As a new arrival from Australia said to me recently:
“I love living in Switzerland. Here I can put on a jacket and a scarf and not be considered a poof.”
In true Swiss style they watch then take a little from everywhere: Italian belt or shoes; French accessories; shirts from the UK, and hey presto they are the biggest managers of the world’s private wealth. How did that happen? I suppose the secret is not to explore your feminine side too far.
The thing about Swiss men, aside from the just-right sartorial elegance, is that they are a bit dead from the neck down. They don’t seem to notice women and have yet to master the art of flirting. When I look up the Swiss-French vernacular for flirting “draguer” in the dictionary this is what it says: “To fish with a dragnet; to dredge; mines to sweep; to drag” and only finally as an after-thought, “to chat up.” Now that is proof that they have their priorities wrong. Work and food before love/flirting.
I made a joke the other day with a Swiss workman who was changing the water tank in a friend’s office. “The fountain of Youth” is what I meant to say, referring to his lovely water, but because my brain doesn’t always work the way it should in French, it came out as the “Fountain of Orgasm” (jouissance instead of Jeunesse)….everyone looked very embarrassed. Back in the UK this would have been acceptable banter and would have gone on all night. My Swiss workman scurried out the door à grande vitesse home to get his dindins.
I like going back to the U.K. for many reasons: being able to have a nice chat with a stranger and not be considered a psychopath for one but also because I get the odd admiring look – especially if I have been to the hairdressers – you men are suckers for straight shiny hair. The same happens in France as well as Italy where young and old women are shown the same appreciation.
The day I met my husband he gave me a serious and no doubt excellent run down of the employment market in the Geneva area, along with an exploration of the issues surrounding the housing market for that decade, whilst I gazed longingly into his eyes. A lesson on how to pick up a woman Swiss-German style. Mind you so smitten was I, I was willing to be dragged, mine swept, dredged or whatever he had in mind.
So why do Swiss men lack appreciation of the female form? I asked he who was closest to hand and happens to be Swiss (he’s stopped lecturing now thank god.)
My at home Mr. Switzerland tried to duck out with a “I’m not representative” then hearing my guffaws,”You scare them”, he said. I tried again reminding him of his DNA. ”I haven’t a clue,” he said with his head in the cheese compartment of the fridge which made me suspicious – maybe my Swiss hubby was having an affair with our five day old Brie aux Truffes. Over dinner and a glass of wine he came out with the following nugget: “It’s all behind closed doors. Don’t forget these Calivinists are very uptight so it has to be very huis clos.”
I agree with him on that. Over the years we have a little saying we use to describe friends whom we suspect of having mistresses - ”a Geneva arrangement.”
So the sneaky Swiss eh? At least my man is only a cheese lover and although his flirting is about as elegant as a grimy dredger next to Chateau Chillon, he still does it for me in a plain white t-shirt, bare feet and a pair of faded Levis.
Copyright Jules Ritter November 2007