The Circle France

I’ve never seen the original UK “The Circle”. I watched the American version sometime last year. Although I read that they flew the Americans to Manchester and used stock footage of Chicago to make it seem as if they were in America. Weird. So I don’t know for sure if this was filmed in “France” or if they carted them off to Manchester.

I wasn’t a fan of the show in general as I don’t understand a) the need to be popular with people, much less strangers, and b) why people catfish. I’m genuinely bothered by people who catfish. Not just because I don’t understand lying about yourself, but I also don’t understand lying to others. I’m not someone who lies so the whole thing is weird to me. I’m sure it’s some creepy, undiagnosed psychological disorder. Instead of putting them on a tv show they should put them in therapy.

Anyhow I watch these types of shows from a purely Anthropological perspective. Studying things to understand why they are. I was curious to see how this would play out in France. The French aren’t exactly huge social media people. I never asked someone for their Insta, much less used it much when I was there. Even now I’m shit at it. Doing it for the ‘gram seems to be an Anglo fixation. And getting someone’s Facebook was mostly to verify they were real. 

However I fully admit that I don’t exactly know “French” people. I know Parisians. I know the social norms of the people of the Capital; how they live their lives, what’s considered normal, what’s considered taboo, what social rules dictate them, how to be one of them. But I don’t know everyday French people.

Going into this is like going into not knowing this France at all so I’m slightly excited. I love learning about people, and different cultures, and I’m curious to know how the rest of France lives and what they’re like. 

Episode 1: 

Romain didn’t say where he was from right? I’m going to go with Tours or Rennes or something like that. His clothes aren’t cool enough for him to be Parisian. And he carries around a Louis bag which I’ve never seen anyone in Paris carry around. I had a boyfriend named Alex B (dated a few Alexes) who used to have Gucci trainers, a Patek wristwatch, and a Louis bag for work, he was a very bougie label whore, but he was from Châteauroux. Personally I prefer men with a less assuming, more subdued style. Flash and labels aren’t for me, and aren’t very Parisian. 

I like Éléa. She reminds me of girls from the Sud. They’re usually lighter and happier. 

Maxime is 24 and already married? That’s super weird. And to a Ukrainian? My friend Jess is Ukrainian. She came to America through marriage, got a divorce, and now lives happily in Austin with her partner and her cat Boris. She holds 3 Masters degrees. She’s awesome and she did what she could to get American citizenship. But it’s weird seeing someone married so young in France. Most Parisians I met were in their late 30’s when they got married. That said I love how they always give the catfish guys a pink girly apartment. 

It’s always funny when they voice why they’re choosing the picture they’re choosing because that’s not what we’re thinking at all. If I saw a guy on Bumble with the elevator pic, I’d swipe left. I don’t like guys that have over the top personalities.  

“I’m using Nice because when people think of Monaco they think artificial or fake”. Monaco is gross. It’s like the Orange County of Europe. 

“We’re not in a PACs”. Lol. I’ve never brought up PACs because I’ve never done one. I almost did when I dated Adrien though. PACs is basically a piece of paper you sign (literally) that says you’re partners. Most immigrants do this for a long term Carte de Séjour. It’s like being married and getting a green card. But it’s so much easier. My American/British friend PACs’d her boyfriend and when they broke up, she couldn’t get him to sign the paperwork to end it because he was back in America, so she forged his signature. You really just sign a piece of paper. It might be compliqué during tax time but I wouldn’t know the logistics. 

Poor Gary chose the wrong photo. One thing I learned from American Circle is they instantly hate anyone with a filtered photo and they can always tell. 

Lou is so pretty but she seems so awful. You can’t trust a girl who is like “all girls are mean to me because I’m pretty”. I grew up with boys, and that definitely shaped my personality. I get along better with guys because I unfortunately think like them. I’ve never approached other girls with competition in mind mostly because I don’t care, and also because I didn’t grow up with it. I’m going to guess that’s why she doesn’t have any girl friends?  I have a feeling she is going to be a pill. That said I hope in the future we get rid of the patriarchal belief that women need to compete. It’s been holding us back for far too long. I guess that's only something you lean into as you get older. 

I like that they mention professional photos. One thing you find on Tinder/Happn/Bumble in France are professional photos, and I swear it’s like the norm in Paris. They all hire photographers to take photos. I dated a guy once (forget his name) who took some with his new girlfriend to put on Facebook to like say “we’re a couple”. It’s so weird, but it is the norm. And tiger photos. Every guy has a photo of themselves at those horrible tiger sanctuaries in Thailand. I always swipe left on those.

