Picture it: Paris. July. 2005. The concrete sidewalks of the 13th arrondisement radiate the dense heat captured from a day baking in the sizzling Parisian summer sunshine. On the Rue des Tanneries, an American mishmash of sweaty college girls poke their heads outside of an apartment through a pair of enormous windows to witness the event to end all events. The dream. The ultimate study abroad fantasy- their girlfriend would ride off into the night with a dashing French waiter from their neighborhood café hangout. Within minutes, the humming echo of a Vespa whizzed past the end of the street, still slow enough that we could see the lucky gal, Trish. Her flawless golden locks and perfectly pleated floral print dress billowed into the heated Parisian twilight as she clutched her new beau- a fella who could give Romain Duris some competition in the looks department. The rest of us girls cocked our heads and swooned, all secretly wishing for such luck ourselves. That steamy July moment was the iconic benchmark for the rest of our summer living in the world’s most ‘romantic’ city. We wanted our Vespa ride too.
Now, let’s fast forward to the present. True, ‘Romance’ and ‘Paris’ are synonymous in the eye of the typical travel stereotype. Traveling lovebirds flock to the city to latch those pesky little locks onto anything with a view of the both the Seine River and Eiffel Tower as an eternal amorous declaration. Parisian aesthetic is an undeniable aphrodisiac. After all, how can a person contain oneself when surrounded with such ambiance…
Kidding on that last one. Just checking to see if you’re still paying attention. At any rate, the Paris romance- does it really exist? Is love truly permeating every cobblestone and crevice in the City of Light? Is it easy to find a new love in Paris?
The answer: pas toujours. Since the only time I ever came remotely close to the Parisian fairytale twilight Vespa ride was a toothless Irish magician’s proposition of exchanging his warm beer for a kiss, I can hardly declare myself an expert on this subject. Paris did not initially send me romance during the summer of 2005. For the record, given the magician’s lackluster dental hygiene and his pungent parfum de cat pee, I did not accept the beer- just making that clear before we continue. Regardless worry not, curious romantics! I have found you a Parisian romance expert. Lucky for us all, she’s shared her excursions of the heart not only through her website, Je T’Aime Me Neither: Romancing Paris and Beyond, but also in her successful book series, Je T’Aime… (JTMN).
Author and expat (April) Lily Heise, otherwise known as Lily la Tigresse, wants to find love in the City of Light. In the latest installation of her JTMN series, Je T’Aime… Maybe?, Lily invites us on her journey to find a meaningful relationship while living in Paris. In the midst of numerous romantic misadventures with men of varying personalities (or lack thereof), Lily receives a note from a former spark that sets her mind, and hopes, ablaze with the potential for just the passion she believes she needs to sate her romantic goals and desires. Lily found her soulmate. Easy, right? Not so much.
Often separated by… well… continents, Lily’s Mr. Perfect morphs into Mr. Inaccessible. Therein lies Lily’s dilemma- does she continue to pursue the seemingly unobtainable, and is he even worth the effort and sacrifice? While working through these complications, Lily refuses to allow her heart to stagnate. Tangling herself in a web of steamy tristes to assuage the frustration of soulmate uncertainty, Lily realizes that perhaps she had misidentified her true needs for fulfillment all along.
Je T’Aime… Maybe? is a wild foray into love, sex, and dating as an expat in Paris. The parties. The bars. The wine. Lily unabashedly gives her readers an honest narrative that finding romance in Paris is just as difficult as anywhere else. That being said, there is one glaringly glorious underrepresented theme within Lily’s adventures that is worth bringing to the foreground of this conversation: friendship. Throughout the tumult surrounding Lily’s relationship status, a solid femme-posse keeps Lily emotionally afloat with unrelenting loyalty, support, and the occasional tough love- the kind only great friends are capable of providing.
Will Je T’Aime… Maybe? solve your dating dilemmas? I don’t know. I do know that something bigger is happening within this book’s sassy pages, however. The most important takeaway from Lily’s story is a paramount subtlety: while romance may be tricky to navigate in the City of Light, love itself is abundantly available in the form of loyal friends and one’s own self-worth.
In short, grab this book. Read it. Fly to Paris. Create lasting friendships. Feel good about life.
À la prochaine.
Have you read Je T’Aime… Maybe?? Feel free to discuss in the comments. I’d love to know your thoughts!
Buy Je T’Aime… Maybe?