Ah, my petit mademoiselles. Is there anything so lovely as a summer spent on the Côte d’Azur, sipping champagne—from Champagne—and eating brie? Kissing ton amour on a knoll overlooking the Méditerranée, wind in your hair?
Well, you probably wouldn’t know either way, would you? You have no idea what that could be like.
That is because this scene described is the life of a Frenchwoman, and Frenchwomen lead entirely different lives than the rest of us. Their beauty and style are admired worldwide for their effortlessness, their grace. And with good reason! These qualities are something to be emulated.
We can never truly become Frenchwomen – they are born, not made, and no sociologist has yet discerned what conditions have created such a uniformly majestic batch of females. (The water, maybe?) But for your own life, if you want to be seen as effortlessly graceful, please do take into consideration the following eight things that Frenchwomen never do, and fix yourself by not doing them.
Frenchwomen do not get fat. This is an established science fact. But you might want to think twice before eating “right” and “exercising” to get that French silhouette. Frenchwomen do not plan their meals or count calories. “Frenchwomen, we do not feel the need to adjust our diets,” says Lisette Chenevier, a 36-year-old fashion designer I spoke to. “We simply eat what we wish, and then we decide, when we are done, ‘okay now, I am skinny.’ And then… pop! It is done. I never understood why American women choose to be fat. In France, we close our eyes very hard and wish to be skinny, and it just happens. American women should try the same thing.”
2. Wear bold, synthetic fabrics.
The women that walk the streets or Paris are world-renowned for their simple, understated style and clean lines. What most people don’t know is that this is a product of necessity. The reflectance of bright colors is highly damaging to Paris’s historic landmarks, and they irradiate a signal that interrupts the Eiffel Tower’s 24/7 broadcast of Françoise Hardy purring directly into the ear of every French citizen. “Plus, polyesther makes our skin itch,” said Odette Loisel, a 22-year-old student from Lyon. “And we are all of us allergic to lycra.”
3. Get wasted.
“Frenchwomen do not drink,” tittered Adeline Tison, a 28-year-old realtor. The mere thought of a proper French girl stumbling home after a night of drinking made her laugh at the stupidity of my premise. “Period. We go to clubs and we dance. We cannot hold a cup and dance at the same time. Holding a cup and moving is illegal here in Paris. And proper French ladies would rather dance at the club than drink. One time, I saw a woman having a drink at a bar as she slowly bopped from side to side. We instantly knew she wasn’t French. We questioned her. You know who she was? Kate Middleton. English! Ah! Not French. It made sense. ‘You don’t belong here, Kate Middleton,’ we said. And we pushed her out the door. She was so ashamed, she immediately got on a plane back to England. Ha!”
4. Sleep in.
Frenchwomen love light, and light loves Frenchwomen. It bends around them, bows to them. They are mistresses of the morning. “No French woman in history has ever woken up more than an hour after sunrise,” scoffed Haute Bette, an 18-year-old fashion model. “I heard Kate Middleton once woke up an hour and a half after sunrise. Nonsense like that is why the British Empire fell.” You heard it here first, folks.
Dating and hook-up culture is as foreign to Frenchwomen as class and elegance are to American women. “I do not date to attract men. I do not look for love,” said 14-year-old aspiring fashion designer Nanette Manoir. “It simply finds me. Angling for love is gauche. Frenchwomen simply stand elegantly like statues and wait for an admirer. We wait for him to show his affection. If he tries and fails, we crush him beneath our heels and use him as a pedestal on which to stand to become taller, that more men might see us and approach. American women should try the same thing. Why are American women so graceless, desperate and ugly?” Why, indeed, readers?
6. Wear makeup.
It is a popular but enduring myth that flawless French beauty is the result of a classy, deft, no-makeup-makeup look. But by and large, Frenchwomen spurn makeup in any form. They choose instead to peel off every cubic centimetre of epidermis each morning, and grow a new layer before they step outside to greet the day. That dewey look that their skin has? It’s actual morning dew. “I’ve never worn the same skin more than one day,” says Nicole Sarkozy, a 12-year-old aspiring conservative politician. “American skin is crusty and old. I would peel it off with my fingernails, if I had the chance. I would claw their entire fucking faces off.”
7. Express emotion.
Frenchwomen never smile in pictures because Frenchwomen never emote at all. “Emoting is for the Italians,” spat Bernadette Peters, a 9-year-old aspiring fashion designer to whom I spoke. “Italians and Italian-Americans and Americans.” Can’t argue with that!
The women do not walk through the streets of Paris. Walking is effort, and effort is sweat, and sweat is for some other country. Instead, Frenchwomen float. Their toe-tips drift three centimetres above the cobblestones at all times. They have wings, which are invisible. These wings are still and do not flutter, even invisibly. “I can’t speak to the nature and mystery of French wings,” crooned 47-year-old Italian-born singer-songwriter Carla Bruni. “Christ, I’ve lived here for years, and I only just earned mine a couple of years ago. I don’t want to fuck this up by spilling the beans, you know?”
French women don’t age. No one is sure if they die at all. “I haven’t aged a day in over 200 years,” says 228-year-old embalmed semi-corpse Félicité Marchand. “None of us age. I got in my coffin 68 years ago, because it seemed like the time. It’s fine down here underground, honestly. My casket is comfortable, and you get to have some good conversations with the people buried around you, provided you speak loudly enough. It’s hard to yell through that much dirt, but not impossible.” I asked her if she has stopped peeling off her skin every morning, now that she lives underground. “Oh no,” she said. “A Frenchwomen must have her pride. Besides, the spare, dead skin makes great bedding.”
It was 17th century French philosopher René Descartes who said “Do, or do not. There is no try.” René Descartes was a beautiful, elegant Frenchwoman who lived by these principles. Frenchwomen do not try to do anything. They do not try to look good or try to please anyone. They do not try to walk. They simply float through life, as on their backs down the river. They simply move with the tides, and the tides carry them to perfection, where they live endlessly in the sun, which loves them. Delicious fruits and pastries fall from the trees into their mouths, until they effortlessly fail to die.
In that way, trying to be a Frenchwoman is a fool’s errand. You will never be like one if you are trying. We will never do it. We will never make it. My fellow unFrenchwomen: let us lie in our own sweat and filth, like the disgusting, sweaty, old-skinned, polyester-swathed animals we are.