I know the old ladies are typing the message but it’s not out of character for French guys to be so forward. I’ve often wondered if they’re that way with Frenchgirls too. Once I went out with this lawyer (I forgot his name). I was living on rue Saint Dominique so we decided to go to a place there. We chatted for over an hour, maybe two, but I wasn’t feeling it. There was nothing there. We walked out of the bar, my intention to never see him again. I walked in the direction of my house which was a few buildings down. I assumed he would walk in the opposite direction to La Tour Maubourg metro, which was closer than École Militaire. He didn’t. He started to follow me and I was like huh? And he goes can I at least get a blowjob? I laughed in his face and walked away. The nerve. 

Out of 20 is because when the French get graded in school they are given a mark up to 20. Versus in America where we are given up to 100, which now that I think of it is weird because you can only fall from 70-100. Anything under is a fail.

The shot they show the next morning is from La Défense (you can see Société Générale’s towers) but I’m pretty sure they’re still filming the Circle in Manchester. The building (with the circle) is both too short for La Défense and the banlieue, and too big for Paris. Plus the French don’t use brick. 

When they put Lou and Ines’s faces on top of each other they look so much alike. 

Episode 2: 

More convinced the show is shot in Manchester. The Brits always over-stylize their homes. Years of watching Celebrity Big Brother and their reality shows have taught me that. I never watched any of the French reality shows like that Prince dating show so I can't speak to the design, but go into any Parisian apartment and it’s styled minimally. Part of it may be they don’t care, and part of it might be because the furniture stores are very basic and decor isn’t heavily emphasized. If you ever go into a beautiful Haussmannian apartment it is always white walls. I have never seen a Paris apartment painted. It’s probably too expensive to have to paint around the molding. 

“Some people like to see the goods before trying them out. That doesn’t make you a slut”. Totally agree. I found Christian Kinnersley on the Reddit dick pic subs. I was never ashamed of that, but he was, and I never understood why because his personality was such that he was very proud and very vain. He closed off a large part of his personality to keep that secret from everyone he knew and I always found that disappointing. It always made me feel like I was the only person who knew the real him and that made me sad for him. I’m still sorry for outing him, but I needed to make sense of the person he was and that was my process. To be fair he still doesn’t make sense to me and I grapple with what I thought I had and knew, and what he actually was. I can’t believe that I was fooled by him for so long, and that his con was much more than I realized. Clearly in France (from the sheer number of men I’ve dated), and in America, that mindset regarding nudes is not shared. Who knew the Brits, who used to have a show trying to teach girls not to go out with just tape over their nipples and no top, were such prudes? 

Why does Ines have a picture of Dumbledore on her bedside table? 

I don’t really like Cedric’s personality. It reminds me of a lot of most Frenchmen, who I always found domineering. It’s really an ugly personality trait. 

“Not a hug, just a kiss on the cheek” lol A kiss is so much more intimate than a hug. At least to an American. 

My knowledge is that French girls really are that dramatic. French guys I’ve dated told me they’re crazy. Which can be taken with a grain of salt because men are idiots, and Frenchguys act exactly like Cedric, he is a connard, but to be so angry? Maybe I finally understand what they mean. She was over the top. None of the Americans ever acted that way when they were voted off. 

I hope Lou grows up and learns to like herself for something other than her looks because once she gets old and doesn’t have that crutch to fall back on, her life will be really sad. People don’t hate you because you’re pretty, people don’t like you because your personality is shit. She should stay in Marseille because in Paris she wouldn’t be considered that beautiful, and she clearly couldn’t handle that. I wish she had met Ines so she could see that there is someone who looks just like her and doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder about her looks. 

They’re taking stock photos from Nanterre to pretend like the show is “in Paris”. 

Episode 3:

They gave up on stock footage of La Défense/Nanterre and decided to go with...? 

While the show itself isn’t the greatest, the American version was the same (boring), but I highly recommend watching shows like this because it teaches you French slang, regional French, and how to spell words you wouldn’t learn in a book. I see a bit that French people have taught me over the years and new stuff. 

Agreed with guys that make stupid faces. But lol to the hair. The French do have good genetics. You don’t see a lot of men go bald. Women don’t always age well, but they are a very good looking people. Agreed I could never be friends with a guy based on that photo. I’m too reserved. 

