Testosterone-deprived males

There are three types of males in Paris: the gay-looking homosexuals, the gay-looking heterosexuals, and men over fifty.

It is not easy being over fifty in Paris. Most men over fifty happen not to look gay, which screams that they are obviously one generation behind. They have no choice but to accept that situation for it is difficult to start looking gay after a few decades of looking straight.

Parisian males under fifty do not have such problems. They can happily look gay and have no one cast suspect that they are on the wrong side of the age hill. In Paris, gay men find themselves looking or acting gay and it is only fair. What is more surprising to the visitor is that the same pattern applies to the nongay Parisian male—who also finds himself looking and acting gay in most situations of life.

The first rule of a good Parisian male body is puniness. This objective is reached thanks to years of not exercising and not playing any sports at a competitive level. Add years of not drinking or eating in excess and the puniness grail can be reached. Check.

To cover their glorious bodies, Parisian males opt for clothes that rank somewhere between neutral and gay-looking. The beauty of a neutral piece of clothing on a puny body is that it immediately becomes gay-looking. Check. It is crucial to realize that, whether they choose to wear neutral or gay-looking clothes, heterosexual Parisian males do not have the intention to look gay. They look “bien, normal“.

Acting gay follows a similar pattern. While some homosexual males act gay for understandable reasons, visitors might be astonished at how gay heterosexual Parisian males usually act. Acting gay is to some extent a recent French habit, inherited from three decades of institutionalization of a cotton-candied, pacified vision of the world and of humans as a species. But once again, Parisians take this to the next level: when most French males outside Paris act gay on certain topics only, Parisians choose to go all the way. Gayness pervades every thought, every action. The concept of being “a real man” is vastly looked down upon for displaying far too obviously characteristics that relate to a lack of intelligence and refinement: concepts like strength, masculinity, physical power, and strong opinions or values are therefore very preoccupying in Paris. They are viewed as an open door to brutality. Parisians all agree that “Excuse-moi, mais un vrai mec, c’est pas des gros muscles, c’est d’abord quelqu’un qui peut prendre ses responsabilités tu vois“. May Parisians be fully reassured: we do voit.

At this point, one may feel compassion for the Parisian woman. Well, one should save his compassion for gay Parisian men. Gay Parisian men are probably the only people in Paris longing to see more testosterone around them. If anyone, they should be the subjects of one’s compassion. Parisian men are happy to think of themselves as beyond activities and behaviors that attest of a form of masculinity. As far as they’re concerned, Parisian women do not necessarily know any better. If their boyfriend looks gay, it is primarily because “c’est un mec hyper sympa, très fin, vraiment intelligent“. Parisian women have grown so wise that they have overcome their natural inclinations. Masculine works in magazines and in movies, but in reallife, it  is coarse and rough. End of the story. The idea that a male human could be masculine as well as being a refined person is not one la Parisienne is ready to embrace.

Indeed, examples of such phenomena in Paris are rare enough to assume that the rule of Paris is probably the rule of nature.


Stuff Parisians Like Useful tip: Do not be fooled: looking and acting gay does not equal being gay.

Sound like a Parisian:J’suis allé faire un peu de shopping: un p’tit t-shirt col V, des p’tites lunettes Kenzo et des espadrilles. Tranquille, quoi, pour l’été”…

Want more? Get the full story here…

Coming to Paris soon? Make sure to put O Chateau on your list. Join us for a wine tasting, a nice glass of wine or simply to meet the author of this silly text. It’ll be a pleasure to have you.

34 replies
  1. Mark Ina
    Mark Ina says:

    Dude, are YOU gay? Cos if you ain’t, I’m not sure you should be writing such an offensive post (and even if you are, actually)…

  2. peter newman-legros
    peter newman-legros says:

    spot on, Olivier! Perhaps I would be at home in the la vie parisienne after all, fitting, as I do, into two of your qualifying categories. Amuses me that historically the french tradition was always to presuppose all English men as being gay and yet, since living in la belle France, I am constantly, and positively, struck by how comfortable so many french men are with their feminine side giving one the impression that their behaviour is less obviously masculine. I, for one, applaud that liberty. And, of course, it is gay Paris!

