How to Pretend That You Speak French (When You Don’t Speak French)

Last semester, I wrote the masterpiece “To All the Boys who Try to Speak French in My Literature Class.” Now, I find myself in a place where I must become one of those “French speakers.” Why, you might ask? Because now it’s my turn to be an asshole in seminar. This is how I became the token French thing, and how you can do the same. 

  1. Change your name to something dumb like Pierre. 

  2. Forget that consonants exist.

  3. Mention you are French in every conversation.

  4. Wear a beret. 

  5. Mumble under your breath whenever anything in French pops up in a book.

  6. Say “oui” whenever you need to go to the bathroom (kill two birds with one stone). 

  7. Drink cheap wine and pretend it was extremely expensive.

  8. Pretend, unlike most Americans, that you know where France is on a map.

  9. Remind everyone who helped the Americans win the war.

  10. Do not mention all the wars you have lost.

  11. Get your parents to spend $15,000 on summer mime school.

  12. Only wear stripes.

  13. Eat exclusively authentic Dunkin Donuts croissants.

  14. Only pronounce croissant cwassant.

  15. Whenever someone leaves a room, tell them bon voyage.

  16. Always kiss people when greeting them.

  17. Never wear deodorant.

  18. Call a five-dollar-foot-long a baguette.

  19. Any time a celebrity has a remotely french sounding name, ask “Are they French?”

  20. Even if they’re not French, tell everyone they are.

  21. Make sure to mispronounce all non-French names.

  22. Get drawn like one of those French girls.

  23. Bring up the one time you went to France every ten minutes.

  24. Pretend that you bought your Garnier shampoo from France (even though it’s from CVS).

  25. Pronounce CVS Ce-ve-ess.

  26. Get a chain smoking addiction.

  27. Remind everyone that you have a chain smoking addiction.

  28. Tell everyone smoking is actually healthy. 

  29. Make sure to call anyone who disagrees a “stupid American.”

  30. Complain about the state of French public transportation.

  31. Defend French public transportation when you get on the 1 train.

  32. Pretend you know what gilets jaunes means.

  33. Call every single woman a filles

  34. Pronounce la croix lah cwah.

  35. Loudly open a can of escargot in class and proceed to oudly slurp each one.

  36. Change your diet completely, and only eat food “labeled French” eg. fries and toast.

  37. Unfriend anyone who tries to give you prosecco, champagne only.

  38. Randomly mention Napoleon, even when it’s irrelevant.

  39. Create an entire French persona, even though you’re from New Jersey.

  40. Buy a Moncler sweatshirt and pretend to be part of the French high fashion scene.

  41. Make sure nobody forgets when you went to school in France, even if it was only for a week.

  42. Add unneçessary french accénts to random wôrds.

  43. Any word that ends in -tion, pronounce it see-on, even if you’re speaking English.

  44. Call yourself “cultured” unironically.

  45. Pull out baguettes randomly and proceed to consume them whole.

  46. Talk about how you know good cheeses, but exclusively eat Kraft singles.

  47. Refuse to call soccer soccer, only football.

  48. Burst into English renditions of Les Mis songs.

  49. Talk about how unhealthy Americans are, but proceed to eat a stick of butter.

  50. Tell a native French speaker that their accent is wrong.

Now that you’re a real Frenchman, make sure every person knows it. Bon voyage