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Here’s an open secret:

Men chase after women, beg and plead, convince them to marry them with a thousand and one methods of flattery and then – after the wedding – subject them to every manner of verbal tribulation imaginable.

Why is this? Billions of inkwells have probably run dry trying to explain the reason. What’s clear is that many, many more will run dry trying to explain this state of affairs in the time to come as well.

Instead of embarking upon an analysis of the union of men and women – a task surely more difficult than splitting the atom – let me relate an unseemly comparison that I recently heard.

Whatever his name was said this:

“A married woman is like a TV, while a girlfriend is like a mobile phone.

“You watch TV at home; when you go out, you carry your mobile with you.

“A TV is free for life, but your mobile is cut off as soon as you fail to pay the bill.

“Speaking on a mobile is two-way – you talk and you listen. With a TV, however, all you do is listen.”

Where did this gauche comparison come from, you ask? From the couple eating at the next table over!

Given the man’s exaggerated interest, it was clear that the woman sitting across the table was, within the parameters of the aforementioned, tactless description, a “mobile phone” – although a phone of decidedly old and unwieldy provenance. From her head to the sandals on her feet, she was glistening gaudily in a dress sporting much embroidery. Her phone case was even like that. Where on earth would she wear such elaborate evening attire?

To the beach restaurant of the Carlton Hotel!

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The Carlton is an icon of Cannes and one of the first things to come to mind when one mentions the city. During the annual film festival, famous artists and cinema people spend the night there. Still, for all its reputation, it’s a hotel that has become fairly ratty and antiquated. This is something that becomes apparent as soon as you enter the lobby. The sitting room is filled with old (not classic) furniture and coffee tables. The windows, meanwhile, are covered with tulle curtains. We weren’t up for eating there, so we crossed over to the restaurant on the seafront opposite the hotel.

And it’s a good thing we did: We had come to a beach restaurant that was much more dynamic with better service and more satisfying fare. On a warm autumn day next to the sea, we sampled some farmed sea bass that wasn’t half-bad. I asked, and they said it had come from Corsica, and it cost significantly less than the same sea bass we had had at the Eden Roc. To be frank, they didn’t provide a fish knife, but I’m not sure if paying 20 euros more for the same fish just for the privilege of using a fish knife is a sound investment. The grilled vegetables served alongside the fish were themselves colorful, vivid and delectable. The same went for the salad that was crowned with fennel, and we enthusiastically ate everything with the accompaniment of white wine.

While gazing off at those lying on the perfect sand by the water, my wife asked:

“Are you happy with your new mobile?”

I was instantly startled. If I had been young, I would have looked into her eyes and tried to determine whether there was something between the lines of her question.

“I’m happy, although it doesn’t get reception everywhere,” I said, choosing my words carefully.

“Don’t forget it!”

“I won’t,” I said, taking it from the table and inserting it into the pocket of my trousers with care.

At the next table, the men with dyed hair was continuing his barrage of compliments to the iridescent woman. We got up, and started walking hand in hand along the Croisette.

Single men, I guarantee that if you choose a good TV, you’ll be able to watch great things your whole life!

Decide for yourself on the mobile issue…. But I hope you won’t forget that women never drop their mobile phones!

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