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When you’re going out with a fellow, don’t formalize it: Remember, this is the country where everyone knows the names of the kings’ mistresses, but not necessarily their wives.

That’s history, but even today in France, the rush to the altar is superseded by the importance of what’s going on between two people, a state several French men and women independently and poetically described as un (an artistic haze).

“My family and friends in the States keep asking me who I’m ‘dating’ or if I’m going to be out on a ‘date’ on Saturday night,” she lamented.

Laurence says that at a Parisian dinner party she was seated next to a distinguished older man and woman.

“I talked to them for three hours and didn’t figure out until after I left that they must have been married for the past 40 years! Lorraine offers that “There might be mini details, signs, such as you might talk more to one person than another, or be seated next to him.

There’s little proclivity for fuzziness or ambiguity in the States, where, “after dating for a while,” says Rachel Gogel, a 19-year-old graphic design student at the University of Pennsylvania who grew up in France, “you sit down and have a conversation to say ‘What are we? ’ It’s kind of an American thing, like: Are we on the same page?

” This desire for clarification may be the reason Allison Lightwine’s French boyfriend went running. If and when a French man brings a girl home to meet Maman and Papa, things are very indeed.

Are you going to stay exclusive or initiate a don’t-ask-don’t-tell protocol?