by charlie.frances

Already off to a rough start. The sun is out in this grumpy city, putting a smile on foreigners faces & even natives alike. Dubbed Le O’Paris, a play on words in reference to ‘haut’  (high/elevated & pronounced ‘o’), this café overlooks l’est side of Paris. A beautiful view beginning with a deep plunge onto Parc de Belleville  and spanning all the way to Le tour Eiffel. The outside patio has everyone in this quartier out for the day, soaking in perhaps the only Vitamin D available pre-juin. Arguably, all cafes would be ideal work-week wise to get some blogging or studying in, but that sort of defeats the purpose of making dimanche meaningful. Plus, we all need a bit of hustle-bustle in our lives.  You don’t choose this city for it’s calming demeanor (which I have yet to discover) but to be amongst tout le monde.

Madison & I are profiter-ing nonetheless. Scanning the café for a menu, I hear the best words to date on a Sunday : Is that 2 euros for wine…? The answer is : oui. But try talking to the waitress about that at 15h40 in the afternoon. No judgment passed, but like hell if you can grab her attention. A man with his 4-ish year old daughter sitting next to us just ordered a beer, so nothing’s out of the ordinary in this part of the café. Since the red liquid has already begun, I see this blog being quite a bit smaller than the rest.

Attn : This is a week involving lots of background stories about men. You’re welcome. 

The work-week:

Last week’s flow left me in some sort of terrible mood that warranted attention territory. I made sure to keep mental notes in order to maintain composure when answering texts/engaging in social interactions. I spent some time at Ellie’s earlier in the week working through tough copain decisions, but my patience these days for men has been minimal at best. Why not be excited about being single & independent ? Never too much of a Beyonce fan (aside from Diva, because I mean, come’on), the only way I can describe my current mindset is bold female based. In the end things got all sorted out & girl power was able to take over the conversation once again.

Earlier on in the week, I decided to make the soup I’d been preparing several days in advance. Kind of a big deal because I haven’t cooked raw meat in about, let’s say, 5 years. For obvious reasons I had a couple glasses of wine before the chicken part started. I began my preparation by talking to myself. Now, you can do this. You’ve even had a drink for fuckssake. Just pick it up, remove the skin & toss it in. Instead, I made weird faces, demanded my empty kitchen why is it still bleeding ?! yelped & threw it in boiling water.  That’s cooking for you folks. Ellie came by as moral support, or maybe just to see what the big fuss was all about. I won’t lie. I bet it was quite the site to see. At least a good news article could be run with it. GIRL GETS DRUNK IN KITCHEN, HOME ALONE, IN ORDER TO MAKE SOUP. Anyways. After a bottle of wine & hearing Ellie talk a bit about her ex, I thought s’bout time I texted mine. Sans expectations, especially since I’ve been a good girl & never drunk texted him before, je vous jure ! the following hasty message was sent.

I don’t think I told you enough (or ever) that coming to (this city)  was the best decision of my life. Thank you !

And thank you Tuesday for being such a day of belligerence. Of course he didn’t respond with What was I thinking ?!?! I need you back in my life ! Or Oh really ? Well let’s just stay here together than, shall we ? Which I don’t think I would have even wanted. But it goes without saying, ex’s are always a tricky bunch. I’ve never had an ex that I knew I would never see again. Despite all hopeful wishing during the break-up period. With Jack, we have geographical distance on our side. Best & worst ending ever. It is such a scary thing to think about for a girl that thrives on consistency (despite my deepest regards for change). Such a hypocrite, but sometimes I like to think we all are. I can’t imagine not ever seeing someone again in my life. Especially someone that at some point meant so much to me. But maybe that’s what growing up is all about. Figuring out how to be yourself even though you lose so many and so much of others along the way.

