American “French” Psycho

Everything was going along great and once I knew I was falling in love with French Charming (mind you neither of us had said it out loud as of yet) I decided I probably needed to learn French in order to fit into his life a little easier.  {I’m not going to lie, I had daydreams of being in France with him, strolling the streets, sitting on a terrace with a glass of wine….}

I decided to search for a private French tutor in Houston.  A few email exchanges later I chose a woman who was geographically close, who was near my age so that we might have some things in common, and whose resume seemed as though she had much experience.  We set up a trial lesson to meet and discuss my goals.  She was a little uptight but nice enough.

She had grown up in Europe and attended college there as well.  I believe she studied art or art history or something to do with the arts and then went back for a degree in teaching. {Which, I think, really means when no money could be made from “the arts”, teaching was the fall back plan.}  She had been married and divorced while living abroad but had come back to the US to help take care of an aging relative.

As we continued the lessons, I guess, we sort of became friends.  I use that term loosely here. We often would have a glass of wine after the lessons or even get dinner together.  That’s when things began to get a little strange.

She seemed extremely intrigued with the fact that I had met my French Charming online and mentioned many times that she wanted to meet someone but didn’t know if she should try something like that or not.

She complemented my short haircut often, especially each time I just had it freshly cut.  She told me how she used to wear her hair super short, but she was trying to grow it out long now.  I didn’t comment, even though I took note of how thin it was, the mousy brown color, and the fact that she always wore it pulled back in a scrunchie.  Yes I know!!  Every time I saw her in a scrunchie I was reminded of the Sex and the City episode!

She had mentioned getting her hair colored one day after I had recently had my color (blonde) highlighted. She actually did it and got rid of her mousy brown color and replaced it with a bright reddish brown with highlights. She commented again on my short hair telling me how great her hair looked when she had it short.  I finally said “so why are you so obsessed with growing it long?” I don’t know if she had been seeking an approval or permission, but the next lesson, there she was with a short hair cut!  It wasn’t exactly like mine…but it was short.

In the meantime, I had added a lesson or two per week as French Charming had asked me to come to France with him and meet his mother (who speaks no English) in a couple months.  I wanted to learn as much as possible.

French Charming had come to Houston during one of his rotations and since my French teacher had very much wanted to meet him, she stopped by to have a glass of wine with us.  After she left, he mentioned that she wasn’t very confident in her French for someone who had grown up speaking French and that she seemed very nervous and made many mistakes.  Was she a fake? Had she really grown up speaking French? Were her resume and life stories all made up?

After meeting French Charming, she spoke more and more of wanting to meet a Frenchman.  She even decided to take a three-week vacation to France which encompassed the same time that I would be going.  Why would she decide to go to the same place at the same time? I gave her the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe she was “homesick”, though she wasn’t going anywhere near where she said she grew up.

She even offered for me to come and join her in France.  {Was she hoping things fell apart with French Charming and me?  That I would want to hang out with her more than French Charming?} No sooner than she had offered, she retracted the offer because one of her other friends from London was coming to join her for a few days.  Was she one of those people who could only have one friend at a time?  Was she afraid her other friend might enjoy my company more than hers?  Was it that the stories she had told me were completely different than what she may have told this friend? Was it that she didn’t want her friend to see her new look and figure out it was inspired by me?  At least it got me off the hook.

During the next few lessons she began commenting on my clothing and style of dress.  She would ask my opinion on what she should wear for certain events that she was attending.  I offered suggestions on what to wear and ideas on how to accessorize.  She needed to get rid of the “comfortable grandma shoes”.  I had a pair of black platform pumps that were a little too small for me so I let her try them.  They fit perfectly and she seemed thrilled.

I was noticing more and more little changes in her clothing, her attitude, a little more make-up…and even more of the “I want to find a Frenchman like you have”.  I was getting more disturbed with every copy-cat change and the constant “I want what you have” comments. {Are you getting the “Single White Female” vibe?  I sure was!}

She was very excited when she realized that French Charming would be working on the flight she had booked to France.  But things had already started getting really strange. I talked to French Charming about the creepy feeling I was getting.  We agreed that as long as the lessons were good for the time being to let it be and to maybe limit any extra time spent together.

However, our lessons had lost their efficacy as well.  She was trying to get me to combine my lessons with another student’s.  Her spiel was that it would be good for two people of the same level to converse.  The other student was a man about 15 years my senior, a grandparent, and who basically had nothing in common with me.  She was also going to charge us 1.5x more an hour (divided between us) and we would get half the one-on-one attention.  I told her it didn’t seem like an efficient use of my time or money. She was quite offended and texted me a diatribe on how she gives 100% to her students and she didn’t deserve this (whatever “this” was) and unless I could understand her position (position on what?) she didn’t think she could continue teaching me French. I told her it would be best then if we went our separate ways.

Shortly after our “break up” she had her flight to France.  French Charming expected that she would still speak to him.  We were all adults, after all, and he had done nothing to upset her. She never approached him during the nine hour flight.  He looked for her, but had trouble recognizing her….because she had become a blonde!

It was Charles Caleb Colton who said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  At what point does it cross the line from flattery to psychosis?

Have you ever had someone try to become just like you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or experiences!

[photo credit: Complete Wellbeing]

16 thoughts on “American “French” Psycho

    1. I have the best teacher ever now!! She lives in France, really is French, travels the world, is beautiful and confident and so funny!! And my french has progressed a million times faster since I’ve been working with her.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So creepy! I have never read your blog before, but loved this post. So glad I found you in the pool! I used to be a teacher, and once had a student who tried to be me. She cut and colored her hair like me, stayed after school whenever she got the chance, and adopted some of my mannerisms. In this case, it was more sad than creepy. I think she just wanted some friends and didn’t know how to go about making any.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading! Yes, it really is sad because you know that there is an admiration of sorts going on, but then creepy because…well…they are trying to be you! Sometimes it’s hard to decide between helping and running.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I myself had always received compliments on my short and sassy hair but I can’t recall a time when someone actually duplicated it…..well I CAAAAAAAAAAAN think of one, but I think she gave up (whew)

    Liked by 1 person

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