For reasons that I will explain elsewhen, I found myself last September, in a three-hour French acting class. (I am not French and I do not wish to be an actor.)

During this terrifying ordeal, participants were required to take part in a simple game. Two chairs were placed on stage. The first was christened J’aime, the second, J’aime Pas. With two people poised for action, the high-tempo game begins.

Mr J’aime must call out things he likes, alternating with Mrs J’aime-Pas who calls out things she doesn’t like. They must continue in quick succession, ideally, I supposed, to infinity. Simple.

The catch? You can’t say anything similar to the previous statement, and you aren’t allowed to hesitate. If you do, you’re off, and the next person jumps on stage. Oh yeah, and you have to do it in French.

Halfway through the ‘game’, I launched myself into the recently vacated ‘J’aime Pas’ chair and found myself utterly incapable of thinking of anything I truly disliked (except putting forks in my eyes, which I loudly announced to the confusion of my audience). I proceeded to spew various random words and phrases which could loosely constitute things one wouldn’t like, until I was thrown off stage for hesitating.

On returning to my place in the audience, I racked my brains, astonished, for why it had been such a difficult task. Was it the lights? Stage fright? The language? Or could it be that at 32 years old I had no idea what I liked or didn’t like?

Panicked, I made a quick list: like light, don’t like stage fright. And language? Well of course I like that; it helps me get things on the inside of my head, out. There! I DID know! Phew.

But just to make sure, I thought I’d write it all down…


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