My Frenchness – which I prefer to call, in this context, ‘Frenchitude’ – leads to some weird expectations from me on the part of most of my American acquaintances and friends. Being stereotyped can be a bit annoying and I feel that it is part of my duty to educate American folks about ‘real’ French people.
With the release of Dany Boon’s blockbuster movie Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis in 2008, it suddenly became very hip to be from northern France and to be able to understand and speak the ch’ti dialect. For those of you who do not know what a Ch’ti is, this term designates a native of northern France – it is a contraction of the term Ch’timi, coined during WWI by soldiers to designate their peers from northern France, because, in their dialect, the pronouns “toi” and “moi” would become “ti” and “mi”.
Americans who invite you into their home for the first time will often, in a grand display of pride of home ownership, give you a tour of their place – of course, once more, this does not always hold true, but it’s a fairly common practice. This happens only very rarely in France. A French person’s home is his or her private space and, as such, it is not to be shown to strangers or friends, unless they are extremely close friends.