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Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2005 - 4:40 p.m.

~ a sure-fire way to meet LOTS of people ~

Christophe is our new intern at work. Christophe is from France. Christophe is twenty-three and has spent the past several years globe-trotting, leaving behind a trail of receipts from Papa's credit card, clouds of cigarette smoke, and ruts from his omnipresent bicycle. Christophe speaks in a slightly louder voice than everyone else here in the office, not realizing, perhaps, that every single one of us can hear him no matter where he is.

Christophe joined me, Mr. Man, and our family and friends for our 4th of July festivities and was a wonderful addition to our group. He chatted easily with everyone, but did not force his way into any conversation. He brought up politics and was very good when I drew him aside and told him that politics and religion were usually not great subjects to discuss in a crowd or, say, at work, since you never knew who you might offend or trigger.

Today, Christophe was at my desk, chatting with two of our young Account Service girls, Ellen and Andrea, and with me. The three of them had strolled across the street to an ice cream shop and were working away at their modest little waxed paper bowls of cookie dough frozen yogurt. Christophe asked if any of us knew anything about computer dating, so we talked about services like and how we each knew people who had met online or used online dating services. Christophe said that he was having trouble meeting girls who did not talk only about "Brad Pitts and reality tv shows." (Maybe a reality show about Brad's pits?) He said that his ex-girlfriend, his English teacher --

-- after Andrea had stopped giggling and Ellen had choked down the spoonful of ice cream she was eating, I said, "Christophe, was she your TUTOR or your TEACHER?" Because, you know, all three of us had immediately flashed to some Mrs. Robinson-esque, hairnetted, chalk-wielding version of a teacher demanding that Christophe conjugate NOW, DAMMIT and slapping a ruler across his palms. Or, say, anything else that presented itself like Christophe's petite lil' derriere.

"No, no, she was my tutor, yes," Christophe verified. Andrea breathed easily and Ellen spooned up some more ice cream. "So, my ex-girlfriend, she had tried this computer dating," Christophe continued. We all nodded encouragingly. "She was bisexual and met a lot of people that way --"

-- and this was where I couldn't choke on ice cream like Ellen was or gasp for breath in between stifled laughter like Andrea was. I said, "Christophe, do you remember on the 4th of July? What we don't talk about at work?" He nodded, "Yes, yes, religion and politics." "Okay, Christophe," I said, "And now let's add SEX to that list. It's just not a good idea to refer to sex in the office. Okay?" Christophe nodded again, "Okay."

And then he added, "Things are different here than in France."

Ahhhh, mais oui. Mais oui.

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