  3. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Olivier, spot on, but I wonder… is this your way of communicating that you are, 1. Very buff and macho, 2., Still single, 3., Frustrated that Parisienne ladees have overlooked your considerable talents and assets? (Methinks you need a foreign girl…)

  4. David
    David says:

    Great. Just when I had my wardrobe all figured out, now you have to go and make me reconsider my fashion choices…

    (And I guess I need to figure out what to do with all my v-neck t-shirts now, too.)

  5. emily
    emily says:

    Thank you for this! American transplants to Paris have been complaining about our gaydars malfunctioning for years… and Americans who know Paris from the movies tell us its nonsense. It’s a double-edged sword when all the men in a city dress better than you do…

    Great post :)

  6. Capucine
    Capucine says:

    Hello Olivier,

    Spot on. Though, I will add something : I have also recently noticed that more and more Parisian men tried the dandy style, with bow tie, impeccable blue shirts, and tweed tailor-fitted jackets.
    I wonder if you include them in the gay category…

    For being in Italy over a year, the same thing is true. Although the working men that wear suits definitely wore them better for Italian tailors are trully artists.

    Anyhow, I agree with you : if a great appearance could come with less cowardly behaviour in Paris, I would definitely embrace the Parisian men’ gay tendency.

  7. Olivier Magny
    Olivier Magny says:

    Poulette… “Le vieux beau” – a bitter sweet character. Wonder how efficient they are with women.
    Intelo… I warmly recommend Le Marais at night for a good peek.
    Mark Ina… Classic comment – love it. What you say just epitomizes the world I do not want to live in, the world I loathe and the world I fight against. Had you read properly, your initial question should have been “Dude, are YOU a Parisian man?”. In that case, I would have responded that yes, and that posts that are offensive to Parisians is mostly what I’ve been writing on this blog for the past two years.
    Peter… Most Parisian men proudly claim that they are comfortable with their feminine side. Fewer mention their relationship with their masculine side.
    Jennifer… I’m not in the business of communicating who I am on this blog. I’m just commenting upon my city and its inhabitants. I will skip questions 2 or 3 for that very reason. But re your first point, I would like to stress that the much despised characters of the “beauf” and the “macho” (whom i’ll let you believe I’m greatly representative of if you fancy that thought) are frequently not as despicable as the person – Parisian or not – whom, in the comfortable cocoon of his absolute relativism, has let go of all of his values and moral duties (moral what?) and happily calls everyone “beauf” or “macho”. There is a form of mental resistance in these characters that I must say I care for.
    Kathleen… Thank you for the pretty funny part. Not exactly sure what American humor is. If American humor is bashing gays, then I’m not sure it’s solely American and while it can sometimes qualify as humor, it rarely does. But once again, this article is not about bashing gays.
    David… May I suggest Kenzo sunglasses? 😉
    Emily… Well… look at this post, I’ve been suspected successively to be gay and a macho. Talk about messed up radars. Besides this, merci dear. Are you trying to start a conversation about Americans who learn about the world through a screen?
    Capucine… I am overall in favor of a come back of elegance in Paris. Clearly, Northern Italian men are significantly more elegant than French men with comparable levels of education or revenues. Milanesi also love their glasses. So I guess you are going to stay in Italy for a few more years?

  8. Athena
    Athena says:

    Loved this post!! LOL.. too funny… even after all these years living here (Luxembourg) so close to France and associating with French people on a regular basis and having been to France countless times I was always baffled why and how 1) so many French men did indeed all look puny and skinny 2) and – yes, why they ended up looking slightly gay too even when they weren’t… and most of all of course why looking gay for a hetero man is a GOOD thing… now I know. lol… Thanks for enlightening me Olivier! Spot-on.. as usual…

  9. Mark Ina
    Mark Ina says:

    (tried to post a comment here earlier, didn’t work, trying again)

    Yeah… You misunderstood my comment. I don’t care about the “offensive to Parisians” part. I find your post to be offensive to gay men and the gay community in general. How about *that*?

