Non Madame – Parisians Know How to Say No
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Bonjour Mesdames et Messieurs!
Parisians know how to say no. I lost count of the times Heather and I were given a polite but firm no over the past ten days.
Me (in a restaurant): “Can we sit here?”
Waiter: “Non Madame.”
Heather (en francais, in grocery store): “Can I pay for my groceries in this line?
Cashier: “Non Madame.”
Random tourist in front of Sainte Chapelle: “Can I go in the church?”
Security guard: “Non Madame.” (fair enough – it was closing for a concert)
Sometimes the reason for the no is clear; other times not so much. But it doesn’t matter. No is no. I love it. As a woman who has struggled with the art of saying no for (gulp) half a century, I loved the ease with which the Parisians could do so – politely, firmly and with no obligation to provide an excuse or reason.
So when the cashier at the boulangerie around the corner from our sweet little VRBO (Mon Petit Maison) tried to give me a tattered and torn 5 euro bill in change, I shook my head, smiled and said, “Non Madame.”
She was NOT pleased. But you know what? That’s just too damn bad. If you can give a no, you can take one, too.
And that, mes amis, is a little lesson on boundaries for today 🙂
Here are some more photos from the ever so lovely (except when the streets are on fire during protests, as they were the night before we left) Paris:
A few more Paris photos to come in next week’s blog…
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Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.