This morning I began reading, Caroline de Maigret's book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. Finally, a fresh take on what it means to be French. The synopsis touched on the behavior of French women, their complicated, often contradictory feelings. "They admit to being snobs, a bit self-centered, unpredictable but not unreliable. Bossy and opinionated, they are also tender and romantic." WAIT. I MUST be French. Are all women French? Page one was filled with valuable life lessons. “Don’t be afraid of aging.” And two: “Always be fuckable”—even when you’re standing in line to buy a baguette." Yes, they eat. Baguettes none the less. I say, "Comme il faut" (as it should be)! Check out an excerpt from the book below. xxb
An excerpt from How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits
1:00 p.m.: First Date at the Café de Flore
She picks up the menu. Each time, the same thought crosses her mind: In her hands, this is more of a geographical map, an intimate and chaotic path through the jungle of her culinary neuroses, than a restaurant menu. She will have to battle her way without stumbling, and without looking like she’s asking herself too many questions.
No, wrong choice. She’ll just end up using the salmon as a pretext for eating all the blinis and crème fraîche. Her greed could end up on her hips.
Does this man sitting across from her realize how difficult it is to be a woman in this city? Probably not. But she doesn’t want to judge him too quickly.
Haricots verts salad
The problem with a first date is that her every gesture will take on a particular meaning. He’s watching her as if he’s filming her, recording her movements forever: the way in which she loses her phone in her large handbag, and that message on her voice mail she can’t help listening to in front of him. He is analyzing her. Disorganized, a tad nervous, compulsively sociable. One day, later on, he will find out that she weighs herself every morning, but for now, he must believe that her figure is simply nature’s gift. Better to choose a real dish, giving him the hackneyed image of a bon vivant and letting him believe that this is her approach to all the great pleasures of life.
Warm duck confit?
Her finger, somewhat nervously, scrawls down several lines on this damned menu. The waiter is coming over, and she knows she will have to come to a decision. And so she figures she will brave the danger with an act of courage. She will choose something adventurous:
“Welsh rarebit,” she says.
She reads out the foreign words so casually you’d think she’d done it a hundred times before. The man opposite her looks up, surprised, and she savors the effect. Of course, she has no idea what she’s just ordered. On the menu, in small print, it says: “a specialty made from cheddar, beer, and toast.” Inwardly she smiles: inedible. No matter, she will talk enough for him not to notice that she’s ignoring her plate. The waiter then turns to the man.
“I’ll have the same, please,” he says.
In a flash, the whole scene crumbles. A sheep, a follower. Suddenly she realizes that his conversation has been peppered with banalities for the past half hour. She now knows she’ll eat two bites, then find a reason to leave before the hour is up. And she will never see him again. Adieu.
Adapted from the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits © Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas. Published by Doubleday, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.