I have noticed the locals speak quite softly. Parisian voices are more moderated, the women especially, and the lilt in the speech is sing-songy instead of monotone. (You can hear the Americans and Germans before you can see them, and the Italians are the ones shouting across the streets and waving their arms.) Even if Parisians are sharing your table, you can’t hear the conversation. I find it easy then to linger in cafés to write without feeling like I’m intruding. So I often do. This weekend I found a nice quiet café in a very chic section, and enjoyed a lovely hour of it. Enter the American newlyweds. Within minutes they got into a fight because she wanted a boob job and he thought that was shallow. Two French couples got up and moved–one of them thankfully, because they had B.O. I thought maybe I’d get a blog write-up out of it, so I stuck around to listen. Here’s what I learned. One, try not to speak so loudly anymore. Regardless of the topic, it just isn’t feminine. Two, if others move away from me, it’s a sign that either my underarms or my behavior stinks. Three, never ever look to my partner for approval about my own body image, especially in public. I’m not one to promote plastic surgery, but she was asking him for something she couldn’t give herself: Permission to be happy with who she was. Four, after someone says ‘boob job’ in a café for the eighth time, my ability to not make a joke about my cup being half-full falls off dramatically. So, I quietly paid my bill and took my own boobies back home to work.