For Parisians, it is the City of Relationships. Every Parisian is in a relationship. That relationship is more or less official, more or less successful, but it always is. Consequently, there is simply no singles scene in Paris. If sexual tension is what makes a city fun, Paris has officially become the most boring city in the world.
All young Parisians are in relationships. For them, the main reason to be in a relationship is simply not to be single. Most young Parisians are averse to life: they see most things as threats, most risks as primarily dangerous, most singular paths as awfully unsafe. Danger for them is around every corner. They view relationships are round little things with no threatening corners; the threats of a relationship they feel they master and choose—this feeling is a reassuring one. Therefore their relationships are long-lasting ones. Not quite good enough to get married, not quite bad enough to break up.
Being single after the age of twenty-six is the clear indication of a troubled mind. If not a troublemaker, that person has got to be a trouble seeker. While the English language has the good taste of distinguishing “alone” from “lonely,” French only offers seul. Not being in a relationship means being seul. The threatening shadows of loneliness, only darkened by the local inexistence of celibacy.
Most surrounding elements create the perfect scenario for a life of romantic dissatisfaction: absence of a singles scene leads to sticking with the wrong person, which itself leads to many a frustration, which inevitably—in a nonreligious city—leads to divorces and breakups a few years down the road. Older Parisian men who still have a form of moral and religious grounding do nonetheless stick with their spouses (unless it is the other way around). They like to flirt and compliment beautiful women—which usually amuses the French and shocks foreigners. That charming France—sadly—is vanishing.
Courting is no longer a Parisian habit. The only way Parisian men like to play it is safe. Parisian women on the other hand, caught in the double obligation to be neither sluts nor single, become undesirable. Absence of flirtation becomes the norm after the age of twenty-six.
The dry local environment inhibits natures and ambitions. Ironically enough, as Parisians are more and more in relationships, they become less and less likable. Which, needless to say, makes them stick to their relationships even more.
Useful tip: If you have a vague fantasy about Parisians, rest assured, the few that do not follow the pattern explained above usually end up with foreigners. Those are the wise ones.
Sound like a Parisian: “Ils sont ensemble depuis cinq ans. . . . Ouais, ça se passe bien je crois. . . . Non, ils sont pas mariés, non non.”