why knowing another language makes you the most attractive person in the room (and other petite lessons)

thewinoOk, here’s a secret. I speak another language. Oui, oui, I speak French. Poorly, and with an accent that sounds British depending on how many glasses of wine I have. But the truth is, I’ve been parlez-ing the francais for a pretty decent amount of years.

I struggled in high school (conjugating verbs is like, really hard), and I took French an embarrassing amount of semesters in college. But finally, when I moved abroad during my junior year, I reached a certain level of fluency. This was mostly due to my living with Madame, my 75-year old landlord who didn’t utter a lick of English. Every Wednesday, Madame would cook me an authentic French meal, and we would sit at the dinner table, trying desperately to converse in my broken French. I didn’t realize how much my French skills had grown until my mom visited four months later and sat through a dinner with us, Madame and I comfortably talking and laughing in a language my mom only half-understood.

I bet you think I’m a little bit cooler now, don’t you? That’s because what you’ve read is true: bilingual people are sexy.  I can tell you, speaking another language has made me way more efficient while traveling. And by “more efficient while traveling,” I mean “more efficient while flirting.”

Let’s review.

a guide to why knowing another language makes you the most attractive person in the room

“Une bière à la pression, s’il vous plait!”  

I used this little number a lot.  When I went to France, I was more of a beer drinker than a wino (…hard to believe, right?), so I made it my mission to learn how to order a draft beer the right way. This resulted in a small amount of respect from the French bartenders. Many of whom were très beau.

Also, think about this. Perhaps the man of my dreams is an Italian businessman (just saying) and he speaks minimal English but decent French? There’s my in. Amiright?!

Fear not! You don’t have to be in a foreign land to impress! Knowing how to speak French has not been lost on the non-French speaker. AKA: the English-speaking male who is easily impressed by a quick string of French words because he has no idea that what I’m saying is actually complete jibberish. This goes for co-workers, friends, people sitting next to you at the bar, etc etc.

And let us not forget the most important side of this argument, which focuses not on my ability to speak French, but rather a BOY’s ability to speak French. If you can speak another language, or maybe even fake it a little (hey, we’re all guilty), you’ve got my vote. Boys everywhere, consider this a PSA: being bilingual makes you far more attractive to any female. You’re welcome.

“beaucoup du vin, s’il te plait!”

Now, in my old age, my “French proficiency” lives only as a line on my resume, or occasionally when the romantic and I have a few too many drinks and start interchanging English with French phrases (see above for another oldie but goodie… I’ll let you guess what it means). I stopped speaking French on a regular basis a long time ago. I’ve forgotten how to ask certain questions, and how to change verbs from present tense to past tense. But sometimes, when I’m trying to impress and I feel like I really need to pull out the big guns, je parle francais. Juste un peu.

bisou! (that’s french for “kisses.” le duh)

the wino






  1. mom
    October 11, 2012 / 11:42

    tres bon

  2. Rich
    October 12, 2012 / 09:48

    I’m a massive fan of learning another language when travelling – and then coming to the rescue of other travellers who know less of the local lingo than me!
    Rich recently posted..The Unwanted Travel CompanionMy Profile

  3. October 14, 2012 / 23:31

    I’m feeling sexy already down here in South America and all I know is, Hola! Lol. I took French in high school too. Sadly, I didn’t retain much of it but I’d love to go back and take classes. This year of travel has made me want to learn Japanese and Spanish. 🙂
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Ranakpur in Photos: The Most Beautiful Temple in IndiaMy Profile

  4. October 15, 2012 / 08:22

    j’adore this 🙂 very very good. My first language is obviously Portuguese and English became the second. My Spanish is getting rusty and the French is almost ridiculous. Of course Mr O speaks fab French – but I love it when he speaks English with French accent. That is what does it for me 😉
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..Photos of the Week – #FriFotos turns 2!My Profile

  5. October 16, 2012 / 02:37

    although the info-graphic was a bit to challenging to decipher for me… I so concur with the basic concept of more is better (with language). learning spanish has changed my travel experiences for the better oh-so many times… and sexier, of course, why do you think i am always in mexico..

    stay attractive, Craig
    craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) recently posted..Sunset Sunday – Bandelier National Monument, New MexicoMy Profile

  6. October 16, 2012 / 08:11

    le duh! – LOVE IT!!

    ummm, yeah…to me if you just have a foreign accent, well – that’s enough to impress me. my favorites are British & French accents so you’ll easily impress me with your faux French one 😉
    lola recently posted..Cocktails of CambodiaMy Profile

  7. Pola (@jettingaround)
    October 23, 2012 / 04:57

    “Le duh” hahahaha!!! I absolutely LOVE this post (being bilingual, heck kinda-multilingual myself 😛 ).

    And yes, knowing how to order wine in France is one of the essential traveler skills, very handy after you get caught in a downpour and find refuge in a bar. True story. 🙂

    Now where’s my French textbook… it’s been too long.
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..My ten favorite things about the USAMy Profile

    • October 23, 2012 / 11:23

      making it my personal mission to learn how to order wine in the local language of every country i visit!
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..no travel requiredMy Profile

  8. November 6, 2012 / 15:33

    Knowing 3 languages has made all the difference in my travel experiences and I am thrilled to have suffered through all those french classes as a kid! Time in Paris – no problem – chat with locals and love it! Walking the Camino de Santiago – could speak to English, French and Spanish speaking people – before you know it – international discussions are roaring over the day! Totally worth it to learn what you can before you go, take a course while you are there and soak it all in! If I could only master Italian…..LOL!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Galicia on the Camino de SantiagoMy Profile

    • November 9, 2012 / 09:43

      definitely want to try to add more languages to my repertoire, buuuuuut don’t know how successful i’ll be considering the amount of years it took me to learn french!

  9. Annie
    November 7, 2012 / 14:46

    i just laughed out loud 🙂

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