Posts Tagged ‘embarrassment paris’

French pharmacies: do you like sick jokes?

October 25, 2010

Nadjenka Boudjilivitch suggested ‘pharmacy visits’ as a rich topic of humiliation. Suggest your own topic for a personalised embarrassment-related post.

Pharmacies in Paris combine the patient confidentiality aspects of a medical clinic with the shopfloor ambience of H&M.

It is not uncommon to find yourself explaining an embarrassing situation to a small audience of passive eavesdroppers: “Excuse, do you have the same model as that lady has but in ‘more absorbent’?”

For these reasons, if you have a choice of staff, it is best not to approach the older – and therefore deafer – pharmacist for advice.

A friend recently witnessed this exchange:

Young, elegant Parisian woman: [inaudible whisper]

Old pharmacist: “You’d like what, sorry?”

Young woman: A SUPPOSITORY.

This potential for embarrassment has led some enterprising young French people to make gain from the pain. A few years ago, a young business school graduate launched a successful online business to deliver adult diapers in inconspicuous packaging to your home addresses. His website even has a blog.

The last time I was in a pharmacy it was with my housemate. We needed to buy a syringe.

The pharmacists presented a 30ml model.

“Do you have any bigger?” I asked.

She presented a 50ml version.

“We’re going to need something more substantial,” I said.

Rummaging she pulled out a 100ml.

“No…do you have anything for use on large animals?” I asked, nodding at my housemate for approval.

By now the curiosity got the better of her. I could see she wasn’t going to search further without knowing what we needed it for.

I stepped in to explain: “We need to inject a watermelon.”

Looking from me to my housemate, I could see her wondering which of the two would be the lucky recipient.

“Well I don’t know if we have anything that big, but I’ll see what I can find,” she responded.

Who knows what the pharmacist thought, but for the housemate and I, we made one damned good vodka watermelon.

The worst thing I've injected...


La maîtresse des maîtresses

October 21, 2010

(The theme of this post, Last Metro, comes courtesy of La Rouf Laquette.)

Metro stations: training grounds for love affairs?

In French, the word for mastery is the same as that for mistress. I was a long time in France before I could put the two together.

I’d met a gorgeous Sicilian French girl in New York in 2006 and a sporadic relationship ensued. Unfortunately, what started with being cross-border and cross-cultural, ended one year later with, simply, one cross woman.

Returning from Rome one Sunday in January 2008, I needed to pass through Paris before taking my midday train to Montpellier. This necessitated spending a night in Paris.

Whereas I used to stay with the Sicilian French connection, I’d worn out my welcome about the same time that I’d worn out her patience.

Instead, I decided to stay with another French girlfriend who I’d met in Qatar. We spent the night sharing our adventures since Qatar, biscuits, cheese and a bottle of wine before sharing her meagre sofa bed too.

In the morning, I accompanied her to the metro. I wanted to go to La Defence to buy some socks at the Uniqlo store that had just opened there.

La Defense is France’s heartland for its multinational industries without hearts. It is not known for its socks. For what I was about to endure, it was not worth finding this out first-hand.

It was high rush hour, about 8.30, when we descended into the metro at Place de Clichy. Being used to Montpellier, it was a shock for two reasons: first to see so many people gathered together for a reason other than to protest; and second because that reason was they had real jobs to go to.

A friendly ‘Hello’ disturbed my train of thought. Of all the people I didn’t know in Paris, I happened to be standing next to the only other person I did…the Sicilian.

“I didn’t know you were in Paris,” she said.

“I’m not,” I responded, unconvincingly.

“So, who is your ‘friend’?” she said, gesturing at my friend. She had me by the balls, and, unlike in the NY youth hostel, this time it wasn’t half as enjoyable.

For the record, the only fluids my friend and I had shared that last night had been alcoholic ones, but the weight of suspicion was against me: why I hadn’t called her, and how I ended up with another woman at her metro stop at 8.30 in the morning.

Our train of conversation ended just as the metro arrived. Thereafter we spent 5 torturous metro stops together until my friend disembarked at her stop and left me alone to make up with the Sicilian. If you thought sharing a carriage with gypsy buskers can be gruelling, this was like sharing a carriage with two rival gypsy buskers. I vowed thereafter that it be the last metro I take with two lovers.

Adding insult to injured ego, I arrived at La Defense only to find that store didn’t sell socks.

In the end, managing mistresses is like a pair of large comfy socks…having two is better than one, as long as realise it’s easier than you think to put your foot in it.


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