Foreword: I know that I am making some sweeping generalizations about the French and I do appologize if I offend anyone.
Politics and money: these are two subjects that are often taboo at a French table.
People often ask me about American salaries. But it's often in a way that makes me talk about my own salary. Salary is not something French people like to discuss with others because many French people are suspicious and jealous. It's somehow engrained in the culture. Everyone's a potential thief in France so lock your doors, don't leave anything visible in your car and don't ever let a stranger see into your front hall because it could be the taxman checking to see if you lied about having a TV so you wouldn't have to pay your annual TV tax.
Politics is a rather strange taboo since the French are so passionate about being right (and self-righteous). For instance, we know that my in-laws are liberal but they never told us who they voted for for President even though we know they never would have voted for Sarko. Same for my husband. When I asked him who he voted for, knowing full well it was Royal, he hesitated. So this American election year in France has been full of French people breaking taboos. Granted, I went on TV and said I support Obama, have been wearing a button for a couple weeks, have an Obama-Biden sticker on my bike, a poster at my desk...need I go on? But still, in meetings, people have no problem asking me about my political preference, assuming I'm for Obama. And what if I wasn't?
I had this email from a nice professional contact I've met twice in my inbox this morning :
I want to congratulate you for the interview you gave on the regional channel, but moreover for this great election allowed by the people of
God bless the
Somehow being foreign negates the taboos. Which makes me wonder : does one taboo negate another? Like a double negative?
Anyway, I am overjoyed, elated, hopeful and yes, no longer embarrassed to be American! I can hold my head up high and hope that Obama will successfully repair damaged relationships, forging friendships where W made enemies.