I think the most lay-man’s way of explaining the French’s notion of Privacy, is that it is the opposite of how the Americas, and British view as the Public and Private Spheres. In France one is expected to always say bonjour when they enter, and au revoir when they leave due to the store being both metaphorically and possibly literary a part of the owner’s home. While in the Americas, and Britain the store is considered a public space that one can enter and leave as they please. Where good service is mandatory, unlike in France where you can only get good service if you follow the greeting and goodbye rule. Also the home is the most private even if one is invited there you are only allowed to be in the kitchen, living room, and possibly the guest room. Everywhere else is locked, where only the owners of the house may go. Where in the Angelo-Nations, almost every place is open and there might be a grand tour of the place. Also in France the back of the house is facing the street, and even then the curtains and/or shutters are usually always closed during the night. Unlike in America, and Britain where the front of the house is always facing the street. Also, in France couples are allowed to fight/ argue in public since they view that the relationship is strong enough to deal with the conflict. While in the Angelo-Nations again, fighting is only supposed to be in private, and that in public you are supposed to be in perfect harmony. Otherwise it is showing that the relationship one is in, is a dysfunctional relationship. Which also shows why the misunderstanding between the U.S and France during the UN meetings, as well as between a French-American couple.
I also found it interesting that a politicians personal life, such as an affair as discussed in the text, remains private. In America, Bill Clinton's affair was a huge deal to in the news and taken to heart by the public. However, in France, no one really cares about what a politician does in his or her "bedroom" life because they only care about who well the person acts in politics. Therefore, making politics less dramatic.
French have a different approach when it comes to their privacy. French tend to be very strict about their privacy when visitors from different countries like North America comes to French. One of the examples of how we view different peoples from occupations and their names. Here in North America, we feel free to discuss a person name and what occupation job they do for their living. While in French, they tend to be very private about their occupation jobs. Another example of French privacy is the Bonjour/au revoir which is a ritual for securing goodwill for French. To address the ritual, Every employee of companies must do a routine of shaking hands of everyone when they come in and out. While in North America, we do not shake hands during our work. The only time we do that, which is in a business meeting or introduce to the person who new to the company or leaving the company. In today's world, money is considered to be the biggest issue in the United States, while in France, Money is considered to be the private part of France. France has all the goods, such as sports, fashion, and art, but the number one thing that France hates the most is money. France doesn’t mind the money, but it is the topic that many people do not want to talk about. No class in France dwell on the money than other countries, that term soon ending up being called the nouveau riches. If French does like the money, they would not use it for its advertisement. French is considered to be very private based on the topics. No wonder why France is old school, they tend to not talk about it in the past.
The French and Americans have two different ways and views of seeing privacy. America is casual and don’t mind visitors and the French are very uptight about their space and privacy. America is casual and laid back compared to France. Here in the states when we are at work we are there mostly to do our job get our money and go home. If we make some friends on the job that is just a plus. But in France all employees have a routine that they all do when someone enters or leaves. America is just a wave or a nod to our co-workers the French do way more and it is a respect thing. Another thing that I didn't know the French were big on is locking doors you are only allowed in certain parts of the house. If the house owner does not want you in there he will make sure you are not getting in. I leave my dorm unlocked or have my door opened and I love receiving visitors. I tell everyone to make themselves at home and eat or drink whatever they want. The French would see this as completely crazy. They have some stuff in common though for example you should not be seen fighting in public because that is considered rude and embarrassing to do in the public eye. Also another similarity is that money is private you don't go around talking about your earnings and the amount you have saved up. In both America and France families like to keep their personal business to themselves. Overall France is a more reserved and bigger on privacy than America.
I agree with your statement, that, in general, the French are more reserved and more private than Americans. At the same time, the French seem more intimate/physical on a public level. Take for example, how the authors described meeting and spending hours inside the house of someone they had never met without even knowing the person's name. Or the example of shaking hands with/ kissing as a greeting among strangers. While the French seem to be more reserved on many counts, they certainly are more intimate/physical and do not shy away from doing so. This is a strange concept to me at least, because when was the last time you shook hands with or hugged someone you just met? Americans definitely treat physical contact as a private/intimate matter and speaking personally as a more public matter, and the French treat each as the opposite.
Chapter 3 introduces the concept of privacy in France and the authors compare the French definition of privacy to that of the United States through a number of anecdotes from their time in France. Barlow and Benoît Nadeau make the claim that the notion of privacy for Americans is in stark contrast to the notion of privacy for the French. While for both Americans and the French, there is the concept of public versus private, what each group defines as public or private/intimate is different; “Americans and the French simply have entirely different ideas about what information you share with strangers, and what information you don’t share” (Barlow and Benoît Nadeau 33). In France, you do not introduce yourself by name, nor do you ask the stranger you are speaking to for their name, and this is normal. You may end up spending multiple hours around that stranger and the only opportunity you may get to ask for their name comes at the end of that time-- but even then you proceed with caution and go about it in a roundabout way. In the United States, we are often wary of strangers and names are the first things exchanged. In France, the idea of public versus private extends into your home as well. Stores and small business owners consider their business “the extension of the owner’s home”, and you must announce your arrival and departure or face frowns at best (Barlow and Benoît Nadeau 35). When you have visitors, regardless of whether or not they stay overnight, only certain areas of the house are made public and left open. The rest of the house is closed off. However in the United States, you typically only interact with store employees/the like when you need help, and when you stay at someone’s house you often are allowed in most of the rooms, unless there is some upstanding reason as to why not. In France, while names are often off-limits, physical contact is not. Handshaking and kissing are salutations, ways to ensure that you have properly greeted those you are speaking with, even if you are complete strangers. In the United States, physical contact, even on a platonic level such as this, is often denied and seen as strange unless you are greeting a close friend (and even then, not a common thing). The authors go into a number of more anecdotes to help explain the notion of privacy for the French and how it differs from that of residents of the United States. I definitely think the claim they made- that the concept of privacy is vastly different between the French and Americans on a number of different levels- is well supported and clear. I did not have any knowledge on the differences between what is considered private and what is not for the French, so I learned quite a bit within this chapter. I definitely want to learn more about these differences, especially in terms of how politicians’ social/home lives are known but not made a big deal of and regarding eating as a public act.
After reading the first few pages, I am surprised at the openness of the man who invited the authors into his home and entertained them for an evening without giving them his name. In America, as we know, that is normally one of the first things we learn about a person upon meeting them. It is as though giving someone your name in France is too intimate, as Barlow explains it. Also, I find it interesting that the French always say hello and goodbye in a local store because it is considered an "extension" of the house. In some cases I find that to be similar in the United States, especially in smaller towns. It just depends on how polite the customer is. The closed windows and blocked views from the main street are similar to American's only in cases of privacy. While American's houses face the street, we normally close our curtains at night; at least, my family does to prevent someone from looking in our house. Also, French money is considered a private matter because discussing how much money one has could lead to looking snobbish. American's discuss money without guilt because we like to show off. However, if we didn't discuss money like the French, maybe we wouldn't be so worried about making it. The cultural norms about privacy in the bedroom is something American's should consider. The French focus on the politics, not the private conduct of their leaders. For example. Francois Mitterrand, who had a mistress and an illegitimate daughter but it was not even made public information until after his death. I'm not even going to really talk about the difference of "sex" in American and France. It's pretty simple: the French are more open to the topic while Americans find it to be crude conversation. The openness about discussing sex in French culture is the only thing I would be uncomfortable with, other than that I think I would fit in very well in France.