Being French, I must admit that I had rarely seen men wearing cufflinks in my home country. Don’t get me wrong, it must have happened a few times, but it was for special occasions only. And it was the epitome of chic -some French friends were even saying that it was a tad too much. I remember thinking that it was a bit like jewellery for men. In fact, I was very impressed. And I quickly forgot about it.
Little did I know that, over here, cufflinks are just replacements for shirt buttons; you can get shirts without buttons, purposely made for cufflinks, everywhere -in fact, come to think of it, most formal shirts are supposed to be worn with cufflinks. It is a nice touch, it looks elegant and smarter. All you need to do is to put the cufflinks through and turn the thing at the end so it forms a T-shape. Voila!
Everybody wears cufflinks over here. No need for a special occasion. No need to be a banker. It’s everywhere. Some even wear them with jeans and nobody bats an eyelid. It came to a surprise to me.
It was all over the press, and I read about it this morning. Apparently, women were barred from the Cannes festival for not wearing high heels. The irony was that, while reading all the articles -and despite being French- I was wearing my black leggings that I bought on sale, my old trainers that I can’t manage to throw away, and my torn T-shirt. Nowadays I seem to be living in my running gear. Except if I have to go out, that is. Obviously if I have to go somewhere posh I will adapt myself. If not, well, I live in London now, and my neighbour bought his morning newspapers in his bathrobe yesterday anyway. So what’s wrong with my running gear again? Nothing, right? And fear not, it’s not flashy. It’s just, well, black. See, I am still (a bit) French.
In London, things can easily get too intense. We just never stop. I am sometimes so busy that I forget to have lunch. Believe me, this would never happen in France (As a matter of fact, it has never happened to me in France). I wonder where this social pressure is coming from. I suppose it what makes London, well, what it is. That said, I must admit that I needed a break. It must have been karma, because shortly afterwards I received an invitation to try out Spa London‘s Signature treatment: Cleopatra Milk & Honey Ritual. I had to accept. You see, it was research. It was work. At least that was my excuse.
I love going to spas, but somehow I never find the time. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried many, many times. But, you see, I am a simple girl. I hate places that are too clinical, where they talk slowly, and take themselves far too seriously. I also hate products that smell like artificial sweets, and have complicated names. I once laughed at the face of the therapist who wanted to put a stinking cream with some caviar in it on my face (please!). The thought of having fish eggs on my face was just too much.
As a result, I usually go the the cheapest option around, and only for the most basic treatments (waxing anyone?). This means that I often end up in the basement of a hairdresser or a nail salon for a few minutes of torture (yes, even threading bloody hurts).
Don’t lecture me about methodology. After all, even the best experts of the UK had predicted the result of the General Election completely wrong. They were way off the mark. So here it is: I have irrefutable evidence that French women don’t age. Why? How? Hear me out, and take note please.
I recently discovered this site How Old Do I Look?, and of course I have given it a try (Ahem: more than one try, if you must know. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. And it was all in the name of research anyway. At least that’s my excuse).
I tried it first with this picture:
Next week, it will be the start of the Cannes film festival. Are you going to climb the red steps? I would love to….But no, my excuse is that I am stuck in London, taking care of the kids/the house/the business/take your pick. I wish I could go…One day maybe.
The Cannes festival got me thinking: as you know, we French are different. We have our own movie stars. We have our own stories. So what are the differences between Cannes and the Oscars? Look at the infographic I found, thanks to Skylight…
If you read the papers over here, there is a good chance that you will find at least one article about child obesity. The irony is that, in France, we don’t talk about this issue much. That said, I understood more about the issue last week when I saw teenage girls in school uniforms queuing at a local restaurant to get a takeaway for their lunches. Guess what the lunch consisted of: a huge portion of fries (like, a whole paper plate), with dollops of mayonnaise (or ketchup) on top of it. I couldn’t believe it. The owner even had a special deal for them, and was calling them sweetheart and darling. They were clearly regulars. My lunch never ever consisted of a huge portion of fries. It is just something that a French person wouldn’t do, you see. If you are in a rush, you have a salad or a sandwich, or even a kebab. Never just fries. It simply wouldn’t cross my mind.
