I’m in a minority in more ways than one:

  • Firstly, I’m a foreign national living in France.
  • Secondly, I’m one of the 30% or so of British nationals who can speak a language other than English.
  • Thirdly, I’m a man.

Let me explain this last point. I can’t help noticing that my French classes are somewhat heavily populated by the opposite sex. Rarely have I been in a situation where there were fewer than five birds* to one bloke**.

I have tried hard to find a reason for this disparity; is it…

  • that men simply don’t have the cognitive capacity or desire for learning languages?
  • that women have a tendency to giggle at men who can’t pronounce ‘appartement’ properly, thereby embaressing them, hurting their pride and knocking their confidence sideways?
  • that most men believe you can learn a great deal more over a pint in a pub than you can in any dumb old classroom?
  • that most men believe that the only useful thing you can do with a foreign language is chat up foxy foreign birds – so if you’re not single then why bother?

Come on chaps, we’re not all that shallow are we?

Are we?

*familiar way of referring to a female of the species
**familiar way of referring to male of same said species