Bonjour! (This concludes the foreign-language portion of this column.) It was recently my great fortune to attend the Cannes Film Festival, which is currently held in the quaint seaside village of Cannes, located in a country known as “France.” I had never been to France before, and indeed have only barely been to France now, as Cannes is located in the far southeastern corner of the country, perilously close to Italy. The people of Cannes are probably always complaining about the steady stream of Italians sneaking across their border and taking their cheese-factory jobs.
Cannes is a beautiful city on the French Riviera with a population of 70,000 Celsius and an average summertime temperature of 72 Euros. Being a resort town, it is home to a lot of affluent people, as well as non-affluent people who wish to appear affluent by wearing skinny gold bracelets and being tan. The local economy is centered on tourism, pastries, and reminding people that the Cannes Film Festival is held there. The city adds to its glamor by enforcing a strict “no fat chicks” policy.
Not having been to France before, I had certain preconceived notions about what the country would be like. I expected everyone to be dressed like mimes and wearing berets and smoking cigarettes and carrying grocery bags with long baguettes sticking out of the top of them. I expected Frenchmen to pop out of bakery windows singing “Bonjour!” as I walked past, like at the beginning of “Beauty and the Beast.” All of these things proved to be true.
But I also saw things I did not expect to see. For example, I saw numerous young men wearing polo shirts with popped collars and reeking of cologne. Douchebags, in other words. Their sheer numbers surprised me, for I had always assumed that nothing could be douchier than an American college campus. It made sense when I remembered that France literally invented douchebags.
Another thing I saw a lot of in Cannes that I did not expect to see much of at all is dog crap. It’s not that there are more dogs per capita in Cannes than in other places, nor do the dogs in Cannes defecate at a higher rate than dogs elsewhere. It’s just that when French people’s dogs make poop on the sidewalk, they don’t clean it up. They just leave it there. I didn’t see as much on the busy thoroughfares in the heart of Cannes, but up in the neighborhoods? Sacrebleu, it is everywhere! One pile per block, minimum. You’d just be strolling along, taking in the beautiful sights of centuries-old architecture, and whoops, there is the excrement from a dog. Usually it’s smeared from where someone else has already stepped in it, but occasionally you encounter a fresh pile, undisturbed by man; pristine. The city of Paris is also renowned for its overabundance of poop, so let’s go ahead and assume it applies to all of France.
Why don’t the French clean up after their dogs? Scientists have several theories.
– The French believe that their dogs’ poop, being French, is inherently beautiful and worthy of admiration.
– The French figure that since their country is two thousand years old, they might as well quit trying to keep it looking nice.
– The French are filthy savages who do not understand the fundamentals of hygiene and sanitation.
– The French are far too dignified to pick up their pets’ excretions, and prefer to slide around in it.
– The French automatically do the opposite of whatever the English do, and the English clean up after their dogs.
– The French simply love poop. Can’t get enough of it! The only thing that stops the French from pooping on the sidewalk right next to their dogs is that they are embarrassed to let strangers see their grotesque, malformed French genitals.
A third thing I saw a lot of is chest hair. The men of that region consider it distasteful to use their top three shirt buttons, and they do not wear undershirts, and so everywhere you look there is chest hair billowing in the breeze like amber waves of grain. You might have thought that French guys aren’t masculine enough to have hairy chests, but come on, let’s not indulge in stereotypes.