Viva la Parisienne!
While I was in Paris, I couldn’t help but notice that there is a certain je nais se quois about the women – I mean, of course, the French woman has been a muse of mythological proportion ever since the days of Marie Antoinette, Madame DuBarry, and Madame Pompadour. Seeing and feeling this first hand, however, was a completely trans-formative experience. I love the rebellious, rock n’ roll vibe that modern French women (I confess, I have a hopeless girl crush on Caroline de Maigret!) have – especially in their attitude towards their hair, makeup, and the whole aging process. I mean, obviously I can’t really do the whole tousled “just got out of bed” hair look as my 1940’s femme fatale/Snow White/John Willie drawing aesthetic calls for perfectly coiffed pin-curled hair, but I can appreciate the philosophy behind it. I also thought that I was the only one who found overly whitened teeth to be unnatural and revolting – I love seeing natural skin with no fillers, no overly plumped and puffy lips, and absolutely no (obvious) breast implants. Take gorgeous Lou Doillon, for example:
Living in California can really do a number on your psyche, especially as a woman. We are far too preoccupied with the superficial, it seems. It seems that the French find perfection in the imperfect, which I am completely enamored by. It was so refreshing to see that the airbrushed and contoured look hasn’t taken over the modern world! The French also seem to value quality above quantity, another thing that I practice in my daily life. Long ago, I completely cut out buying “fast fashion” – it has been 10 years or so. I love the fact that I didn’t see a single woman running around in workout gear or yoga pants, hair sweaty and tied back in a sloppy ponytail or messy bun. There is a time and place for everything, and I don’t want to see sweaty people coming from the gym with boring green smoothies in their hands and a Fitbit on their wrist. I don’t want to hear about your awesome workout, either. Yawn. It’s like hearing about how you brushed your teeth before bedtime, or how you fold your laundry. I don’t want to witness the mundane, the routine, and the expected. I’m not saying that you can never make exceptions – just don’t slip into the easy, boring thing. I am in a constant need for a feast of the senses. I love it when I see some freakishly glamorous being in real life, it just makes everything that much more interesting. I love the idea of being a character in my own play. Life is too short to be a cookie-cutter replica of everyone else.
Let’s talk about skincare for a moment. I came to the realization that so many of us do things because of the results promised, and not for the sheer enjoyment of indulging in a little luxury. I mean, what fun is it if everything is so starkly clinical and promises the world, but doesn’t indulge the senses? I want to slather myself in rich creams that smell of sweet honey and rose petals. All of the results in the world aren’t worth it if you haven’t enjoyed yourself. So instead of constantly falling for the promises of “the appearance of less wrinkles!”, “a brighter complexion!”, and “a virtually pore-less visage!”, I will take my beautifully scented creams with a side of results, s’il vous plait.
Also, I know that Jane Birkin is not technically French, but she is such an icon in France and she completely embodies the “don’t give a fuck” aesthetic that I am talking about! Plus, she and Serge Gainsbourg– I mean, come on…SO glamorous.
Also, let’s talk about the French diet. First of all, not like, “Hey, I need to lose 30 lbs. and all I’m going to eat for a month is grapefruit and cabbage”. Not that kind of diet. I’m talking about diet in the original sense of the Greek word diaita, meaning “a way of life“. While I may not be at my ideal weight, I truly do my best to be health conscious without completely sacrificing indulgence. You can do both, you simply need a plan. I am not a saint, by any means, but I try to adhere to a healthy food philosophy that works for my life. I appreciate the French sensibility of knowing how to balance a mousse de canard smothered baguette and a bottle of red wine (the holy trinity!) with a long walk up to Sacre Coeur. I mean, sure, they will most likely order a fresh baked croissant when they get to the top, but a little walk goes a long way. I know that this was mostly incoherent and in no way edited, but et voila!
The Comrade General