4 May 2012

French Lessons

Creating the impression of coasting through life, especially in the face of adversity, can take a lot of effort. I find that the best way to get through the rough times is to fake it. And by faking it, I mean Pretending To Be French.

Firstly there is the walk. Purposeful, confident, erect. On my many treks to the hospital, I move as though I’m heading briskly down the Champs Elysée rather than down University Ave.

Heading down University Ave
Then there’s the style. No matter how low I’m feeling, I steadfastly refuse to cave in two things. Running shoes, and baseball caps. Athletic shoes are fine for athletics, but they’re too bulbous for downtown France and do nothing to enhance the saucy lines of my swingy summer trench coat. Baseball caps are equally unattractive and don’t belong on woman in any continent, period. (Except for Tiger Woods ex-wife Elin who manages to look quite tragic and lovely in a semi-sporty kind of way ).

My current go-to item is the summer scarf. Apparently sun and radiation don’t mix, as my doctor told me not to expose my chest and neck. So I’ve turned to scarves. Not only are they functional to protect me from harmful solar rays, but also they look so very French. In her book ‘French Woman for all seasons’, Mireille Guiliano says that scarves are the perfect accessory. She explains, for us Anglais, the secrets of creating an identity with scarves. A classic kerchief tie or daring scarf jacket for spring. A belt scarf for summer, and a necklace scarf or shoulder wrap for the fall. 

I will blindly do everything that Marielle says. Who would doubt a woman who says that, in winter, a slice of lemon or grapefruit clarifies the face. Or encourages us to eat real butter, not some low-cal chemical substitute. Or that, 'Gluttony is a desperate attempt to satisfy our head, not our stomach.'  In fact, who would dispute any of the advice written by a woman who was the spokesperson for Champagne Veuve Clicquot. After hearing what she'd have to say, you'd be a fool not to wear a 'belt scarf' in the summer. 

So, even though I can barely drag myself to Princess Margaret first class lounge every morning, I still put on lipstick and  ‘tie my scarf with flair’. And I still walk there with purpose, then purposefully home for a glass of champagne.

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