In 2005, I returned to France back from the US, I moved to Paris and unexpectedly ended missing one thing in particular from back when I taught French to American college students (one thing among others, this one just happened to be unexpected); the questions that they often had about France. Some were lame, some very interesting and made me see my own culture under a different aspect. There were also all the clichés and stereotypes that one can nation can have about another. One day I remembered that hilarious column called Ask a Mexican! and decided to start an similar thing about France and the French on my homepage that I was in the process of redesigning (yes, I still had a homepage back then). The tone was going to be politically incorrect, offensive at times, hopefully funny, but I would also try to be as informative as possible.
Ask a Frenchman was born!
It quickly became its own blog, first as a Blogger blog and then as its own self hosted blog. Today (January 2013), as I’m typing these lines, it’s getting its 4th incarnation as a part of David + World.
While it remains the same at its core, there are a few things that you need to know, even if you’re a long time reader (there are a few minor changes ahead).
I used to answer any question asked, not anymore. Now, I’ll pick which questions I’ll answer and which ones I’ll ignore, mostly according to one criteria: do I find it interesting or not? Well, I’ve kinda been doing this for a while anyway. The tone will change too (once again, I’ve been on this path for a little while too). While I’ll try to remain funny if possible, while I’ll still be politically incorrect at times, I’ll try to avoid offending people gratuitously. It was funny when it lasted and when I played this “Frenchman” character, but this is not me. If I offend or insult someone it has to be for a reason, and I’d rather know the person too, not just a poor fool who asked a stupid question or wrote a stupid comment.
I think those are the two major changes in this newest iteration of Ask a Frenchman.
Still, keep in mind a few things though:
- French people are individuals and as such have a mind of their own, they do not all think the same act the same and feel the same. So, no, I cannot know what this one person thinks just based on the grounds that we share the same nationality. And yes, certain French people may even disagree with me on any given topic (we, French people, are very good at that, disagreeing with each other and then debating the issue for as long as possible).
- I cannot read minds either, so don’t bother asking me about this guy you just met and whether he likes you or not (I know some of you will still do it, don’t expect me to do anything other than send your e-mail to the trash).
- If you’re sure your question about this guy is a cultural one and not a personal one, search the blog (look, there’s a search box at the top of the side bar), I have most likely already answered your question. And generally speaking, I don’t answer questions about relationships anymore, I feel that I have said all there is to say about them.
To ask a question, you have several options:
- E-mail me: askthefrenchman @ gmail.com (yes, there are spaces before and after the @ because of spambots, of course, you need to remove them when you’re sending the e-mail).
- Go to the Contact Page and shoot.
- Try to avoid asking in the comments though, unless it’s a minor thing related to the topic that you’re commenting in.
- Someone someday suggested that I create a forum so that people can discuss various topics, including answering each other the questions that I don’t answer because I don’t want to, or simply because they’re minor questions not deserving an entire blog posts, or language questions too. While, I won’t create an entire forum (I barely have time to write on my blogs regularly, I simply can’t manage a forum), I created a Google + Community just for that. Feel free to join it and use it as you like (I’ll still moderate it though – no personal attacks, no racism, no homophobia, no spam, well, you know the drill).
Please, note that anonymous comments and questions will not be taken into consideration unless they’re really really interesting. It takes two seconds to invent an alias.
I guess that’s all of the warnings and other disclaimers, so go ahead, enjoy Ask a Frenchman, and if you think you have an interesting question, please ask.