Escaping Paris and Francois – Week-end in Ghent

This past week-end I escaped the city of the Francois and took the bus to the land of banana beer. You heard me. Banana beer. Absolutely delicious, trust me, try it. It also happens to be where my cousins live and since I don’t see them nearly as often as I should, and am currently in a geographically advantageous distance from them, I really had no excuse but to go for a weekend visit. Also I try to make it there every ten years or so and it was that time of the decade.

Escaping all those Francois was just one reason for the escape from Paris. The cousins the second. Why the need to escape the Francois? Well, I am slowly discovering the number of men on dating apps who are completely incapable of carrying a conversation beyond “Comment tu vas?” or who simply consider it perfectly okay to answer a question with a statement and just leave it at that. As if it’s my job to ask question after question, like they were the most interesting people on the planet. Spoiler alertthey are not! Rather the opposite if I am honest. But it’s baffling how genuinely boring some people are. Not in general. Just boring to me. Or perhaps it is in general. As I am sure I am to them.

But I’m a journalist so sure, I ask questions and make sure the Francois for the evening get’s to tell his life story, and I follow up with a smile in all the right places. Perfectly concealing the fact that I am not listening to a single word coming out of their mouth. Because that’s my super power. Looking interested and pleasant while letting the words go in one ear and out the other. All the while secretly wondering how I ended up on yet another date with a guy who has absolutely no sense of common politeness or even observation. Because they can’t see that the person on the other side of the table is bored out of their mind. And politeness is that if you are asked a question, you ask a question in return. Reciprocity – is a very old concept – guys, look into it.

Also I discovered that there is an unsettling number of men who are so concerned for my well-being, that they swipe right, only to ask me how I am doing, before dropping off the face of the earth. Then there’s those who lie about their age and use pictures of someone else or pictures from ten years ago. Neither of which are okay or even acceptable. Next time I stand face to face with a Francois who is so obviously a completely different person than on his online profile, I am just going to stand up and leave. My new very direct exit strategy revealed. Instead of smiling my way through the first drink and then explaining that I have dinner plans.

So there you have the reason for the escape from Paris. Which resulted in a long weekend in Belgium, visiting family and even getting a private tour of the city of Ghent by my cousin and her fancy neighbor. The neighbor not being only fancy but also contributing with some historic knowledge about the city. Besides learning a thing or two and a fruity beer tasting, I also got to try a Ghent specialty of fries with beef stew, and flavored gin.

All in all, a successful visit and with the sun even making a surprise visit. Making me ready to head back home to Paris and continue dealing and wheeling with the city.

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