Caution: “Piano Bar” does not mean the same thing in France as it does in the US

So tonight ends my second weekend here in Paris and I spent it with Tessa again. We had a wonderful time full of food, walks, scary movies and creepy men. Oh and a strip club.

I guess I might as well explain that last sentence. Okay, so last weekend when Tessa came into the city, we discovered this awesome looking place called The American Dream Cafe and it gave us some good insight into what France apparently thinks of the “American Dream.”The restaurant was covered in Elvis and Marilyn posters and boasted “live entertainment” and “piano bar.” Immediately we became so excited thinking that we’d be able to get a little taste of home and decided to go there this weekend. And last night we did. HUGE mistake.

We walk in.

Hostess greets us, “Bonsoir, are you here for the show?”

Us: “Uh, what?”

Hostess: “Yes, the show is 20 Euros and is upstairs.”

Us: “Wait, what about 20 Euros?”

Hostess: “Yes, the strip club.”

Us: *Jaw drop* “No, we’re just here for drinks.”

Hostess: “OH! Okay yes sit right here at the bar.”

Keep in mind that the bar area of this restaurant looks exactly like a TGIFridays. Therefore, we’re incredibly confused. Nonetheless, we hear screams and dance music upstairs.

Okay, we’ll just stay for one drink and then get out. No harm done right? WRONG.

About ten minutes into sitting at the bar, I decide to go to the bathroom. Which is upstairs. Uh oh. There’s no telling what a strip show in the middle of Paris is like, right? Okay, well I’ll just make it quick. Lol that’s a joke, Megan.

Well, I walk upstairs and spot the bathroom to the right of the half naked man dancing on the bar. However, out of the corner of my eye I also spot a man walking right towards me. In my mind I’m all like, “He’s gonna yell at me and think I’m trying to sneak into this sleazy show.” No, that was no the case whatsoever. He immediately grabs my hand and says,

“You’re downstairs right?”

Me: “Yes, but I’m just up here for the bathroom.”

Sleazy man: “Yes, I saw you downstairs. You are so very beautiful. Thank you, thank you.”

Me: “Uhmmmm, kayyyy.. Thanks.. ”

Sleazy man: “Yes, you are welcome.”

*Lets go of my hand and shoots me a creepy smile*

So obviously while I’m in the bathroom I take my sweet, sweet time. But that didn’t work. Of course not Megan, nothing stops these gross Frenchmen from harassing innocent, little, blonde American girls.

I leave the bathroom.

I bolt to the stairs.

I see the gross, sleazy creepy man walking up the stairs right towards me.

Sleazy man: *Immediately grabs my hand again* (Like bro, STAHP touching me) “Your name?:

Me: “Uh, Megan.”

Sleazy man: “My name?”

Me: “Uh okay, what’s your name?”

Sleazy man: “Isaac.”

Me: “Uhmmmm, kayyyy.. ”

Sleazy man: “You want to see the show?”

Me: “Uhhh.. ”

Sleazy man: “Yes, okay. You sit downstairs and if you finish your drink and want to see the show, you come upstairs and see me because I’m the manager.”

Me: “Uhmmmm, kayyyy.. ”

Great. The manager of this nasty place has a thing for me. That would happen.

Well, I get downstairs to Tessa and proceed to repeat what just happened to me. We have a good laugh and all is good. We discussed going up to the show because why not? If it’s free, what’s the harm? But I mean we didn’t have a choice in the matter anyway. As soon as we finish our drinks and pay – AND I MEAN LITERALLY AS SOON AS WE PUT OUR MONEY DOWN ON THE BAR – all of a sudden the creepy, sleazy manager dude is at my side grabbing my hand (YET AGAIN WITH THE TOUCHING BRO) and dragging me upstairs.

Uh okay.. Sure, of course I wanted to go see this show guy. And with you of all people, this can’t go wrong at all *Immense amount of sarcasm in that sentence for all who can’t sense sarcasm via written letters*

Well, we get upstairs and he puts us up at the bar right next to the spot where people get pulled up to dance with the dancers. Tessa, being the smarter one of the two of us apparently, noticed what was happening and had a mild freak out and the manager moved us to a table instead. Thank God for Tessa. So we get sat awkwardly watch the show full of naked women dancing on poles two feet from our faces. All the while, this creepy manager dude is watching us out of the corner of his eye and you can tell he’s waiting for us to get excited. Not having it, man. Then, he apparently thought that from my seat I wasn’t able to see the show well enough – EVEN THOUGH IT WAS TWO FEET FROM MY EYEBALLS – so he proceeds to grab my hand AGAIN and pull me in front of him and put his hand on my waist while I watch the show in front of him. Mind you, I’m standing  there clutching my purse with all my strength, face frozen and eyes bulging over the fact that this guy keeps thinking it’s okay to touch me (I used copious amounts of hand sanitizer after leaving the place). After a few minutes of him holding my waist and swaying behind me trying to dance, I just sit back down and get away from him. THEN, he finds another American and introduces us, which was a good distraction from the creepy manager dude but at the same time it was just another creepy dude to be passed off on to. We talk for a few minutes until he needs to leave to meet up with friends and when he starts to walk out of the place, we see our chance.

The creepy manager is nowhere to be found so we literally sprint for the stairs. We bolt down them and run out the front door and don’t stop until we’re around the corner of the building and out of sight of anyone at the strip club-American dream-piano bar.

We did it. We made it out alive. And learned a lesson.

The French have a very different idea of what the “American dream” is than us. Also “piano bar” doesn’t mean a fun, lively place where we can all go and request songs and sing and dance and have the time of our lives with $1 tequila shots and drink specials. It actually means “Beware: Full of creepy Frenchmen and naked dancers. A blonde, American girl’s nightmare.”

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