This happened on the American version as well, where the guys catfishing using their girlfriends started pretending to be their girlfriends, dressing up in wigs and talking like them, and if I was one of those girlfriends I would have been creeped out. It’s all kinds of Buffalo Bill. I wouldn’t be flattered. I’d dump them. It’s just so weird. 

Why does “Valeria”/Maxime keep yelling?!? Every time he talks he yells it. I’m trying to think of all of my boyfriends from the South and if they were that oily and loutish, and... no. Maybe it’s a Monaco thing. 

I had one boyfriend, Vincent (dated a few Vincents) who looked like “Gabriel”, but was so much hotter, and he was the most reserved guy I’ve ever met. I thought he was boring so it didn’t last. But he was so pretty, fantastic in bed, and he was an architect so we shared our love of that. But no, none of my French boyfriends were loud or over the top. They were all subdued and low key. Maybe I seek that out, but also maybe most French aren’t. 

This is sort of a weird clue but the ovens give it away. Most French apartments don’t have ovens like that. It must be an Anglo thing. Most French apartments stack the oven and microwave on top of each other, and they’re built into the cabinets, usually eye level. They would never have an oven that big, or on the ground like American homes do. Back in the 80’s that was a trend, but most homes and even apartments are big enough to have full size stoves and ovens. You’d never see something like that. Design wise we just aren’t partial to it. 

I déteste Cedric. He’s awful. I’ll be sad if Éléa goes. 

Episode 4: 

As much as I don’t like “Valeria’s” personality, I give props to loyalty. As someone who is extremely loyal, it’s a trait I agree with. Ines on the other hand, I get her loyalty, but she chose it blindly just because they both like boxing and he can speak some Arabic? He’s such an ass, how does she not see that? 

I don’t understand Ines’s hate hard on for Éléa. 

Romain is from Paris? He doesn’t seem like that at all. He doesn’t dress like a guy from Paris, he doesn’t act like it, I’m wondering if he put Paris but meant something on the outskirts like Aulnay-sous-Bois or Chessy.

Kind of a weird one but I love when the French whine “maaaisss nooon”. It’s usually done in exasperation or if they’re moaning about something. It’s kind of childlike. But I may have that idea because I’ve worked with so many French children. Anyhow on adults it can be kind of whiney, but I always think it’s funny. Probably because the rest of the world has this idea of the French being very sophisticated, and intimidating, but I’ve seen them behind the doors so to speak, and I don’t know, I’ve never been intimidated by them because I know what they’re really like. I know what it’s like to see them throw their toys out of the pram. Or to see them pout “s’il te plais”. I used to work for a family where the husband was 73, and he would pout too. And he was worth 350€ million and was once the CEO of a French rail firm. He moaned right along with his 3 year old. In fact I think that’s where he picked it up from. 

Episode 5: 

They couldn’t find enough French people so they went to London. 

What does Bordeaux have to do with anything? My worst boyfriends were from Bordeaux j/s

I hate that the French leave their toilet seats up. It’s a cultural thing I guess. I never understood it. For one thing, something could accidentally fall in, and and for another, frankly the most important, when you flush the toilet, millions of germs go flying out into the air. I know their toilets are usually in a separate room, away from everything, but it’s just unhygienic. 

I’m living for the drama Jão and Edmundo brought. They are really offended by Cedric and it is hilarious because they’re not even into him! But their faces, they look so hurt. 

Episode 6:

Why put in the Total building when everything else isn’t Paris? 

Camembert on pizza? Blugh. It’s too thick for pizza. It doesn’t melt. 

Louis Garrel used to be this heartthrob actor in France. He had already disappeared by the time I got to France, I don’t know what happened to him, but he was big, and all of the Frenchboys used to try to look like him. That’s what Paolo reminds me of. Floppy hair and all. His whole look is very dated. I used to have that jacket in middle school (but the girl version). He reminds me of all of the teenage Frenchboys in the 16th. He seems like he’s intentionally trying to seem deep, philosophy student *eyeroll*. I have dated a philosophy major from SciencePo but he wasn’t so intense so whatever he’s trying to pull off is strange. My initial reaction is I don’t like him.  

I don’t know how the UK Circle was but the American Circle had a challenge every episode and they got a bunch of boxes with presents and gifts at their doors. The French version has none of that. It’s a bit lame. 

