by admin

I recently experienced the weirdest thing: Herd Mentality.

It was at a concert in Paris. At first, people were standing in the courtaud; some were sitting along the walls. But as the band was late to start, a woman standing at the very front, decided to sit down on the floor. Since she was at the front, people took it as a cue and sat down too. As more spectators streamed in and saw the front-row people on the floor, they also sat down.

Sitting down became the status quo and I was  suddenly the only one standing up front. By the time the concert began, I became the anomaly and was asked to sit down as you can see in the video.

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Maybe it’s a cultural thing in France, the étiquette: to sit down during a concert might be a way to show respect for the band. Who knows? But how can you sit down while listening to the Yemen Blues’s absolutely amazing, electrifying music?

You must dance to that!

It took several trials for the band leader to raise the crowd up on its feet.

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“What you saw here at the concert is quite a métaphore for France,” said the young woman who had been sitting next to me. “It is glacé at first, but then people get more relaxed.”

Charlie, not her real name, introduced herself as being Italian, although she was actually born in Paris, of an Italian father.

Maybe by saying she is Italian, Charlie is trying to say “I am not closed in; I am willing to meet you and get to know you beyond the ‘bonjour monsieur/madame’.”

“In Italy, it’s not like this,” she added. “Paris has lost its people character and has become more mainstream, more uniform.”

As Paris’s cost of living increases and artists are no longer able to live comfortably in the city, so are affected the social ties of the city of lights. Young professionals like Charlie can no longer afford to spend 60 EUROs to hang out at a bar.

“So we never go out anymore,” Charlie said. She and her friends go to a store, buy their drinks and then hang out at a friend’s appartment.

Charlie, who is a beautiful brunette, 34 years old and single says there is very little chance for her to meet Mr. Right in such an environment.

Despite the social imperfections, I still find Paris charming. The one thing I have a hard time with is the herd mentality.

I am too American for that.