Bearing Her Chest At The Omi

The French obviously think nothing of baring their chests…
but an American woman at the OMI…??
(Photo taken recently at Le Bistrot à Vins de Jacques Melac.)

Bearing Her Chest at the OMI

Parler Paris–your daily taste of life in Paris and France

Thursday, February 19, 2004
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

The last step to obtain my daughter’s “Carte de Résident” was to pass a medical exam at the Office des Migrations Internationales (OMI). Perhaps you’ve followed the saga…the ongoing tale of bureaucratic procedures to procure this valuable 10-year document, which started long ago last summer with a 6-hour wait (5 of which were standing out on the street) to see a clerk just to get an appointment at the Préfecture. It was almost like giving birth, and I can assure you, more labor intensive.

The OMI for Paris is located in the suburb of Bagnolet. They don’t make it easy. The Métro 3 line takes you to the end — Gallieni — then a bus from there will take you to rue Hoche (number 53/55), or Bus 76 from Paris is direct. These directions are not provided for you…and since no human ever answers their phone, you must learn this on your own.

The appointment at the OMI was uneventful. It lasted one hour and a certificate was issued that we turned in the following Monday at the Préfecture along with a “tampon” costing 220 euros. The Carte de Résident was issued, glued into her passport and she boarded the flight to New York the next day, a bona fide resident of France.

Unlike my daughter’s experience, one of our readers openly related her very different and exciting experience at the OMI. I am compelled to share this with you now (with her permission, of course!…

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a French medical experience but I arrived armed with my poor French ready to listen up, answer questions, and follow directions as best I could. I walked in and understood enough to know that the receptionist wanted me to follow the nurse through the door and to take a seat while waiting for my name to be called.

Once my name was called I walked up and gave some information about myself and then was directed to the first door on the right clearly marked with a large 1. Upon entering I was told to take a plastic cup and prepare a urine sample for testing. This was easy enough and I completed the task with ease. As I was washing my hands and waiting for the doctor to give me my next directions a young handsome doctor came into the room.

Of course I was staring right at him and so we made eye contact when he looked in my direction. He went over to the older doctor and had a quick laugh with him in French while giving him a friendly shoulder rub. Cute and friendly, I thought.

Well, it was onto door number 2 for me — a female nurse was there waiting to weigh me and measure my height. After many failed attempts to have a full conversation with me in French she finally gave up and walked me to the small group of doors marked with large 3s on them. She explained that I would go through the door and there would be an adjoining door leading to the X-ray room. I would be having a chest X-ray to test for Tuberculosis. She directed me to remove all my clothing and jewelry from the waist up.

OK, I thought no problem. Well, I get everything off and am just working on un-hooking my bra when suddenly the adjoining door opens and to my complete, nearly-naked surprise, it is Mr. young handsome doctor!

I was so startled to see him (or anyone for that matter) that my eyes must have actually exited their sockets momentarily.

He said something in French as I stood there nearly topless unable to register even if he was speaking my own language. He then motioned and I realized he wanted my papers — he then told me to finish undressing and follow him into the X-ray room.

Here in France I found out that they don’t believe in those cute little tissue tops or gowns that we puritans are given in the States — and without one I felt my puritan roots spring out of my feet and attach themselves to that little cubicle that was separating me from the rest of the étrangers on one side and nudity with the young doctor on the other.

Well, what is a girl to do? I walked right into the room with my DD’s making the eye contact that my averted eyes avoided. He asked me to stand in front of the X-ray machine and then came over and positioned me right up to it. He left to take the photo and then came back and gently turned me to the side and while standing in front of me advised me to breath in deeply and then to exhale. I did this and while trying to concentrate he had both hands on my neck re-positioning my head from one side to the other — he was so close to my face that our noses were touching.

My eyes were still averted — I was doing everything I could not to look at him as he moved my head around standing an inch in front of me. He went again to take the photo and then returned for the next side. Again he did the whole routine of gently moving my head and causally touching noses — this time though he moved my head in a way that caused me to look forward…only to find him staring right at me –his nose touching mine.

Without any thought I let out a bit of a nervous giggle and then looked away. After a second he left to take the photo. Without further ado he respected my nervousness and simply dismissed me to get dressed.

Yes, it is very clear that Mr. Cute doctor was out of line and if he wasn’t so cute and if my Tuesday evening wasn’t so boring I might have taken offense. But I have to admit that it was the most excitement I have felt in a while and I actually ‘kinda’ enjoyed what the experience added to my rainy Tuesday in Paris.

Tiffiny Aasen for Parler Paris

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. If you have a special story you think our readers would be interested in, don’t hesitate to write me at (Any story you send may be used — or not — and edited as we deem appropriate.)

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