Episode 7:

I dated a guy for a few months named Emmanuel. He was genuinely a really nice guy. He was French but he lived outside of France for most of his life, a lot of it in Italy and South Africa, so his personality wasn’t very French. Anyhow he lived in La Défense on ligne 1. His apartment was in one of those high rises and he had a very large balcony. At night when you looked outside all you saw were buildings and lights like that. It was like being in NYC. I wouldn’t recommend living out there, because I prefer 75, but he liked it because he had a two bedrooms (an extra just because), 40sqm apartment, and paid the same price as my 21sqm studio at Luxembourg. It’s a culture shock being in Paris and then being there. I recommend experiencing it at least once. 

Lol that box of candy looks like what I’d buy at M&S once a week when they put it on clearance. J’aime ces autocollant jaune. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if Paolo had an undiagnosed medical condition. He’s very weird... having conversations with himself, overthinking the gift, being defensive when Romain asks if he wants to be in the alliance, he’s way too intense for a silly game. Maybe it comes off differently in French? 

Finally gift boxes. If I were the French players I’d question why the Americans got a gift every episode and why they’re barely getting one in episode 7.

I’m confused as to why saying bienvenue is such a big deal. “She” already said it with her card. Maybe it’s one of those annoyingly old fashioned French rules. Like how you have to say hello and goodbye every time you enter and leave a shop. If you don’t? Bring on the passive aggressive and petty. France has way too many social landmines. 

Gary is the Blanche Deveraux of this show. He hits on everyone whether they’re straight or not. It illuminates the hostility that confronts gay men in Paris society, and really exemplifies why that hostility between gay men and women exists so much. The same cannot be said of Anglo culture because there is such homophobia that gay men don’t interact that way with their straight male counterparts. It’s very different in France. 

Those twins are such babies. They’re always going into hyper overdrive with their emotions and throwing a fit. I used to teach English to two little French boys (6 and 3), different families, and they would throw hissy fits like that. I think I also experienced that with a 13 year old... if that’s how Frenchmen are encouraged to act it’s really bad. I thought they were children, and that’s what children do, but seeing it on two grown men... gross. It kind of clicks everything into place for me now. And I’m wondering if I was lucky to avoid that trait with the men I dated. Or perhaps I wasn't with them long enough to experience it. 

I realize this is just a cultural difference, but I never, ever understood how the French could eat pasta with just butter. You have all of these sauces, they’re not even hard to make, and you choose butter???? It’s so gross and so unimaginative. I know in America we probably have a bastard form of pasta because Italian immigrants came over like 2-3 generations ago and they were mostly from Sicily, but BUTTER?!? And that’s also why our Chinese food is different (immigrants from different regions). Chinese food in France makes me sick. 

I’m a twin, and my brother and I were never like that. We never pushed each other to influence how the other thinks. It’s weird to think that some do that, and to watch it play out. Verbally and emotionally abusing one because they don’t agree with you? I don’t get it. Obviously he’s going to see that you’re upset and then you will have changed his true feelings to appease what you wanted. Throwing a strop to get them to agree with you? What is spousal abuse but for twins? I’m glad I was never the kind of twin that depended on my twin’s opinion or needed it. And yes, those do exist, “the opposites”. I think the ‘we have to think the same, act the same, do the same, be the same’ is more prélevant in identicals or same sex because they’re born with the crutch of needing the other. One will not need the other as much, but one will, and they’ll feed on that codependency, and exploit it. It can become abusive. I saw this in my last relationship with Christian Kinnersley; he couldn’t even take a shit unless his brother okayed it. In fraternals we’re able to form our own opinions and be our own person. We don’t need the other as much because we don’t go into the world seeming to be one person. We look different, so people treat us as if we are our own person. 

Episode 8: 

This is so stupid. They could just kick out Nelia and call it a day. No need for dramatics. Romain was stupid trying to throw Gary out because Gary is in the alliance and doesn’t realize otherwise so carrying on to the end would have been a better option. And telling Ines so quickly? Strategy doesn’t seem to be the French’s strong suit. 

The shoes were the first hint that she’s not from Paris. I have never seen a Frenchgirl with that much personality. I thought she was another London transplant, because Frenchgirls are much more subdued, and she reminds me of the French that have spent time away, but Avignon... I’ve only been to Avignon once and it was because the train stopped there, and not in Lourmarin, so no idea what the people are like there. 

