Wednesday, December 31



Even though I dreaded it, Christmas this year wasn’t bad. On Christmas Eve my mother set fire to her kitchen, since she was trying to make cheese fondue. It was supposed to be a sober, vegetarian Christmas, the fondue was our contribution to world peace. When the flames reached the ceiling my mother started blaming the Chinese. They were at fault for selling her a worthless fondue pan. Luckily there was little damage, dinner could go ahead as planned.The next day I helped with the laundry. Little did I know that doing the laundry would lead to another shocking event. I entered her bedroom with two clean pyjamas, planning to put them in the cupboard next to her bed. When I opened the cupboard I found a packet containing twelve condoms, ready to be used in case there was a need. Call me childish, but I wouldn’t have been more shocked had I found a needle and some smack. For a few minutes I stared at the packet and hesitated, wondering if I should confront her or not. Should I talk to her as if she was a teenager, the same way that she once talked to me? Or be as blunt as possible and say: “I found a packet of condoms today, what are you doing with those?” To be torn by curiosity and not wanting to find out, that’s how it felt. Later that day I had to ask the question: “Do you have a boyfriend mom?” She did not look at me when she replied. “Those condoms were a Christmas gift for you,” she said. “I just hadn’t wrapped them yet.”

Tuesday, December 23


There are a lot of things that make my moto taxi guy attractive, but there are also many things that I don’t like. To start with the obvious: he drinks and smokes too much. Around noon he will have some white wine, and around four, when I am having herbal tea, he’s ready for pastis. This worries me a bit. The other thing is that he likes to clean. A lot. Now I have nothing against a decent amount of hygiene, but this guy doesn’t seem to stop. Last weekend he announced that he would clean the bird shit of his balcony. When I told him bird shit was part of life in Paris, he looked at me as if I came from Mars. Then there are music videos: why does he think I like to wake up to the sound of Wham? The last time I paid any attention to George Michael must have been when I was twelve. Then there are books: the guy doesn’t read more than two books a year, because he says he doesn’t like to dream. In his eyes reading is just dreaming with your eyes glued to a page. Then there is the biggest difference between us: he likes to wear thongs. Maybe this is a French thing, or maybe I’m oldfashioned, but I don’t like a man without a covered ass. Besides that, I can’t date someone with better taste in underwear than me.

Saturday, December 20


My mother taught me that you cannot expect anything from a guy. She thinks a relationship is unpaid slavery, where you have to cook and clean and prostitute yourself for less than you are worth. Lesson number one: do not prostitute yourself for less than you are worth. Lesson number two: at all times, do not forget to show your breasts. If there is one sin in life it is to be ashamed of your body, how could you not be proud? My mother lectured me a lot about the body, how it is equally important as the mind. She also said that if I’d sleep around I’d lose touch with my soul. That would be the biggest punishment, to not be able to connect with anyone, not even with yourself. She thinks the right person is someone who helps you in times of trouble, and who has some mechanical skills. She says that marriage is a prison, and instead of being an inmate, you should be out there enjoying yourself. But then I tell her that she has to stop, that it is time for me to get the latest wonderbra.

Tuesday, December 16


Three winters ago I did not know what to do with life. I remember writing it down, clearly, next to my Christmas shopping list. Since then about 1095 days have passed. I fell in love four times and had sex about three times a month. I bought 72 books and changed jobs more than once. I never said I love you, except to my little nephew who is now six years old. (He said it first). I turned down seven men and got dumped twice. I wanted to become a writer, then decided I didn’t, then decided I did. I also wanted to become a stewardess, a professional dancer and a cook. I slept with men I should not have slept with and ignored the ones who seemed too nice. For some reason I thought coming to Paris would make me feel better, would make me feel like I could conquer myself. The only good thing I can say is that in three years time I haven’t lost any teeth. Perhaps some weight and some intelligence, but that’s a fact of life.

Friday, December 12


Moto taxi guy didn’t have a kitchen, just a watercooker and a microwave. When I suggested to have dinner he surprised me with three gifts. The first was a small incense holder in the shape of a young boy. The second a notebook with Japanse calligraphy on the outside. The third a book by Edward Said I had read before. “Out of Place,” I said, gently stroking the cover, “thanks for getting this for me.” He almost looked as if he blushed.
For some time I figured there was some mysterious connection between these gifts, that the hidden message was: “You’re out of place, but so am I so just relax cause you can always read.”
Or: “You’re out of place so take a hobby like calligraphy.”
Whatever the message was, it didn’t sound like: “you’re out of place but I don’t care.” However, looking at the baby photos of Edward Said made me feel very sad. Perhaps happiness would hit me later, somewhere in a café or a restaurant.

Wednesday, December 10


For a while I thought I was lonely, that’s why I called my moto taxi guy. He picked me up from hotel V. and kissed my cheek. That was what I wanted: a distant kind of intimacy. We drove to the Eiffel Tower and had a frappuccino at Café Alma.
He spilled some coffee on the tablecloth and then he said it was my fault. When he said it I smiled, but I wasn’t sure if a stain on a tablecloth would be such a drama for me.
His appartment was clean and full of light. There were some African statues in the living room, next to a table made of glass. We drank champagne out of glasses shaped like flowers, they looked like they had not been used before. When I undressed he asked: “what is the best thing anyone has ever said to you?” and I answered: “a guy once wrote we were like two lips, unseparable. Of course we broke up straight away.” Afterwards I looked at his art collection; some French painters I had never heard of before. He played some Ben Harper and while he did I wondered if I felt fulfilled. Then he told me that he had a child, a boy who just turned thirteen. He touched my shoulders and I tried to open up to him, to tell him something personal, a small confession that would sound like a small truth. But all I wanted was to close my eyes and tell him I would leave.