Saturday, May 31, 2008

Write Like the French, Kiss Like the French

When done right, with measure and wit, humor and modesty, love letters are entertaining and inspiring. Sometimes gems of grammatical gymnastics too. I mean, you need to get your hands on a couple of lettres gallantes from 17th century Madame de Sévigné to appreciate the charm and irreverence that can go on a piece of paper. So, when written by someone who knew what they were doing, sure, love letters make my inner Chihuahua high-five her tail.

But mostly, love letters make me cringe.

I liken it to couples holding hands and looking deeeeeeeply into each others’ eyes over the restaurant table. I’ve never understood the need for that. As if the more they “shared” their love with the unwitting public, the deeper the feeling. To me, it’s like peanut butter, the less you fear you have, the more you spread it around...

There was this one time on a cruise ship a couple of years ago, I was sitting on one of those long chairs with the blanket (just like in the movies, man, I was impressed) and reading when wet sounds pulled me out of my story. I look around and see this couple (not teens, folks in their forties or something...adults) sitting by the pool feeding each other food from their respective plates then kissing. I’m talking the deep-throat exploration kind. Tongues like goddamn excavators. My first reaction was “Mfft!” and a snort of disbelief. Like, come ON! I don't think it was the public display that made me snort the most, but how they seemed to be playing this game where the one who showed his True Love the most would win something. Sex, is my bet, but I could be wrong. Or, maybe I'm just a cynic. Oh well, I'll live.

So to me, love letters are like that, just a weeeee bit over the top. I think they had an important role back when people had nothing else with which to communicate over long distances. I would’ve been just as happy as the next medieval gal to get a letter, any letter, from my man on the other side of the country/crusade/war/whatever.

Although I think that love letters are still with us, but have mutated, shortened. E-mails, Instant Messages, Text Messages...ever seen a bunch of IMs from teen lovers? Damn, they might use shorter words (or made-up words, for that matter), but the sentiments expressed are the same as those of Madame de Sévigné’s time.

Not for me, love letters. But I say to those who enjoy them, write, baby, write! And tell them you *heart* them!

Want to hear a bit of French reading from a great love story about a ménage—yes, a MÉNAGE—in 14th century Louvre (where the court used to be held before Versailles was built)?! Hell yeah!! It’s the story of a young woman of humble origins who appears at the court for the first time, catches the prince’s eye, who asks to marry her. She says, “WOODAM, like YAWHH!” Okay, she might have said “Oui, votre majesté” instead. Then enters the duke de Nemours, famed for his good looks and...er...big sword. He falls for her too. Falls hard. What’s a girl to do?! Take the two!

Click on this image to reach the French audio book, then once at the site, click where I've put the red arrow. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Nicole Austin said...

I'm always amazed how much the kids can say in their IM message with just a few keystrokes. They have their own language. LOL!