Editor’s Note: Today, I bring to you to a very important contributor to this site – The Drama Magnet. (You may remember her as my partner in crime from the blog introduction, the Lady Gaga to my Miley, so per say.)
Prior to moving to Paris in 2011, the The Drama Magnet resided in Los Angeles and New York City. Albeit a longstanding history of dancing side by side at Goldbar throughout all of the late 2000’s, we only became friends years later, united by a mutual quest for life’s basic necessities (decent gym, men, customer service) in a place where they cease to exist. Of Latin American origin, the Drama-Gnet has a much lower threshold to the masochism that is Paris, thus making her experiences in this glorious city far more poignant than my own.
Oh, she also has a few Master’s degrees, and the capacity to cite Hemingway.
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people ….People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
I was fifteen years old the first time I came to Paris. I was an exchange student in Germany, and the school had organized a trip for us. That was it, really. I never had any idealized vision of Paris, I was simply hungry for travel.
This quickly changed once I set foot in the city. It was Spring, and the sun was hitting all the right places, making it seem as if anything in our teenage lives was possible. After escaping the tour (who can make memories happen during group sightseeing?), my four friends and I ventured out to the Champs-Élysées. We were on a mission to find Kookai, particularly a brown suede trench coat that I had seen in the store window the previous day. If I was going to be making memories, I needed to look chic while doing so.
Ah, the pursuit of the perfect wardrobe staple..
Butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I imaged all the different ways I could wear it. I was convinced that it was THE only piece of clothing I would ever need to look impossibly chic. Mind you, I was wearing Buffalo platform sneakers and bell-bottom pants at the time, so the fact that I had the judgement to deem a suede trenchchic is kind of impressive.
Veni, vidi, vici! We found it and I bought it – my life was now complete. We still had some time to kill before the teacher realized we were gone, so we decided to stop at McDonald’s to enjoy some real French fries (it was also all I could afford at after my major purchase).
As we loaded up our trays and settled down in the seating area upstairs, we noticed a dirty-looking man with dreadlocks sitting in the corner, drinking a beer. This seemed a bit strange to us – who drank beer at noon, and since when was alcohol served at McDonald’s anyway?
We quickly forgot about the man, and began discussing the thinks that really mattered at the time. How do you feel about glitter hair? Which Spice girl do you think you are? And most importantly, should we cut out hair short and dye it burgundy? (You will be happy to know that I embraced the glitter, the cut, and the burgundy – and I considered myself to be a perfect mix between Baby and Posh Spice, of course.)
In the middle of our discussion, my friend pointed out that the man in the corner was still looking at us. We all turned around to look. Indeed, he seemed to be staring at us while simultaneously doing something under the table with his right hand… Occasionally, he would bring the hand back up and take a sip of the beer, then bring it back down… Wait, WAS HE..?? Before we could react, he ‘whipped it out’ and licked his lips.
ENOUGH! I screamed, got up, and purposefully strode over to the counter. I was a woman on a mission, determined to bring down this creep and teach him a lesson. After waiting ten minutes for the manager to arrive, I began explaining what had happened, using a mix of Spanish and what I thought French sounded like at that time. I was expecting him to call the police, then rush upstairs and detain the individual, perhaps even punching him for traumatizing four young girls and committing what I thought was a crime. (Indecent exposure, anyone? Anyone??)
Of course, this being France, none of the above events occurred. Instead, the manager told me that I was overreacting and suggested that we move to a table downstairs, where we would be “more comfortable”. He explained that, since our offender was consuming a beer originating from McDonald’s, he could not be legitimately kicked out.
And this is how I learned that in France, the customer is always right, even if said customer happens to be a penis-flashing pervert.
Thirteen years later, I went through my first quarter-life crisis. I needed a change, I needed to move. When it came down to choosing a city in Europe, Paris came to mind – while I didn’t speak the language, it was the capital of fashion and the city of love. Clearly, I had forgotten all about the beautiful, enchanting memory of the first time I saw a penis.
I blame this on selective memory, so before it strikes again, I must share with you some of my favourite stories about finding anything BUT love in this city.
Nota Bene: Many of you will be happy to know that there is a very similar brown trench coat currently available at Kookai.
UPDATE: Apparently, I mislead you on the 90’s-inspired references. A decade before street style was born, our visionary intended to wear her trench the “Asian chic” way, as illustrated below.