Ask the French: Sex, Food, and Conspiracy Theories

A group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant

Which politician would you like to have a beer with? It’s a typical survey question. And as you would expect, a recent French poll named president Emmanuel Macron the winner.

Less typical was when French pollsters asked, Which politician would you like to have a summer fling with? French women responded with enthusiasm. (If they asked that same question here, American women would take one look at our politicians and immediately book a flight to France.)

The French love their polls and they cover every subject imaginable. Sure, there are the usual questions about political parties, potential legislation, and the state of the economy. But then there are the fun ones…

It’s a Conspiracy!

louvre Gael Varoquaux 2
The Louvre pyramid, a popular target of Illuminati theories. Image by Gael Varoquaux/Flickr

Consider the recent survey on seven conspiracy theories. The French love conspiracy theories.

Do you think the CIA was behind the Kennedy assassination? More than half of French people do. Was the US government involved in the 9/11 attacks? A third of French people think so. How about the French Revolution—was it really an uprising of a downtrodden people, or were secret societies like the Illuminati actually pulling the strings? A quarter of French people voted for secret societies. Maybe they’ve read too many Dan Brown novels.

A large majority of those polled believe one or more of the conspiracy theories. The good news (sort of): only one in ten believes that the Earth is flat.

Sex, Sex, Sex

Image courtesy Warner Brothers
Image courtesy Warner Brothers

Sex is a popular research subject. This is France, after all. And sometimes it’s even influenced by American movies. In the blockbuster hit Wonder Woman, the starring superhero said, “When it comes to procreation, men are essential, but for pleasure, unnecessary.” In France, a poll was quickly commissioned to explore attitudes towards the statement and female masturbation.

The hookup culture got a close look when pollsters asked “How to Find Love in Paris in the Age of Tinder?” The shocking results: people in the big city are getting a lot of action. And men look for sex while women look for relationships. (They needed a poll to figure this out?)

Bon Appétit!

Image via France Diplomatie / Flickr
Image via France Diplomatie / Flickr

Then there is food, even more beloved in France than sex. A survey about bread revealed that it is extremely important that French people have a boulangerie nearby. But when it comes to the law requiring boulangeries to close one day a week, support is split. Sure, the 35-hour workweek is sacred and everyone wants to be protected from harsh working conditions. But when you’re talking about ma baguette, those darned bakers better fire up their ovens every day!

And finally there is the galette des Rois, that delicious cake with the trinket hidden inside that the French enjoy every January. Citizens were polled on their relationship with the famous treat. To absolutely no one’s surprise, 94% eat it at least once in January. Interestingly, republicans are the most likely to eat it: 99% of them have a slice.

This makes the galette even more popular than soccer, Napoleon Bonaparte, or the Eiffel Tower. So is galette theft the most heinous of crimes? There’s probably a survey for that.

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