After almost seven years together, Copain and I know each other pretty well. However, it does happen, as it did today, that we experience the cultural clash that is bound to happen when a Frenchie and an American decide to create a life together.
I was coming home from my Lai Thai massage, when I saw Copain fly by on a Velib and park it in front of our apartment. I was sure that he hadn't seen me so I yelled out his last name. He didn't turn around, so I did it again, this time louder. Nothing. Finally, I yelled out his first name - Copain! And this time, he turned around and said, "What did you just call me?!". He was clearly very pissed off.
My excitement to see him dissipated as he told me how rude I had just been to call him by his last name and how much he HATES to be called by his last name.
Wait - what?
When we finally got over being mad at each other - him for me calling him by his last name, and me for him being mad about something so stupid - we sat down to talk it out.
Copain tried to explain that in France, calling someone by their last name is a Very Rude Thing to do. Then I tried to explain to him that in America, it's definitely not a Very Rude Thing to do. Even as I type this, I'm having a hard time comprehending that calling someone by their last name can be considered rude. In the states, when I was in college, it was almost like a fun nickname we gave to people. And still, today, I call my good friend over at My Riviera Wedding by her last name! She usually joins right in and calls me by my last name...
So, I need help from any Frenchie readers out there - is this really a Very Rude Thing in the land of wine and cheese? Have I been a rude American for the past seven years without even knowing it? Help!