    And, I didn’t “suspect” you of being gay. I just think that while it’s okay for a gay man to use self-derision and mock his own gayness, maybe it isn’t that acceptable for a straight man. Hence, my question.

  10. craigkite
    craigkite says:

    I would think the only people allowed to be offended by this post would be Gay Parisian Males OVER the age of 50. As we all know, this animal doesn’t exist, therefore there should be no offense taken to a satiric post. I am not sure if it is a shortage of testosterone or a simple problem with anal/cranial inversion that would lead one to take offense to a humor blog. The whole idea that one must be a card-carrying member of a specific “group” to satirize it only creates a bigger gap. I am not sure on which post Olivier declared his “orientation.” He has stated that he is a Parisian male, therefore he has every right to make any observation about them he wishes. @Mark, don’t get your banana-hammock in a bunch.

  11. Robert
    Robert says:

    It is clear to me that Olivier takes the piss out of everyone, and that’s fine with me. Very funny!

    As for Parisian men being puny – I thought it was done to make we Americans look overly large. Tell the French not to bother – we do tend toward fatness anyway.

  12. JL
    JL says:

    Hello from the American South! Funny post. I was immediately reminded of the song “Is he gay or European?” from the stage musical version of Legally Blonde. Maybe we Americans look stupid to European eyes in our athletic shoes and white socks; the song provides a good-humored poke at the view from the other side. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpFlR5t4WGw

    I hope I attached the link correctly. If not, you can just google “is he gay or european” and it comes up. Enjoy.

  13. Olivier Magny
    Olivier Magny says:

    Athena… Thank you very much. I must say I’m more baffled and saddened by the acting gay part than the looking gay part – which, for sure, is much less flagrant outside Paris.
    Mark… If you have an interest in it, may I recommend you dedicate more time to actually reading the post rather than posting comments that honestly don’t make you look too good. But to spell it out clearly, for apparently you need it:
    – I’m with Craigkite on believing that not only a certain category of people should be “allowed” by some mental police you seem to be a proud member of to mock, make fun or simply talk about that very category of people. I loathe this vision of things.
    – I also make a difference between being homosexual, which has to do with one’s sexual orientations, and being gay which clearly leaves the realm of sexual intimacy. While there is no “acting or looking homosexual” outside the bedroom, there clearly is an “acting and looking gay” that is visible outside the bedroom.
    Let me also break it down for you: I am not justifying myself here. I am just a fierce opponent of the world you seem to be an advocate of. A world of no humor, minimal thinking, readiness to jump to people’s throat, a world of closed communities, of politically correctness and of new forbidden words and thoughts. If some people are kind enough to grant me a bit of cyber-attention, this is me breaking this suffocating and fully despicable mould.
    Craigkite… Thank God, some people still make sense. Merci.
    Robert… Except for maybe Samoans, which people on Earth looks larger than Americans? When it comes to smaller than Parisians… pygmies maybe?
    JL… Thank for this. Really funny!! Made my day.

  14. Poulette
    Poulette says:

    Le Vieux Beau – i think they have the cash and the charisma. And the moves, i imagine. I remember one night i was eating with a boyfriend on the rue Mazarine, and was sent a glass of armagnac, a rose and a telephone number from the ‘gentleman at the bar’ who i happened to notice was very old, had a very young wife next to him and a young child. I think if memory serves correct, it was mother’s day, and i am sure he had picked the rose out of the bunch he had given to his wife. So they clearly have plenty of time during retirement on their side, for one.

  15. vlr
    vlr says:

    I wish I had read this before my most recent dating escapade with a Parisian “imposter”. He looked Parisian, talked Parisian, so I assumed he was Parisian. But, apparently not…

    I live in the the 3rd and your description rings true for the majority of males who live in my area. In fact, I just assume most men are gay now. Recently, I was having lunch on Rue des Archives when the male next to me – dressed in his Burberry trench, designer jeans and shoes, weighing about 45 kgs – started chatting to me. An hour later we were still talking and laughing away and he said we should get together for a coffee on the weekend. Sure enough, he calls and I tell him I have a friend from London staying with me. He says to bring her along. I’m thinking, ‘Wow, I just made a fun new friend’. We meet on the weekend, have a coffee, all goes well and we depart saying we will catch up soon. Twenty four hours later I get a message on my voicemail saying he is disappointed I brought my friend, that he wanted to “schedule” another coffee and this time “not so intellect…more physique…but, of course, with a bit of intellect”. I was still confused and laughing the next day.

