Stereotype has it that French women put a lot more effort into attracting and keeping their men than do we British (as La Frog says: "You Ingleesh girls, you are sooo aggressiive."). Stereotype also has it that French men are a naughty, unfaithful bunch; the latter stereotype explaining the former. If true I'm in deep doo-doo as a Briton married to a Frenchman, but it would explain a lot about French 'feminism'.
I have no idea if these things are innate or acquired, down to nature or nuture, but even at her tender age La Fille has been demonstrating, how should I put it?... an original approach to the opposite sex. She has been spoiled for attention by my friends' boys over the last few days. She adores all three of them, but this time took a special shine to the middle one; a beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed eight-year-old chap with freckles. Early the other morning when all four children were huddled under a duvet on the sofa watching a DVD, I saw Middle Boy tuck his head on to La Fille's shoulder while she stroked his flaxen hair. They have been walking the streets with us hand-in-hand drawing Aaahs and smiles from stony-faced passers-by. We have have been fortunate with the weather, but these two were our very own little sunbeams.
Then Middle Boy abandoned La Fille to set about wheedling an ice-cream out of his father. La Fille called after him; loud, increasingly plaintiff wails, drawing the last syllable of his name out with all the agony of a mini Juliette. But he would not come back. I whispered to her: "Let him go". I said to him: "She's not used to being dumped". It made no difference; he was on a mission and besides he and I knew it was not entirely true. He dumped her at the Science Museum too.
La Fille changed tack. She marched right up to him, pulled him round to face her and screamed: "HOLD MY HAND." The panic-stricken lad looked at his mother then, realising he was on his own, stuck out his arm as instructed. I wonder if it would work for me.
The move to France was only supposed to be for a couple of years, not forever. Then I met The Frenchman. Then I had La Fille. Now there's no way back. But La Fille, to whom a horse is a cheval and a frog is just pond life is still half English. So before the Gallic nation claims her for its own, sprinkles her with garlic, sautés her and swallows her up whole we make regular escapes on the Eurostar. And we have discovered the grass is various shades of green either side of the Channel.