Céline Pernet, Film director
My name is Céline, I’m 35 and I’m single with no children. I’ve been attracted to men for as long as I can remember. However, I must have missed the train that takes princesses to the combo of a fulfilled married life, a house in the country, a screaming baby and a SUV in the garage before the age of 30. I’m wondering today. What could have gone wrong to make me so much less than what was expected of me?
Over the course of 3 years, I’ve racked up a rather respectable score of 476 matches on Tinder, 65 dates and around 15 short stories, as nice as they are short-lived. One thing you need to know about the wonderful world of dating apps is that on a first date, it doesn’t take much more than 10 minutes to find out whether the trip was worth the candle or not. But the implicit codes of lightning dating – and a modicum of human decency – require both parties to be present for around 60 minutes before politely excusing themselves. As a result, I’ve had a great many encounters with strangers, whose ultimate purpose was no longer the quest for love, but the need to fill the time. Strange interludes of life, suspended moments. Once the usual banalities were out of the way, I was only moderately enthusiastic about the prospect of going on to rain and shine. So I naturally got into the habit of asking these men, with great simplicity and a touch of candor, what it was like to be a man in the great theater of human relations.
I was struck by the spontaneity and sincerity with which men my age spoke to me. Thanks to a meeting tool that was commonplace for people of my generation, I had opened a breach, a direct access to the male psyche. The ritual that kept me from sinking into the tedium of sterile exchanges soon became fertile ground for an investigation as exciting as it was fascinating. I needed to know more. Until then, the male empire had appeared to me as a relative societal fiasco. Suddenly, I was discovering men who wanted to talk to me, exchange ideas and who weren’t afraid to lay themselves bare. What they told me, their questions and doubts, echoed the state of mind of a generation searching for its identity and no longer necessarily recognizing itself in the principles of masculinity imposed by the macho system. They are trying – not without difficulty – to build an identity for themselves outside the myth of virility that no longer really suits them. These men touch and challenge me. I see in their fragility and discomfort the unexpected promise of a possible change in our relationships. What began as an innocent game on the tortuous path of my love life became, in the space of a few weeks, the genesis of a veritable documentary investigation into the heart of our intimate relationships. Thanks to the success of these first encounters, I had the perfect opportunity to explore the world and the words of men.
In 2020, I launched an appeal, posting an advert on social networks. Within a few weeks, I received almost fifty messages from men (aged between 30 and 45) whom I didn’t know at all. They all told me they wanted to talk to me. Face-to-face, in front of my camera, they talked to me about seduction, sex, relationships, work and fatherhood, love and their dicks too. In this direct, free speech, I saw the portrait of a generation of men take shape. Men who want us to meet, talk to each other, and one day find a way to rewrite together new ways of being and living together.