Quiet Elegance

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The other night I was one of two Americans at a table full of five people.  The rest were French.  Oui!  The thing I noticed while subtly tracking all of Vincent’s French colleagues’ movements was that the French have a quiet elegance.  This fine selection of French people were not loud or boastful.  They were calm.  They ate half their meals.  They drank one glass of alcohol before dinner.

I can really relate to this quiet elegance.  People often notice my own quiet elegance, especially after I announce in the middle of conversations, “I have a quiet kind of elegance.”

The best part of the evening, pour moi, was when Vincent’s colleague said, “Well, you’re French now.  You’re marrying French.”  I think I tapped Vincent’s leg under the table and then looked at him like, “I came.  I saw.  I conquered.”  I have become French.

IMG_2314It is very obvious that I have become French.  You can see this in my style of dress: always wear a scarf.  When in doubt, add a scarf.  Also, in the way I avoided this very loud American in a public bathroom a few weeks ago.  She had just gotten into a loud fight with her daughter and was looking to me for emotional reassurance but then I just thought, “Don’t make eye contact.  Respect my privacy for I am French!”  And, you know what happened, she didn’t rudely intrude on my space as others have done in the past, but instead she looked at me twice, but then remained silent.  Aha!  Accomplished! Awkward interaction avoided!  I got to think my own thoughts and not have to say some weird thing like, “Teenagers!  I know.  I know.  Mine are the same way.  No respect.”  This would be awkward to say for many reasons, one being that I don’t have teenagers and if I did have teenagers I would have had them fifteen years ago.  Fifteen years ago I was probably watching reruns of “I love Lucy” and eating Cheetos, rather than romantically interacting with guys who I would have children with.  Thank you “I love Lucy!”

So, I got to practice a little bit of my French with these colleagues and one thing I learned was, “Zoot allor!”  I love saying it.  It’s like a massage for my tongue.  C’est tres bien!

So, I leave for France in two days.  Oui!

Here, I will get to meet the most authentic of authentic French people!  You will be sure to recognize me as I will be wearing black and white and obviously a scarf.  I will also be promptly introducing myself to whoever I get to sit next to on the plane, “Je m’appelle Alexis, et toi?”

One time on a plane back from England, I met a lovely chap from England and we had a bloody good conversation.  It was a total cultural exchange.  I learned so much about this unknown place that is completely different from America . . .England!

I hope on this trip to France, I get to met an authentic French person on their way back to France!  Oui! Oui!

IMG_2248I believe that in order to become truly French I must drink slightly less wine.  You may be like, what?  The French love wine!  Yes, it’s true, but I seem to drink wine a bit too much.  I think the real French drink just a bit of wine.  I don’t need to drink my usual gatorade sports cooler amount of wine; I can be impressive by just having a touch less.

I think France is going to be really happy that I’m visiting.  I mean, they really couldn’t ask for someone more enthusiastic.  I will not yet be a French citizen, but don’t worry, I will be soon (in a year!)  I hope that when I get off the plane they have just something simple for me–like a small parade or a toasted cheese sandwich or perhaps someone from the government offering me a special insider’s tour of France!

I am pretty much going to talk to every French person I come in close personal space with–people on trains, on planes, who I “accidentally” bump into in the street.  I know the French will really like this because they are known for really loving to talk to strangers, especially Americans!

Aha.  I am kidding. Yes, we all know the French like privacy (an outdated word you might not remember but it means when people didn’t share their entire life on social media.  No one really uses this word anymore so no need to learn it).  Vincent likes privacy and I’m sure he’s super happy that he gets to marry me and be a main character in all my interesting, humorous, well-researched, thoughtful, inspiring, unique, awe-inspiring blog posts.

Vincent has asked me what I want to do in Paris and mostly I just want to see French art.  I just read a book about the theft of the Mona Lisa and I’m not so much interested in seeing the Louvre again, although that would be cool–I want to see the museum where this woman in World War 2 helped protect a lot of great French art from the Nazis.  I need to find out her name because she is definitely my favorite curator.  I have a long list of favorite curators because I am extremely cultured and read The New York Times every morning (more on that in another post) while drinking espresso and eating something sweet–most recently, Biscoff spread (thank you anonymous friend from another interesting country that I will not name but sounds a lot like Mroatia)! I sit in my loafers and bathrobe with The New York Times and I laugh at hilarious jokes that me and The New York Times have with each other.  Hahaha.  I’m thinking of one right now.  Hahaha.  I’m sorry. It’s so funny.  Let me just put down this Gin Rickey so it doesn’t spill on the keyboard.

Anyway, yes.  I want to see some museums.

Ready to be amazed France.  Here comes your biggest fan.

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146 thoughts on “Quiet Elegance

  1. northernquarter1 says:

    If you really want to fit in you must wear ‘FLP’s’ (French lady pants) they are like those pants MC hammer wore just a little slimmer and printed with mad swirly, swirly things. I imagine they’re pretty comfy. Drink a pichet at Lunch and drive an old Reno. Do that and your in, before the year end. 😃🍷

  2. Doug says:

    It should be trés chic to have a parade and a scarf, but you’ll lose your je ne sais quoi if you spill wine on your scarf and run after snails at the art museum.

  3. Jenny says:

    I really liked this post, your enthusiasm and interest in the French people, culture and language is really nice to read about. Your way of writing also makes it a fun read, I enjoyed it 😊

  4. Denisa Caldova says:

    Entertaining article! Especially liked this section:

    I think France is going to be really happy that I’m visiting. I mean, they really couldn’t ask for someone more enthusiastic.

    It made me smile 🙂

  5. Ad K says:

    Pretty good write-style, and as I’m a french Speaker #La_PlusBelle_Langue_Du_Monde *Yes french speakers are Proud* I really loved your paper. Have a nice trip in France!

  6. marple25mary says:

    laughing out loud. This is great! Don’t forget to carry a loaf of that hard crusty bread in the paper wrapper around.. and a wedge of cheese while you walk wearing your black, white and scarf! 🙂

  7. kathydg says:

    Love your humor, love Paris, and I find your writing voice to be so unique and entertaining. My maiden name is Beauvais, so I’m an English speaking, wine loving, cheese eating Francophile with the Frenchiest of family roots. However, I can’t speak a word of the language, even when authentically scarfed. Looking forward to following your French adventure! You are inspiring me to wax on via blog about my new favorite idol, the great Julia Child. Make her roast chicken – you won’t regret it. And you’ll feel ever so Frenchy. Oooh la la. 🍷

    http://www.kathydasgupta.com

    1. Lex David says:

      Oh . ..I have a book for you “Provence 1970.” It’s all about M.K. Fisher, Julia Child and other notable cooks living in the South of France. Oh la la. Pass the roast chicken!

  8. gina amos says:

    Excellent post. Yes the French have a style all of their own. Having spent some time in French villages country people are quite different to Parisians. They are very friendly. So true your comment on wine. Everything in moderation🍷
    Enjoy your trip with your gorgeous Vincent!

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