I feel as if there needs to be a mention of Valentine’s Day at some point. But I don’t really see how it was much different from the rest. I came home, ate a bit of junk food, had too much wine & went to bed. My only real celebration was buying Furaha & Nia some goodies because it is Valentine’s Day but I got a bit of a scolding from the parents. Something along the lines of being too nice to the girls. Ahh, live a little. Valentine’s Day should also be noted as Charlotte’s 30th birthday. She made a big deal earlier in the year about not liking to tell people her birthday or making a big fuss over it. But again it is her birthday. So I found a rose & a raspberry tart & called it good. Next week’s blog will be more heavily roommate based, but I won’t get into that whole ordeal now because I need to build up my fan-base. And the easiest way to do that is mention more about Les Mens. 

Sadly I’m here to disappoint & say that there was no real male trauma this week. I finally saw Mister Fancy Man again after too many texts & even more bails (on both ends) and that as nice. I’m starting to go back on my word when I said that Mister Fancy Man dodged a bullet with the nice adjective. Poor fellow is sinking deeper & deeper into it’s description & I can’t manage to find myself gaining any interest. Man at Bar 2 is still being a jerk & a half with private messages that range from I guess your bra is mine now to I really want to have drinks with you again. You got to pick which game you’re playing here, son. Mister Twirler also sent me a rather heart-breaking message on Valentine’s Day. Something along the lines of do you remember me ? Would you let me buy you a drink, tea, or hell, hot chocolate tonight ? Poor fellow just can’t seem to get it through his head that despite my culture’s take on portraying every American youth as a whore, I just don’t buy into that scene. Sorry buddy, but no pity sex for you. When I first met him at the Merry-Go-Round with Nia & Furaha, he skated over, mentioned something about me being the babysitter & talked for about a million hours. Or well, for however long I was stuck with him because I couldn’t just walk off with the girls spinning around on some sickly sadistic machine. He brought up the army talk & asked what I thought about it. What sort of conversation starter is that ? Maybe some people have extreme views on the army, but I haven’t spent many of my nights getting all too heated about it, so I just sort of shrugged & said : Bah, meah-hah-meeeeh, baaahbooop. What else is there really to say ? Ultimately I’m really not too bothered by Les Mens ces jours because I’ve been down this road before. Up until about December I had been pre-occupied with one guy entirely, but never managed to work up the nerve to get my feelings out in the air. After a disappointing turn of events pre-vacances, I picked myself up with the start of 2013 by agreeing to men I would have bailed on in the past. Not necessarily living the dream, but I am living. And that’s the most important bit, right ?

The weekend

Friendly Friday began with Madison & I scurrying over for free wine. I’ve been making such an effort to see what type of happy-haps are going on, & by doing so stumbled upon a terrific new thing : le wine-down. Free & open to all, a little cave in the 6th prepares several bottles to share  with a couple accompanying nibblers. When we first arrived, there was a total of 2 people in the place drinking. Hesitant, but also thinking, meeeeeh we walked in. I paraded around with some obnoxious french, starting off by stating facts On est ici pour le wine-down ! followed by what I thought would create witty banter Bah, c’est notre premier fooooois….Of course everyone there was anglophone so all jokes aside, we buckled down & got on with the anglais front. Turns out the one & only girl there knew Constance. Let’s hear it for colleagues ! Take note of the small world connections starting here because the weekend becomes gradually more & more saturated with them.

Boadicea & her friend in town met up with us, but we moved quickly back to chez moi after purchasing 2 bottles of wine for under 20E (normally, quite an easy feat, but we decided to put away our hobo acts & splurge after having been given 2 free glasses). Things got a bit rowdy as our numbers increased : Madison, Boadicea, her friend & then Ellie. I recall dancing being involved, but that may have just been Madison’s Robyn technique she pulled off like no big thing (see minute 1.26 – 1.30). The goal was to meet up with Charly Italiana, so we packed ourselves up after a couple confusing communications & headed off to Pigalle.

