« Living in the Shadow of the Perfect Parisian Woman »
Two years ago I went to the American Library in Paris to hear American writer Jamie Cat Callan speak about her book, Ooh là là: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day.
This charming lady explained to the gathered crowd, the majority of whom were Anglophone and Francophile, how French women were wonderful: always elegant, always sexy, and always refined. When the mediator asked for questions, everybody agreed that French women are perfect models for other women. Everybody, except me.
I stood up and said, “I don’t have any questions, but a comment. I’m annoyed by all of the books about French and Parisian women that say that French women are perfect. As you can tell from my accent, I’m French, and if I believe most of these books, as a French woman:
I never get fat (from the book French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Galliano).
I’m a sex goddess (from the book What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind by Debra Ollivier).
I am a femme fatale (from the book Fatale: How French Women Do It by Edith Kunz).
I have two lovers (from the book Two Lovers and a Lipstick
by Helena Fritz-Powell), and of course I never sleep alone (French Women Don’t Sleep Alone: Pleasurable Secrets to Finding Love by Jamie Cat Callan).
I’m always chic, and I always match my underwear, even when I go to throw my garbage away at midnight (Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer Scott and Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance by Tish Jett).
And not only am I The Perfect Lover, even if I have children, I am also the best mother in the world! (French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman).
“You know what?” I said smiling, “It’s a little too much for only one woman… even for me! I feel very sorry for American women, and if I was an American I would hate