I almost forgot. You have until tomorrow (12th of April) midnight (UK time) to nominate me (pretty please) in the ‘Outstanding‘ Category. I know, I know, I am a disorganised mess…Just click on the nomination form here and voila, the rest should take care of itself. My Twitter is @FrenchYumMummy and leave the email blank. No need to fill out all the categories.
So why should you nominate me? Right, it is time to do a bit of self-promotion. Here we go:
1. You should (soonish) see me (don’t ask me when, the production company can’t tell me an exact date) in a big TV commercial. If it happens (because let’s admit it, I am starting to lose hope), you will be able to say that you have read my blog for a long, long time. You could show off about it, etc…In short, you will be ahead of the game. So what have you got to lose?
Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that not all men have been blessed with the gift of wits and nerves of steel, much less the skills required to hook the interest of a woman. In fact, let’s be realistic here: most men don’t have these talents (sorry, guys). That said, it’s alright to be a bit shy. And this is probably why the pickup line was invented. But remember, the pickup line is a double-edged sword. No pressure, but it is a make-or-break thing, and everything depends on how she will take it. And don’t forget that good sense of humour can depend on culture and social rules (see here if you don’t believe me…)
This morning, for instance, I was coming back home from the gym (Seriously, what is it with guys and sweatpants? I will never understand) when this guy stopped, and told me:
“- Excuse me, do I know you from somewhere?”
Pathetic. This was simply pathetic. Come on, if he knew me, then surely he would remember me. I would like to think that I am not someone you can forget so easily. So, either he was simply lying, and well, at least he tried to say something. But if it were true, and he really knew me, what a pathetic question! Did I make such a lame impression when we first met? Next time, just shut up.
I just smiled, said “I don’t think so”, and walked away.
I realised that we French had the reputation to be stylish in all circumstances when I crossed the Channel to come to live in London. This reputation also extends to French children who apparently often are the coolest kids on the block, no matter what. I must admit that I never really understood what earned us such a reputation but hey, here we are. Let’s just enjoy it. There is no point in fighting cliches, right? I decided a long time ago to go with the flow anyway.
That said, I also quickly understood that anything remotely French was more expensive this side of the Channel. As in, far more expensive. Come to think of it, it is the same with restaurants, isn’t it? Whenever the menu is translated in French (often with a lot of mistakes), the price goes up. And up. Seriously, brands that would be completely common in France suddenly become super-expensive when they are sold over here. And to make matters even worse, quite a few brands are not available at all. It takes time to find where to shop when you move abroad. Well, at least, it took me some time to know where to shop. And I still stock up on some products in France. Yes, even after 10 years.
Have you noticed that we women have a much tougher deal than men? Seriously, why do we have so much pressure on our shoulders? How are we supposed to ‘have it all’? Seriously, just try to list all we have to do all the time:
1. We have to look good
2. We have to be great cooks BUT..
3. We mustn’t put on weight -of course we mustn’t (see point 1)
4. We have to take care of the children, the household, and sometimes a job on top of everything else (don’t talk to me about sharing the workload, we women always end up with more than our fair share. Always. Sorry, guys.)
5. We have to pretend that we are not tired (no, Darling, not at all) when hubby is in need of some affection
6. We must always be a good daughter/wife/sister/friend/person…(doesn’t it upset you that men can get away with murder when we get slammed just because we forgot a birthday card or, even worse, we got a bit angry at someone or something? Seriously, why the double standard? )
7. We have to justify our every move when men NEVER get a single comment about their choices (Yes, I want to run a marathon. But what about the time it will take to train? Now give me a break, this is a question you wouldn’t ask if I were a guy. See what I mean?)
And so on, and so forth. It just never stops.