How To Be Parisian had quickly become one of my favorite books. I spent some time in Paris and learned some of these lesson without this book but this book is filled with lesson that I think every woman should live by. So, in honor of Bastille Day, here are a few lessons by the ultimate French Cool Woman:
1. "Always be fuckable." Essentially it doesn't matter if you are grabbing coffee, picking up your kids, or dropping off the laundry, look presentable and confident enough that someone would want to sleep with you. This doesn't mean you have to be done up to the nines but you don't wan't to look like you actually just left the house in your pajamas.
2. "The Parisienne retains her little imperfections, cherishes them even (the gap in her smile or her slightly crooked tooth, her prominent eyebrows or strong nose): these are the signs of a certain strength of character and allow her to feel beautiful without being perfect." When in Paris, I was constantly told not blow out my hair everyday, never fix myself smile, and to be proud of them both. It's kind of fantastic. There is an individuality that I believe we are only just starting to embrace in the United States. This being said, the French are not without their beauty routines.
3.“The skin of your face must be treated as a canvas. Start with a moisturizer . . . then hide any imperfections (bags under your eyes, the sides of your nose, pimples) with concealers (such YSL Touche Elcat as) or a BB cream.” Enhance your natural beauty with good skin care and a bit of cover up. It's not about a full face of make-up or a transformation. It's just a little big of something to embrace your face.
4. "Embrace your inner snob. (Because let's face it, that's who you are.)" This is where Americans tend to get put off by the French. In all fairness, I just think it's called being yourself. Do you know how many times I've ended up on camping trips I hate or pretentious restaurants (that I knew the food wasn't good and overpriced) because I didn't want to be the snob. Ultimately, it's about doing what's right for you. We could all do with being a little more of a snob, saying no more often, and just owning it.
5. "The Parisienne already knows knows what she must think: the opposite of what you think, no matter what." When I was in Paris, I got into the most interesting debates over dinner. No body stormed off or got angry, we'd just debate and eventually say, "ah, it is what it is". Furthermore, the kind of conversation is encouraged so people often play devil's advocate to keep an interesting conversation going. I kind of think this is wonderful because it teaches you to talk to all manner of people, how to stay calm in a disagreement, and when to let it go.
6."A measure of success is that is is udetectable. You don't talk about it, you don't tell people. The main goal is to avoid any operation that distorts or that might turn a women into a statue of doll." I'll be honest and say I am pro Botox if other measures aren't working for you. By working , I mean, if you are truly unhappy with how you look. Going to the extreme for the sake of perfection seems unnecessary and useless since we really can't fight getting older.
7. "In truth, more than wanting to look young- which is but a fleeting illusion- they want above all to above all to become the best possible version of themselves, outside and in, at any age." The focus isn't on looking young but feeling like your best self which is such a more realistic goal than perfection. I think we could celebrate this idea much more in the United States. Getting older is kind of nice. Someone recently asked me how I feel about being 30 in a few years and the thought made me excited. Sure, I'll have a few more lines but I'll also have a lot more wisdom and a lot more yoga under my belt.
8. "When it comes to revealing herself, she follows one golden rule: less is definitely more...A skirt that rides ever so slightly up her thigh when she sits down in a cafe; a wide-necked tree that slips down her shoulder as she waves for the waiter; the surreptitious hint of her breasts whens he leans down to pick up her bag." This is the idea behind French sexuality. I think we all always think of the French as a sexy culture but part of the reason is because they do sexy so subtly. While the rise of a sheer shirt with an appropriate bra or cami, only rose to fashion here a few years ago, that has been a popular one for French women. The only difference is that level of sexiness would probably be paired with a men's blazer. It isn't about being overtly sexy, it's about embracing sneak peeks.
9. "Cancel your gym session to have a drink with your friend who's just been dumped." The first thing about this statement is that French women (at least that I know) don't really like to work out because there isn't much joy to it. It really is just about being healthy and looking good but a million things are more fun. This is fair. I love to work out but at the same thing, if working out or eating healthy all the time comes at the expense of enjoying my life, then I'm NOT down for it. The second part of this statement is important. Be there for your girlfriends. Sure, maybe they've broken up 10 times before. Maybe you've heard her sob story too many times. Doesn't matter. She's in pain. Be there for her.
10. "In short, you're not a slave to the cult of the perfect body- so learn to make the best of what nature gave you." Yes. Self acceptance. You do not need to put up with the world's idea of the perfect body. You can just be you and work with what your mama gave ya! Doesn't this feel super freeing?