I’d been making a point to see Charly Italiana because our schedules this term are really inconvenient for round ups. Last semester we could always find ourselves outside smoking together or shrugged over our laptops in the library. This semester I’m lucky if our paths cross once in 2 weeks. It’s really about time I send a complaint to the directors of this school. Anyways. We got ourselves to the right destination & took over two booths at a relatively mellow bar (or rather, mellow for a vendredi soir). Charly Italiana wasn’t up to her usual self, so we kept things calm on our side & let the typical drunk talks flow. Unfortunately my crew was stationed at the other booth where all the embarrassing stories took place. Madison began climbing over people at one point, which for some reason is always quite hilarious when drunk. The waiters felt no shame in their blatant hatred for us & kept repeating in the most degrading tone, S’il vous plait, MLLE ! But  come’on, we all know the french are no fucking fun. For some reason I was everyone’s idea of a perfect gift that night, so Madison brought out her polka dotted tape twice & wrapped me up. Once before leaving & once at the bar. She was in prime location to turn around & pin me down with her love, & for what it was, that tape was surprisingly strong. Lots of pictures exist somewhere of this great moment. The evidence may or may not make it’s way onto the inter-web. 

Slightly Soûl Saturday, I woke up feverishly at 7am, fretting the place up with my thesis anxiety. I’d been home for an entire 4 hours & already turned on the panic mode. Considering my options, (1) go for a run, (2) listen to calming music, (3) drink tea (4) yoga & heavy breathing, I found myself quickly falling back to sleep again. Thinking too much always does the trick. The overall goal of Slightly Soûl Saturday was to not get terribly wasted & I did a pretty damn good job of sticking to my guns. The girls rode up to GBAR where the music never fails to satisfy all our guilty pleasures. Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Kanye West, etc. Mix in a couple of today’s hottest hipsters (i.e. XXYYXX) & you’ve got yourself a jam. I started off feeling a bit out of sorts. For some reason I’ve been playing a heavy victim card these days & feel a bit left out with certain people. We all go through these moments, but people that were good call-ups in the past seem harder to reach or to have moved onto other crowds. I keep getting the feeling that I’m becoming rather bothersome to some of my friends, or they’re getting annoyed about the things I have to say or how I say them. That in turn only seems to make me that much more weird & obnoxious (a natural reaction to pretty much everything). But to get out of those negative feelings, I try to push thoughts aside, grab full glasses of alcohol & chuckle it up with Ellie. We all have our ways. And those ways should include setting silly emotions aside & getting on to the good bits, because at the end of the day moping doesn’t get you anywhere. And my mind has a way of playing tricks on me, so no need to get all mixed up up there.

While at GBAR, Mister Mysterious walked in. I let my jaw drop & heard Aideen say Aw. We’ve lost her !, rightfully so. And off we go with the Mister Mysterious backstory. After vendredi’s seminar, Emile & I were having a bit of a catch up over lunch. We were talking about relationships, a conversation I typically like to avoid because, what do I know ? Mid-conversation, over walked Mister Mysterious. I’ve seen Mister Mysterious a couple times around school & always try to be subtle with my eye movements. He’s just one hell of a looking guy. Almost my type, he has the dark curly hair, dark eyes, & sometimes dark scruff. I know all you girls just sighed right there. He’s not as grungy as I like them, but aren’t I just one picky bitch ? During a pause, I mentioned what a sight I just saw to Emile. For unknown reasons, he told me I wasn’t very exigeant & that my tastes were leading me down a road of unfortunate looking men. For obvious reasons, I concluded Emile was jealous. Always a rational one ! Anyways. I didn’t want Emile to lean in too close during our conversation because he happens to be an exceedingly good looking man with a longterm girlfriend, so didn’t want Mister Mysterious to get any wrong ideas. When we went out for a smoke, Mister Mysterious came by & asked for a light & I couldn’t stop beaming from ear to ear. Emile just rolled his eyes, but that’s what you get for having girl friends. After Emile left to catch his train, I went into the library & sat at the open spot next to Mister Mysterious. Remember when I said that thing about living ? Well, I’m still doing it. So there I was, in a practically empty library, snuggling up to a man I don’t know & probably hasn’t noticed how often our paths cross. I’m mostly okay with that. I shot Emile a text saying I sat my pretty ass right next to Mister Mysterious & his only response was some sort of emotocon. Lame. 

