from our cultural influence. He will be expected to be a great cook, a charismatic doctor, a talented lover... But he will be born in the UK, so fellow pupils might not bully his predictable red hair as much as if he was born on the other side of the Channel. He might end up being a diplomat, or an over-paid football player. No pressure Junior...
And yet, the later might simply turn back and blame us for all that. That is double dose of expectations. So he might just look at us and say: "les parents, allez vous faire fuck yourself". Bloody youth, no respect for their ancestors. But after all, as David Mitchell says it in the following video, that might simply be well-deserved!
To read further:
- Becoming an advertising reference or how advertising can pass from generation to generation even after the product was discontinued
- Tattling ta-ta!, an article about the different generations and their own referential scheme
- French letters from my windmill, how two best enemies are blaming each other for sinful plastic toys