    Also, it turns out he is not Parisian after all, but says he identifies himself as a Parisian. He is, in fact, from Corsica.

  16. Capucine
    Capucine says:

    Olivier, about Northern Italians : well, unfortunately this cultural fact is less and less true. Though, older people are most of the time straight on elegant, the younger generation is going for the total look of bling-bling (ripped jeans with plenty of details, over fitted T-shirts that they seem to have taken of their sisters’ closet, or tight-on shirts in best cases, with a designer belt that can display a large logo).
    I have already departed from beautiful Italy and went back to Paris for work. But I definitely enjoyed the experience and it is always fun to make comparisons between the 2 countries, that are at the same time close culturally but extremely different in some other ways.

  17. John Agee Paris
    John Agee Paris says:

    I absolutely screamed with laughter at this post. My expatriate friends and I often discuss Parisian men this way: “Is he gay, or is he just French? Because how can you tell?” I remember telling a female French friend of mine a few years back about this “phenomenon”. She didn’t seem to quite understand. She was about ready to embark on her first ever trip to the US, and I said “you’ll understand after you experience American masculinity”. She got it, all right.

    I truly enjoy your humor, looking forward to the next post!

  18. Lil
    Lil says:

    lol… this reminds me of an ex who was hit on by a guy who thought he was gay. i don’t know if i should be offended that that guy ignored me completely :p

    in any case i don’t have a well-functioning gaydar anyway, so living in paris will be an interesting adventure.

  19. yabonn
    yabonn says:

    three decades of institutionalization of a cotton-candied, pacified vision of the world and of humans as a species.

    When I subscribed to this feed, it was a good place for funny, witty observations about Parisians. It then slowly morphed into still kind of funny, but increasingly sneering observations about Parisians.

    Now it’s your Insights about the way France institutionalizes visions of the world (lolwut?) and how that explains teh ghey. Seriously, ne supra crepidam, spare the Big Thoughts.

  20. Olivier Magny
    Olivier Magny says:

    Margaret… Merci beaucoup. Glad you liked it.
    Poulette… Elegance.
    Vlr… Run!!
    Capucine… Hope to se you soon at O Chateau’s new wine bar then.
    John… Did she ever get back?
    Lil… What’s up with these men hitting on people who are obviously in a relationship?!
    Yabonn… Feel very free to unsubscribe then, as I have no intention to stick to the litany of formerly funny clichés you seem to believe this blog was once, in the good old days, about. If you think these are big thoughts (let alone mine), do yourself a favour and go easy on the quotes in latin. As per your personal attack against what you think my qualifications, culture or understanding of the world are, I will indeed spare you any explanation for they would include facts and truths you don’t seem to be ready for. Paris is plagued by people like you, people who go capital letters, latin quotes and “lolwut” in the same sentence – to stand without any form of embarrassment for their pitiful and ignorant views. I dislike these people and their attitude. Call that sneering. I call that healthy.

  21. yabonn
    yabonn says:

    no intention to stick to the litany of formerly funny clichés you seem to believe this blog was once.

    Saddest part : so it’s official, no more mister fun blog, this place now has Opinions, starting with how the instituthingy of the pacification makes you look gay, or something. One less funny thing in the world.

    Paris is plagued by people like you, people who go capital letters, latin quotes and “lolwut” in the same sentence […] their pitiful and ignorant view

    Thou shalt not lolwut and latin in the same sentence, lest thou plaguest Paris!!

    Seriously, you even retrospectively waste the pleasure I had to read the blog. I thought it was wit, now I see it was bile.

    But more to the point : I’d like to meet the “people like me” you talk about. Lolwuting and latining sounds fun! Plus we could sign you a letter saying that if we indeed lolwut and latin, it’s not, in fact, about you. So no need to get mad about it. Would that help your bile problem?

