I have a love-hate relationship with the Parisian Metro system. I love that even when I don't know exactly where I'm going, I do know that the Metro will get me there (please keep any philosophical and/or practical comments about getting somewhere when you don't know where you're going to yourself). I love the art nouveau Metro signs that make public transportation seem glamorous.
On the flip-side I hate that my beloved Metro regularly smells like a public restroom. I keep hoping they will come in and bleach those lovely white subway tiles into germ-free, non-smelly oblivion, but I'm not holding my breath...except for when I'm in the really stinky places.
There is no doubt, that Paris really is the "City of Love." It's actually inspiring to see elderly couples holding hands as they walk down the street together. (Random note: I keep telling my roomie that I'm going to "steal" one of the well-dressed Parisian babies I see on the street. I think she is going to steal a cute set of hand-holding Parisian grandparents). Couples are, generally, more demonstrative than we are in the US and typically it's pretty cute...but not always.
Paris is oozing with places to have a romantic moment: lighted bridges, quaint little bistros, heck steal a little kiss in a beautiful church...God is a big fan of love. So why in the world would one choose to have their romantic moment in the afore-mentioned public restroom smelling Metro!?! Seriously friends, this is not something I have seen once or twice, and it is not limited to hormone-afflicted teenagers, you can regularly see those cute Parisian grandparents mid-makeout in the Metro. In my attempts at learning parisian I am really trying to understand this, but I'm too busy holding my breath to be able to concentrate for long.
My personal favorite happened this weekend as Teena and I took the Metro home from Montmartre. Squeezed into the train with us was a middle-aged couple that was certainly in Parisian love. She had slightly frayed hair and was wearing hot-pink/purple-hued lipstick that looked to be the same color as my French tutor's in the US. I am sure it was quite popular at some point. He had hair that is just slightly too long and pierced ears (plural) a la "Pirates of the Caribbean." I couldn't help but notice, as I dodged getting caught in their googly-eyes, that he too was wearing the lovely hot-pink/purple-hued lipstick; not only brightly on his lips, but also brightly in his mustache. It must have been quite the makeout session!
So why do the subway makeout sessions happen? I haven't quite gotten to the bottom of this yet, but I have noticed that there are Durex condom machines all over the city...including in the Metro. Apparently, after much market analysis, Durex has decided that Parisians are open to a little "romance" anywhere in the "City of Love." Our Metro encounters strongly confirm this. I'm just hoping anything we witness in the future stays PG-rated...I don't know enough French yet to tell grandma and grandpa to get a room.