Episode 9: 

That’s ligne 1 crossing into La Défense. But the two columns with the statues on top is Barrière de Trône, which is on the other side of the city in Nation. If you walk around certain parts of Paris you can see the rémanents of the old gates. These were where they collected taxes to come into the city. I stayed for like a week near Nation, in a hotel on Rue de Maraîchers. I want to say it was in late November of 2018... Christian Kinnersley found me a place on Airbnb but the guy was disgustingly dirty, I refused to pay for that, and I left an hour later to this hotel, Tamaris. I would walk down Cour des Vincennes, but I must have never looked up because I only remember crossing through the gates, not seeing the statues at the top. I didn’t think I’d like that part of Paris, but they had a huge Monoprix, and a Printemps, and I remember going there a few times. It’s more high street than you realize. I want to say it was late November or December... I wasn’t buying Christmas presents, but I remember buying stuff for Christian. Gah! It’s going to bother me that I can’t remember what month. It was before or in the middle of my stay in Belleville (I stayed in Belleville twice because the girl I sublet from came back and then left again for Christmas and the New Year). I remember leaving that hotel and having a taxi drive me down Pyrenees (which is a long street that stretches through the 20th). Anyhow it wasn’t a bad area, and I would recommend it. At least it’s on ligne 6 and ligne 1, the best metro ligne in my opinion. 

The show must be rigged? The only people who would have chosen Romain were Éléa and Valeria. No one else. So how does he become super influencer? No one else likes him. That’s like 4 (Virginie chose Éléa) people who would have put other people in the top spot. So how?

Why does Paolo talk so fast?! I remember hearing from French people that Parisians talk fast but this is something I have never heard before. He’s like a million miles a minute. 

I understand where Paolo comes from. I’m someone who likes to explain themselves, and their actions, so I totally get the long message. I want the person I care about to understand me. I used to send Christian Kinnersley essays everyday and to be fair I think our relationship was better for it. Nothing was open to interpretation. From my side, our relationship was completely honest, completely clear, we didn’t have that passive aggressiveness that comes from not being sincere or from hiding things. But I’m a writer so it’s my nature. However, and not to sound mean, but lmao to a guy sending a long message for once and a girl just replying “ok”. It’s funny seeing the tables turn. 

Episode 10:

Paolo was like all of those Frenchboys I went on dates with where within 5 minutes I was looking for the exit because the douche vibe was just too strong. Women’s intuition, you really don’t need more than a few minutes to know it’s not for you. Add to that the French arrogance and *puke*. That’s probably why I didn’t gel well with Frenchmen. Too many Paolos.

Episode 11:

I’m probably in the minority but I find it funny that they say holy cow. I don’t think anyone has said that since the 90’s. I’ve never heard anyone in Paris say it and I wonder if it’s a Southern French thing.

Romain is super petty and it’s really gross. I despise men like that. It’s such an off putting personality trait, and a extremely unattractive trait in men. He’s a like a 13 year old girl with a burn book. 

Small gripe but the translator isn’t doing a very good job at telling the viewer exactly what they’re saying. I hate when that happens because you lose a lot of what’s going on. 

As I mentioned earlier, the overstylized look of the show isn’t very Parisian, but if anyone wants to achieve that look you can find it at Casa, which has a few locations in Paris, including on my old street rue de Passy. And you can also find it at H&M home (in Châtelet), or of course IKEA, which has a small location in Madeleine (finally no RER). The other French home stores don’t really do all of that gold and velvet, which is highly popular at the moment. I never saw it at any of the high end stores near rue de Bac. 

Episode 12:

I don’t like Romain but I feel bad for him. To get to know someone through message over a period time is a bonding experience. Assuming you’re not pretending to be someone you’re not. But I’m assuming they’ve only been in there a week or two? So it’s not been that long but... As I’ve mentioned before in my last relationship with Christian Kinnersley we talked every day for months (and then years), and while it’s not easy, it definitely brings you closer to someone. There’s an intimacy there that doesn’t happen in other situations. But oh my god to walk in and see it’s not her! That’s going to hurt. I don’t understand catfishing at all. Why do you want to hurt someone? Even if you don’t know them, why hurt anyone? It’s so malicious. I don’t hurt people, even those I don’t know, I would feel too guilty. Even if I never met them. The guilt at being so cruel would be too much. I could never live with myself. Even now the guilt I feel from the situation with Christian, someone who ripped me apart, still eats at me. Catholic guilt I guess. Romain took it better than I would have. 

The American Circle had a one hour reunion. Not sure why they didn’t do something like that for this series. Covid? 

That ending was such a shame. Not at all who I wanted to win.