Frehel Diaries: Preparation for an Adventure
“But I-what cause, whose favor, could send me forth on such a voyage? I am not Aeneus or Paul:...And therefore I have my fears of playing the fool to embark on such a venture.” Canto II Dante’s Inferno

I told him my last night in Paris that I couldn’t come back to Paris until August, and he said that was when he visited his parents. And so I thought the conversation was over.

Two weeks after I returned to the US I received an email from him claiming “I told my parents you're coming in August.” No discussion. No thought of the logistics. A plain statement of fact.

And if I had believed in what he wrote, I would have panicked.

However, if you’re anything like me, and for your own sake I really hope you aren’t, I read something like that and I think “Yeah, riiiiiiiiiiight." Generally I don't believe anything I hear when a man's mouth is moving. Even if he isn't the one speaking. Even if he is just lipsynching to his iPOD, it's still suspect. I kept waiting for the email where he would change his mind, meet someone else, think it over and say “yeah, you know here’s the thing....” My father always used to say aim low and you’ll never be disappointed. I have since discovered that he was rather optimistic in that belief, but aiming low certainly does cut down on how much disappointment a person faces. And I’ve faced enough disappointment because of men than any ten women should have to face. Better to be skeptical, I thought, better to aim low and not expect much.

Still time kept moving forward, and he wanted me to come. He kept asking when I would arrive. “I’ll pick you up at the airport and bring you to the apartment and let you rest,” he wrote to me. And the soft letdown the “You know I’d love if it, but...” never came. And suddenly, I realize that I’m going to actually buy the ticket, go to France and see this man.

It’s everything I wanted. A real vacation with a man taking me to a strange exotic beachtown to meet his parents. It was everything I wanted and never thought I would get.

And I’ve never been more terrified in my life.

But still rather than meditate on my fear of having my greatest wish fulfilled, I decide to focus on practical matters-like what I was going to wear on this grand adventure. In order to do this I had buy some new bras, as well, most of them are functional, but not the type of thing to insight transatlantic lust.

Before all you guys starting breathin’ hot and heavy thinkin’ about me trying on an assortment of titslings the sizes of small fruitcarts, I shall let you know buying a bra ceases to be a pleasure when your breasts become so large that what you buy no longer looks like a bra, but rather a yarmulke for conjoined twins. It’s not fun, and it’s not sexy. It’s annoying, and it can even be sad, but it had to be done. And to be sure the French woman helped me find some bras that actually fit (translation:did not explode). Once I had the bras, I had to begin to tackle an even bigger problem: how to pack for the trip.

Normally when I travel, I’m a panties in a paper bag kind of girl. And if I’m going to Paris, the panties are optional. But this was different. I was going to meet his parents, and I had no idea all the types of situations we were going to be in. And it was important that I make the right decision. So not only panties, but bathing suits ( three of them with assorted coverups), a nice dress (and the heels to go with it), some “every day” clothes for sightseeing, all potential emergency health equipment (which came down to an assortment of band-aids, some neosporin, and a each bottle of advil and tylenol pm) plus necessary grooming products like an eyelash curler (Remember meeting the parents).

My mother thought it would be cold, but then my mother always thinks it will be cold. I could be on a shuttle headed directly into the sun, and my mother would want me to bring a sweater. So even though I was heading to the beach for two weeks, I dutiful packed a sweater or two.

And of course, my french-english english french gynormous Larousse Dictionary and my phrase books. In the end, it ended up being not just one suitcase, but two suitcases packed to the brim.But he promised to pick me up at the airport so once I checked my bags at JFK, well, it would be all downhill. Provided that he picked me up at the airport.

Provided he was at the airport at all.

But it was better not to think of these things and instead worry about bringing the right outfit for meeting his parents than possible abandonment at Charles de Gaulle.

***Notes on the Frehel Diaries: I will be adding photos and music (thanks to foxy tunes) to these posts to try and make the experience as full as possible. Consider it a writing experiment. Once I am done with the Frehel diaries, I will continue on to the latest spate of Paris diaries. Finally, I will write a post including ALL the France posts in chronological order.

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