“Je t’aime! What does it mean in English?” I asked my French 101 professor as I read the sentence out loud from the textbook. My professor looked up from his laptop screen, paused for a second and smiled: “It means I love you!” and he added, with a hand on his chest: “Those words always strike me whenever I hear them.”
My limited exposure to the French culture shows me that French people take dating seriously and hooking up or casual sex is not part of their dating scene. Typically, the act of kissing helps seal the deal as it marks the beginning of an exclusive relationship between two romantic partners. Unlike in the American culture, where the words “I love you” are tossed around excessively among people with varied levels of connectedness to the extent where these words lose their weight and meaning, French people seem to take them to heart. That’s one of the aspects I appreciate about the French culture. Being “a hopeless romantic” may not seem particularly appealing to people in America, so my professor reminded me to appreciate the people who still let love change their heartbeat just by the sound of it.