I’m a Bit of a Loner. But That’s Ok With Me.

In I am... on October 4, 2010 at 8:13 am

The Paris Experiment: Chapter 2

How is Paris?”

“Oh Fashion Week is a blast”.

If this was my response to the question I’ve been asked at least fifteen times over the last few days since moving to Paris, I could probably just call it a day and come home. The reality is, as it stands, to gain access to the inside of a fashion show here, I would have to somehow tunnel my way in. Paris, let alone Paris Fashion Week has no idea who MessyNessy is. Then again, I don’t really know who they are either. Clutching a copy of the fashion week schedule, I spent a good forty minutes prancing around the entrance of the Palais de Tokyo yesterday snapping pictures of the well-dressed (and a few outrageously dressed) going into the Costume National Spring/Summer 2011 show. Could I name a single one of them for my blog? Not unless I bothered one of the other photographers standing outside with their big Nikons, sniggering at me as I whizzed around with my cameraphone (little do they know the powers of the iPhone 4G). On my way home, I picked up a copy of Paris Match (society weekly mag) and managed to flick through the entire thing without recognizing a single face other than Carla Bruni’s.

Yes, making a mark here in Paris is going to take some effort. I’m almost set on my decision to deny my French nationality altogether and present myself strictly as a London girl until I can name at least five relevant Parisian celebrities and not inexplicably run off into the distance when tourists ask me for directions.

I’m going to have to make some changes. In case you hadn’t figured it out already, I’m a bit of a loner. Often when friends invite me out, like how boys will cancel social plans to play X Box, I’ll politely decline for no other reason other than the fact that I’m quite content all by myself, occasionally laughing at the thoughts going on in my head or planning world domination on the side. Whether I’m at home, out shopping, watching movies, taking photographs, collecting conkers– whatever my heart desires, I like my own company and that’s okay with me.

The only difference now is that I’m a London girl living in Paris and I’m not in my element (yet!). To be a happy loner, you need to know that you’re a loner by choice. It’s no good being on your lonesome simply because you haven’t made the effort to make friends. While I admittedly moved to Paris with the intentions of spending even more time with myself, MessyNessyChic, other works in progress and on improving my French, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to spend an equal amount of time coming out of my shell (also known as the imaginary force field that warmly cocoons me in a cosy world of blackberry friends).

I plan to start at La Sorbonne University where I’ll be taking classes and attending lectures sixteen hours a week. The process of making friends has always been a peculiar concept to me. At registration earlier last week, I caught myself browsing my fellow students and scanning the room for suitable buddies to possibly accompany my new life here in Paris. It’s quite fun admittedly; ‘shopping for friends’. What do I look for? (Warning, serious stereotyping ahead, reader’s discretion advised).

As ridiculous as it sounds, shoes are a good indicator. For example, a girl wearing a pair of running sneakers paired with bootcut jeans and a backpack might tell me that she likes to divide her time between the library and training for small marathons. I like to read magazines but I only just about squeeze a jog into my daily routine for the sole purpose that I can continue to scoff cupcakes whenever I damn well feel like it– so Nike girl is probably not my ideal match.

It’s only natural to look for someone with whom I might share a similar taste in style because style, above all, is a way of expressing ourselves, communicating our personality to those around us, like a calling card. So if I happen to see anyone in my classes sporting this season’s on-trend footwear– military/ biker boots, brogues, tasselled penny loafers or near-impossible-to-walk-in leather wedges, I’ll certainly complement their choice, striking up a conversation if the opportunity arises. But now look how silly I’m starting to sound; shopping for friends by their taste in footwear? It’s virtually impossible to make friends if you’re looking down at people’s shoes all the time 😉

The first day of classes always sets apart the quiet ones from the outgoing, bubbly types. Ever since I was young, my closest friends have admitted that they were scared to approach me within the first few days of making my acquaintance for fear that I might take a bite like one of those hostile little lap dogs. Of course, it’s not my fault that I was born with a small mouth and weaker smile muscles than the average person. As a result, I tend to identify less with the ‘Sally Sunshines’, mouth-like-a-motor types, although they can also make excellent friends and will usually make the effort to befriend you anyway. I’m generally more curious in these situations however, to meet the reserved and mysterious characters, believing in the notion that the more challenging a friendship is to cultivate, the less fleeting and surface-scratching it might turn out to be.

As much as I will never tire of my own company, when I begin classes this week I’m really going to try to prioritize the ‘making friends’ thing here in Paris and not have it end up as one of those ideas I had but never got around to doing. It’s never too late to make new and perhaps life-long friends and in all seriousness, I would only be too happy to welcome such an occurrence into my Paris experiment. Especially one to bring with me to Paris Fashion Week next season. Hmmm…. do I dare set myself yet another challenge? Better get the shovel out 😉


Illustrations by Kanako Kuno from My Little Paris (english and french language versions available)

Follow the MessyNessy Paris Experiment

Chapter 1. Saying Goodbye to London

Chapter 3: Paris, Blogging and Dating

  1. […] Chapter 2. I’m a bit of a Loner and That’s Okay With Me […]

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