April 2, 2019

Food for Thought

You should know at least one gay Frenchman who tells you exactly what he sees in you. I don’t mean questions like “Do I look fat?” You have mirrors for that. I mean how you talk, move, and even think. You need a gay Frenchman to act as a personality mirror.

Americans are known to be direct but only for objective matters, like right and wrong that can be determined in a court of law, or in a scientific lab. As long as they think they can back it up with reason, they act confidently.

But for subjective matters, it’s hard to get straight answers from Americans, because they assume there is always a right, rational answer for every question, like what the best wine is. If they have what they think is the right answer, they might tell you but otherwise they will give you some evasive answers that reveal as little as possible about their idiosyncrasies. They can’t just tell you the wine they like the best. They think the answer should be objective. Americans think everyone should behave rationally and correctly, hence the popularity of political correctness.

The French make no apology for what they like or don’t like. Americans assume that this French confidence is coming from knowing the right answers, but in truth, the French don’t know anymore than Americans do, even about wines. The French are able to confidently tell you what they like and don’t like, because they don’t feel it needs to be backed up by reason. They have a better understanding of the nature of subjectivity.

Americans cannot act as a personality mirror because they worry that their answers might be incorrect, because they think there is an objective and accurate way to perceive someone’s personality. They are afraid that, if their perception is wrong, it could hurt someone. So, they evade or lie. On the receiving end too, Americans are hurt because they believe the answers are objective.

Gay men are more unapologetic about their likes and dislikes than heterosexual men because they have to defy the societal norms to stand up for their own.

The Evil Queen in Snow White didn’t need the Magic Mirror; a gay Frenchman would have sufficed.