But Slightly Soûl Saturday caused even further rupture in our paths. For such a large city, this place has become disturbingly small. Or maybe fate’s just bored & trying to shake things up a bit. Anyways. Nothing came of the fact that we were both in the same bar & the ladies plans were elsewhere, so off we all went. We ended up at Fab & Valentin’s place for a house party / former Harlem Shake production. It was a predominantly french speaking party so the anglophones huddled in a corner thinking of ways to mess around with the sound system. As if being at a mostly french speaking party wasn’t bad enough (for my own insecure ramblings that I produce at them, not because they’re ever a bad place to be), the entire play list was terrible oldies that no one should ever know, but unfortunately these people did. I snuck into Fab’s room & started loading Where Do You Go by No Mercy. Perhaps I should have taken some band advice, but I waited it out until it seemed that no one would be missing the terrible french music or those singing along were no longer vocal. That never happened, so my shot at being thaaat girl for the night never actually materialized. Valentin was being overthetop weird, but I suppose you only get that way if you’ve got some sort of regret or unsettling feelings about how you’ve acted in the past. Our story started cute, but ended quite abruptly, for no real reason or cause for alarm. I thought things just fizzled & moved on, however every time I see him now he makes a big to-do about why he never got back to me or feels that flirting is still appropriate. Aideen gave me some major ego-boosters as we took the last metro back home together. You played it really cool around Valentin. I can’t believe how awkward he was being. Men. Amiright ?

Side-note Sunday the terrible professor that harassed me in front of the class a couple weeks ago mid-presentation came into Le O’Paris. Despite him being known for his jerk-like tendencies (amongst students & faculty), he’s also disturbingly attractive in a peppered hair & leather jacket sort of way. Plus, who doesn’t love an under-dog ? This man isn’t bitter, degrading or rude for no reason. Well, okay, he is French. But when you get him one-on-one he really is the epitome of what a man should be. Maybe I just like them ruthless, who knows. However this professor has his own sort of charm & should not be knocked around for being the bad guy. Especially on his days off. But what are the chances ?


WORK WEEK : Useless emoting aside, carnivore cooking is not & perhaps never was my forte. More of a weekend review but, always be wary of how you carry yourself everywhere. Despite being in one of the world’s largest hubs, paths cross more than one would expect, so be sure not to burn any bridges.

FRIENDLY FRIDAY : pre-pre free drinks at La Derniere Goutte, pre-drinks chez Charlie & then la balle at the always appropriate Long Island Bar.

SLIGHTLY SOUL SATURDAY : L\INCONNU, or in colloquial terms, GBAR


A mélange of wooden table benches & metallic round tables, cheap wine (potentially. we have yet to pay) & live jazz, Le O’Paris is nearly perfect. Nearly. The staff is a difficult crowd to please & one never really knows how to sit down or order. The layout is perhaps one of the more unusual as large metal poles divided an already obscurely cut room. The clientele is never-ending, with people appearing to pop out from under tables, behind chairs or bleeding out of the bar. Families, young children & a large international population, Le O’Paris caters to all. Just be patient. And persistent.

CAFE MUSIC (personal) : Madison’s sweet voice. Clinker-clanker. Gibberish from the nearest neighbors & live jazz.

CAFE MUSIC (establishment) :  inaudible, unless we’re going with the BIG-BANG (or was it STOMP related ?) theory. Glasses breaking, sinks running, ATTENTION !-screaming & fast paced walking. But if you stick around, you’ll find yourself immersed with live music. Nice addition to a daytime buzz.

CAFE DU JOUR : (1) café & (2) verre du vin rouge heeeeey.

NOT TO MISS : le vin. les sofas. the international crowd & the 17h00 jazz crew that sets up in one of the less crammed corners.

SORRY TO SAY : The staff is typically French, leaving an individual to stand around aimlessly wondering where to claim their corner. Ordering isn’t the easiest either.

FOR MORE CAFE INFO: http://www.le-o-paris.com/