Friday, October 15, 2010

The French are Different From You and Me

I've been obsessed with this Monday New York Times article about French working mothers. Not so much the part about the state-sponsored "vaginal gymnastics" coaching that all mothers receive to get them back into shape to make more babies. (Although it is pretty mind-boggling that the state provides postpartum punani care. Helpful, though not as useful as the free nursery school all French kids are entitled to.)

What I can't stop thinking about is the photograph of 31-year-old Fleur Cohen, a doctor, walking her four tiny children across the street to drop them off before heading to work at the hospital. She's carrying a baby in a sling while wearing stilettos and a sexy above-the-knee skirt. (I will spare you the details of my current outfit, but I assure you that it does not include stilettos.) All five of them look to be bathed and in clean clothes (a miracle in itself). Fleur is holding the hand of the second youngest, and the other two are walking unaided in the crosswalk.

First of all, how did Fleur manage to become a doctor and give birth to four children by age 31? (Is it all thanks to the vag gymnastics, which were designed to increase the birth rate?) And where in the hell is her husband, also a doctor? I guess he must have already sailed off to work, sans kids and, presumably, stilettos. Or maybe he is enjoying a petit dejeuner avec colleagues. The point of the NYT article is that while 82 percent of French mothers work, they also do the bulk of the childcare, and are expected to look gorgeous at all hours, so they are super exhausted. In addition, Fleur says she cooks dinner every night.

I hope she changes her shoes first.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frenchy Fragrance

Fresca season ended on October 1. So I put away my summer perfume, Calyx and have been indulging in my fall favorite, Citrus Allegro by Le Prince Jardinier. Yes, it's citrusy, but it has a more subtle kick than the full-on grapefruit aroma of Calyx. I first found this enchanting scent in Paris about six years ago on a madcap girls' weekend with my friend Gigi. It was being sold at Deyrolle, a shop on the Rue Du Bac which carries taxidermy and educational posters from the 1800s. (I later read about the store and the actual prince who makes the stuff in Vanity Fair.)

This fragrance is perfect. Fresh, yet sophisticated. Not at all ladyish or synthetic. I used to have to go to Paris to restock every time I ran out, but then I discovered that, duh, it is available online.

My current bottle was a birthday gift from my long-suffering husband. I spritz it on and am immediately transported from this N.J. town with a fake French name to, if not Paris, then at least some chic suburb of Paris.

I now resist the urge to say, Voila!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fat Talk Free Week Starts October 18

1. Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of losing their parents.
2. After viewing images of female fashion models, seven out of ten women felt more depressed and angry than prior to viewing those images.
3. 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.

I pulled the above facts from a press kit sent by Delta Delta Delta. The sisters of Tri Delt are promoting Fat Talk Free Week. They are challenging women and girls to refrain from saying such things as: Does this make me look fat? I'm so fucking huge!!! My hips are gigantic! My stomach is frigging disgusting. Or even: Have you lost weight?

I'm all about this initiative. I already never say things like that in front of my daughter. Sometimes I still do disparage my body with friends, even though I know better. I'm going to stop. You cut it out too. Don't wait until October 18. Just quit it now.

Note: They are also on Facebook: