So last night we went to a friend’s house, a couple we know, for dinner. It was a very mature plan, they cook the dinner, we bring the wine, topics as wide ranging as television to feminist literature are discussed, then we say goodnight and leave for home at a reasonable hour. And for the most part this arrangement came to fruition in a very precise manner save a few minor derailments, which should have been expected by me as well as you, because lets face it, I wouldn’t be mentioning it otherwise.
When we got there all was good. Their loft near Carroll Gardens was impressive and spacious. The music selection was hip and cutting edge, and leaked into the room in a soft, unobtrusive volume. L-peepers noticed the dvd set to Lost, and that got a spirited conversation going, as all of us have just recently discovered the show and are absolutely obsessed with it. The wine was plentiful; the aromas of dinner were thick and inviting, the lighting was soft and easy, just beyond a candles gentle illumination, but without any of the distracting flickering.
But it was during dinner that things almost went off course.
Let me first explain to you that my friends husband is French. Very French. I mean, this guy is THE guy that you think of when you think of a French guy. He is never without a cigarette hanging from his frowning mouth, ever. It is rare that he is without a cup in his hand, filled with either wine, coffee, or ashes. He has a nihilistic oulok on life, seeing it as a long series of empty hours, each one bleaker than the one before. One time, an outdoor summer celebration we were all at, he climbed into the pool and began wading around, WITH HIS CIGARETTE STILL IN HIS MOUTH. No lie. That’s how French he is. I rather like the guy.
To put in perspective his relationship with my one and only L-bubbles, when they first met he explained to her, with grave solemnity and a cigarette in his mouth, that exercise was stupid. I think he went so far as to say, between blowing thick clouds of nicotine smoke in her face, “health was a passing fad, and a silly one at that.”
Now, you have to realize that exercise and health are top priorities in my L-crunches life, she does teach pilates for a living, mind you. So to actually say this to her set the precedent on all future conversations between the two. He would say something completely absurd, and she would look at him as if he was ridiculous. I think there is a respect she has for him for even thinking, let alone having the courage to say, such preposterous ideas. I think she just figured that it was cute and entertaining. Afterall when you here these things come from his mouth in such a heavy French accent, you cant help but chuckle a little inside.
Well last night he really laid one out for us at the table. After dessert, and an a few cigarettes and sips of cognac, he declared, in all seriousness, that there was no such thing as maternal instinct prior to the 1930’s. He said this in front of two women, both 30 years old and probably experiencing a longing for a child more intensely than any other moment in their lives, and he said it with the same nonchalance one would reserve for statements such as “kittens are cute when they are sleeping” or “this sandwich is tasty, but needs more bacon.” Saying this at this table is almost as bad as saying that the holocaust was a hoax at, well, at this table. You can only imagine how it one went over.
No wine glasses were smashed, no hair was pulled, the arms of sweaters were not ripped off in fury, blood was not shed and eyeballs were not poked. But voices were raised and heads shook in disbelief. Tones were taken and shock was expressed. After a while I just threw my hands up and accepted that he had read some articles and decided that they were correct. I could not come up with any other reason for him making such a ridiculous statement. I mean sure, some aspects of motherly love are learned, and there have been many occasion where mothers have been disturbingly cruel to their children, even some anomalies where a mother has killed her child. But maternal instinct not being natural? Id like you to say that to a bear while you run away with her cub, I’ll be hiding in the bushes.
In any case, we all kissed goodnight and expressed gratitude and appreciation for one another. They are good people, as is he, the frenchie. And they let us borrow their Office DVD so that’s a point for them. I like the French, and so does L-boombox. Sometimes you know, they are just a little bizarre.