Yesterday I was dealing with a client at work, and when he gave me his name I didn't understand it at first, so I asked him to repeat it. When I finally understood it, he said, "Yes, well I speak French, we are, after all, in France, where we speak French. Although if I went to England I would have a rough time, har har!"
What I wanted to say:
"Yes, thank you, Mr. Le Pen*."
"Yes, that's why they hired me, because they couldn't find any French people that could speak to our international clients."
"Yay, I finally found my first actual rude Frenchman!"
What I actually said:
Just as I was biting through my tongue, my boss walked in and said, "Everything ok, Vivi?" I responded through clenched teeth, "Everything is REALLY REALLY GREAT."
I like to think that the jerk realized he'd gone to far because by the end of the transaction he wasn't nearly as smug, but I fumed about it all day. And I have to say the the vast majority of our clients are very sweet and patient and love that I'm one of them there ferners from across the ocean (they usually assume I am either English or Scandinavian - yes I am that pale).
For five years I've been saying that I have yet to meet the stereotypical rude Frenchman, but voila! - I've found him!
*Jean-Marie Le Pen is the founder of the ultra-right wing political group that believes that all immigrants should go away, among other lovely sentiments.