So I was recently in Paris. A dreamy trip. I hadn’t been there in, well, I will not even say how many decades because it is too surreal and makes me feel a bit ancient, but I do feel extremely fortunate to have been there twice now in one lifetime. And believe me when I tell you I have pledged to go back sooner the next time around! Anyway, I decided not to write about any of it until I was back in my cozy apartment in New England, and so, here I am…with my first post-Paris musings.
I have many things to share in regard to Paris, and my trip in general, but here’s a tidbit I cannot hold in for one moment longer:
As I was sitting at an outdoor cafe table at a lovely little boulangerie last week, my attention was taken hostage by four adorable little children playing with a remote control brand of car on the Parisian sidewalk a few yards in front of me. I was mesmerized by their laughter. And by how the striped linings of their diminutive jackets matched their socks. And then, I was even more mesmerized by their two mothers, who eventually sauntered over in their chic weekend Parisian casual outfits. They were so fashionable, so maternal..and so…smoking hot! No, not just because of their bodies or their vintage designer scarves…but because of their actual nicotine-filled cigarettes. The ones they politely held off to the left side of their skinny-jeaned hips as they balanced a toddler or two on the right...in an act of maternal consideration, I’m assuming.
I myself am still shocked when I see humans of any gender smoking anywhere, (most especially in a car, windows up, or down!) in any city in the northeastern US of A, where I spend most of my time. But they still do. So although it didn’t absolutely shock me to see French women smoking on a sidewalk, between talk of pre-school and croissants, while holding babies and toddlers on their hips, it brought on an entirely different bouquet of feelings and realizations.
One being the fact that French women (and other European women, I’m sure) are, for the most part, so much less angsty and guilt-ridden than their American counterparts (i.e. YOU AND ME).
I’m not advocating smoking within a ten foot radius of children, and I’m not even an advocate of smoking in general…but it admittedly bent my mind a bit to witness firsthand in my rather brief ten-day visit just how much more FUN French women seem to have, in general.
They sit around in cafes savoring flaky croissant and pain au chocolat. They slather sweet butter on their bread at dinner. The younger crowd saunter home from work, happily munching on ~ GASP ~ baguettes, peeking from a slender paper bag. Pastries. Bread. Carbs. And all with no look of guilt or remorse. Holy **** Batman!!!
They drink wine. All day. Seemingly with every meal and snack. With the exception of breakfast, perhaps.
Which generally consists only of coffee. And maybe another chunk of…ummm…bread.
They don’t seem to be overly obsessed with the concept of a “gym”…they seem to get most of their exercise running to the Metro in their fashionable shoes and lifting their wine glasses and coffee cups. A ritual which can sometimes drag on for hours. They also seem to get plentiful exercise hugging and air-kissing their friends. And French-sidewalk-kissing their spouses, dates and lovers. Which, I am quite certain, are numerous and of the guilt-free variety.
With the exception of smoking in the vicinity of children, I am already WAY on board with the women of Paris…and have been for most of my adult life. But still, even for moi, it was a slightly painful and anger-inducing reminder of how angst-ridden, guild-ridden, and repressed the women of America are, in general. The ridiculous conditioning we have been force-fed by our uptight society.
Sex is everywhere, sensual pleasures abound...yet very few of us feel truly freely sexual, sensual…or are enjoying the small, daily pleasures of life.
I’ve always enjoyed the sensual pleasures of life…eating yummy and simple things, using the “good” silver (or silver plate or flatware)…not saving the crystal or the candles or the good china for special occasions. But even I have, at times, succumbed to the pressure of air-brushed models in magazines, “diets”, carb-shaming, sex-shaming, and people looking at you cross-eyed if you order wine with lunch. Not at this point in my life, most certainly…but at a much younger age. Before I learned the joys of a guilt-free, empowered, womanly existence. I’m still always working on perfecting my womanly craft, of course…but I’m getting better and better.
And so…I implore you, my friends and comrades in arms…eat some carbs. Slowly. Drink some wine. Slowly. Enjoy your food. Laugh with your friends. Sit around and sip some really good coffee. Out of small cups. Real cups. (As opposed to plastic cups the size of a 7-Eleven Slushie). Kiss your friends on both cheeks. Kiss your spouse on the sidewalk. Like you are a teenager. Date. Find a lover. Find two if you so desire. And don’t feel guilty.
And if you must smoke…go right ahead. It’s your life. It’s your business. Is it really that much worse than putting horribly unhealthy things like “fat-free half and half” in your coffee each morning? Or downing a bag of chemical-laden Snackwells snack-a-doodles? Or Girl Scout cookies? Ok I know it probably is, because smoking is gross...but in twenty years Thin Mints may be proven to cause stomach cancer. God only knows.
Just try to please keep the smoke and fake fats away from the children.
But definitely let them use the good silver.
(AS ALWAYS...I encourage you to share this post with wild abandon! Make someone smile. Brighten someone's day. Lighten up someone's life. Share the Love, Support and Laughter. Be THAT person!) xo