ot a mortal sin To French eyes, an ideal marriage is a marriage of best friends – and don’t you allow your best friend a bit of fun from time to time?…

  

A one-night stand in France is not a mortal sin To French eyes, anideal marriage is a marriage of best friends – and don’t you allow your best friend a bit of fun from time to time?   By Anne Elisabeth Moutet 09 September 2014 • 06:15 am Valérie Trierweiler has written an account of her relationship with François Hollande Credit: Photo: AFP/Getty Images The lovely, although not particularly aptly named, Marianne Faithfull says she lives in Paris because she wants to be able to drop in on Oscar Wilde at Cimetière du Père Lachaise, and natter at his Jacob Epstein-designed grave. Whatever floats her bateau, but I think she’s simply gone native. Here’s a talented, stylish, poised woman of a certain age, who’s just declared that her best night ever was a one-night stand half a century ago with Keith Richards, when she was Mick Jagger’s regular. Apparently that’s enough to scandalise you British: she’s not only been un-Faithfull; she’s not apologising either. Needless to say, we French approve. This would be the case even if the bagatelle in question hadn’t been motivated, on Richards’s part, by Jagger having spent a night or three of passion with his squeeze, Anita Pallenberg. But Faithfull doesn’t even mention the circs. Richards may have had a dog-in-the-manger revenge-rebound with Mick’s girl, but Marianne doesn’t seem to care that Jagger had cheated on her first. “I think it was so great and memorable because it was just one night. That was it. And we’re still great friends.” Why did she do it? For fun. This is the true French Way. French men and women do know the torturous pangs of jealousy — you only need to read Valérie Trierweiler’s recent opus to realise it. But it’s rarely the straying that finishes off a relationship or marriage. Mainly, we follow the Hollywood dictum of On Location, it Does Not Count, or OLDNC. “Location” here being a state of mind. We are happy to give in to temptation when it takes us; we don’t mind seizing the moment. Anyone who’s set foot into a French pâtisserie may, perhaps, understand the impulse. It’s just such an agreeable way to pass the time. An interesting experience. Another decorative motif in the rich tapestry of life. It need not mean anything. What kills a marriage, we know, is something else — the lack of communication, of understanding, and finally of trust. I don’t mean that we believe in owning up to a coup de canif the minute we return home. That’s for Americans. On the contrary, as a Frenchwoman, I would always prefer my man to lie to me — it means he still cares enough to want to keep the relationship alive. There are no more dreaded words than “Chérie, there’s something I have to tell you.” Non! I don’t want to know. When you try to own up, things become sordid. Relationships in France die of different causes: like when you stop sharing goals, interests, late night discussions. Major life decisions can bring an end to a love affair. Even friendships can cause difficulties — I was, some years ago, deeply jealous of one partner’s male friends, simply because they had a bond from which I was excluded.A true partnership is what matters. Think Frank and Claire Underwood in the American version of House of Cards. Think Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley, when our rom-com hero was caught with his pants down on Sunset Boulevard with Divine Brown. Ms Hurley behaved like a true Frenchwoman: she told Hugh he’d been incredibly stupid, then took him back. To French eyes that is sensible and grown-up. An ideal marriage here is a marriage of best friends; and don’t you allow your best friend a bit of fun from time to time? It all boils down to sex, of course. We may be a Catholic country; but our attitude to that mortal sin is best embodied by the somewhat lax 16th-century papacy. You Brits think oooh-là-là is French for “hanky-panky”, but we haven’t used the phrase, or the sentiment, since the 1890s. It’s the same with cheating – even the expression is terribly vieux chapeau  1.  What is the author’s argument (i.e. what does she believe, what does she want you to believe, what is she assuming)?2.  What, in your view, is her conception of The Good?  Arts & Humanities Philosophy PLS MISC

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