    I will indeed spare you any explanation for they would include facts and truths you don’t seem to be ready for

    Why thank you. I’m sure I wouldn’t be man enough to handle these hidden truths and facts of yours, after these thirty years being pacificated, and all that.

  22. Athena
    Athena says:

    I could have sworn I had posted something here but it seems to have disappeared! Or maybe I did something wrong and it didn’t go through… I had mentioned something about if Parisian men liked their body hair or not and if they liked getting waxed etc… (since they don’t mind looking “gay”… ) and that I had a marked preference for men au naturel and unwaxed.
    I hope my post wasn’t considered offensive and deleted!
    I would be very upset if indeed I had offended anyone (albeit inadvertently) :(

    JL – that video was hilarious! Had no idea they had made a musical out of this movie. Now I wish I could see it.

  23. Capucine
    Capucine says:

    Ce serait avec plaisir et j’aimerais beaucoup venir à l’une de vos dégustations, et particulièrement celle de grands crus. Malheureusement, l’heure à laquelle débute le cours ne me convient pas du tout; travaillant à plein temps voir plus.
    Si c’était à 18h30-19h, je pourrais me libérer, mais là c’est beaucoup trop tôt.

    Y aurait-il exceptionnellement une session organisée le samedi ou à heure un peu plus tardive ?

    Juste une question : le livre est-il également édité en anglais et distribué en France ?


  24. brad chisholm
    brad chisholm says:

    That was hilarious. Thank you. Are there no “masculine” French men in cultural life?
    Young ones at least? Yves Attal is pretty masculin. Maybe not Lino Ventura, but not bad. I’m not so up on Parisian culture, but, even in American films, gay-style men are predominant (not literally gay, but “soft”). How many credible male action guys are there? Russell Crowe, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford (aged out, now).

    The current movie stars: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Christian Bale… not very male compared to Bogart or Robert Mitchum or Bill Holden.

    I guess the question is do women care? Do men care? Thanks for a fun article.

  25. Chelsea
    Chelsea says:

    Wow, this was spot on and so, so funny!!! It makes me miss the things about Paris, and especially Parisian men, that always made me laugh. Really great blog – I’m a fan!

  26. Guyliner
    Guyliner says:

    Hey Olivier

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a long time and always enjoy it. I *do* think that this particular entry is something of a mis-step for you, though. As light-hearted as your blog always is, one shouldn’t be surprised at some taking umbrage to the suggestion that a lower level of masculinity or testosterone makes you ‘look’ or ‘act’ gay. That said, many gay men are at pains to point out that ‘gayness’ linked to being ‘camp’ is a stereotype, but camp gay men do exist; we shouldn’t deny them. They are, however, no less of a man.

    I agree with you that people “a world of no humor, minimal thinking, readiness to jump to people’s throat, a world of closed communities, of politically correctness and of new forbidden words and thoughts” would be a very poor one indeed, but perhaps homosexuals’ perceived over-sensitivity to issues like this is a product of the fact that they (or in this case, ‘we’) were oppressed for so long. You should be able to say what you like, yes, and people are entitled to challenge it. It makes for a healthier world to discuss varying points of view.

    I shall continue to read you and wish you well with the book.

  27. Jaime
    Jaime says:

    “I also make a difference between being homosexual, which has to do with one’s sexual orientations, and being gay which clearly leaves the realm of sexual intimacy. While there is no “acting or looking homosexual” outside the bedroom, there clearly is an “acting and looking gay” that is visible outside the bedroom.”

    I just wanted to point out something about the above statement, which is your own quote. I’m not sure if you (Olivier) are very familiar with American ways of thinking/ definitions, but “gay” is understood to be “homosexual,” as in the sexuality. I think maybe what you mean by “gay” is “metrosexual” to Americans, which is the phenomenon of men being highly conscious about their appearance and behavior. “Mark Ina,” if he is American, was offended by this article probably because homosexuals in America are often stereotyped and bullied for acting “gay” and he thought that you were doing the same thing.
    I just wrote this to try to clarify what I think is a simple terminology miscommunication.

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