As the only Frenchman on the team, I couldn’t browse HeTexted‘s website without having strong opinions on the subject. There’s nothing as cute as a great love story. HeTexted asks anxious women to write their potential lovers’ texts and their context. Women of the world can then vote and decide whether he’s into you or just not. It feels wrong for so many reasons that I’ll try to explain them to you.
Before going into any detail, you should understand that the gravity of the subject should put you in a certain state of mind. We are not talking about IPOs, funding stories or new Angry Birds games here. We are talking about love.
Love is something sacred in France. It is as innocent as a beautiful sunrise above the Eiffel Tower, as fresh as a croissant coming out of the oven, as delicate as Amélie’s music.
Many would say that true love is the only reason why we live and breathe. Just close your eyes — or maybe read the rest of the post before doing that — and imagine two people waiting on a Parisian sidewalk for the light to turn green. Their arms are dangling at their sides. Slowly, their hands touch and this particular second feels much longer than it really is. They both stop breathing, feel their hearts beating and know for sure that they are sharing something special at this very moment.
It is much more powerful than any text, phone call or even word could ever be. Technology was never part of that love story.
For centuries, romance has shined in French culture, from Ronsard to Rimbaud. Our own Victor Hugo was one of the most sensitive writers of all times, even inspiring what looks like the most romantic Hollywood musical. All those great love stories existed well before the invention of text messaging. Arguably, the best recent French movies have all been dealing with love stories, from Amélie to L’arnacœur (Heartbreaker). Technology was never used to create those relationships. That’s why characters have to run through Montmartre or Monaco to find their true love.
There is one movie, Jeux d’enfants (Love Me If You Dare), that perfectly encapsulates how the idea of love is perceived in France — it’s dangerous, greater than everything else, beautiful and deceiving. Ambiguous as all things French:
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
Of course the French version of love is highly romanticized and idealized. Many couples end abruptly in France. But like it or not, the French have a tendency to tell love stories in a certain way that those feelings seem both authentic and effortless.
Then, there is a website that comes along, in this case HeTexted. It looks like FMyLife (which happens to be French) but applied to the science of love. It brings to the web something that many women are already doing with text forwarding. There is something highly depressing with that website, aside from being exclusively targeted towards straight women.
Times change, and I look annoyingly French by being stuck in the past. Love should stay beautiful and complicated. Call me a romantic idealist, but it just proves once again that, as a Frenchman, I care about love.
(Image credit: Pierre Metivier)