After almost three years of living in France and analyzing how French women eat, breathe, play with their hair, and approach all other life missions with the effortlessness (read: laziness) that they are so renowned for, I can confidently say that I have successfully adjusted to their ways and even taken on some of their habits. A low-maintenance person by nature, I have been particularly keen on their approach the art of date dressing, dwindling down the prepping routine to a bare minimum. And so, I bring to you the French girl thought process of getting ready for a date, sprinkled with personal reflections for good measure.
19h30 (7:30pm for you Yankee plebeians): My rendezvous (God forbid I call it “date” – I don’t even know what that word means!) is at 20h, giving me about 40 minutes until I have to leave my house. No, I am not miscalculating – I would rather eat fat-free yogurt than show up to anything on time. Plus, we are meeting a mere few minutes from my apartment, as I like to avoid moving my cul from my Arrondissement at all costs. (Also, experience shows that every time I let the man pick, I either end up in Sentier or at their local bar. In the game of French dating, may the laziest one win.) In any case, I have a good 30 minutes to sit on my bed, pick my nails, flip through a white book with a suicidal title and ponder the meaning of life. (Or, in my case, watch The Good Wife.)
19h50: I suppose I must get myself out of bed. But must I really? Is there a point to all of this, except for that beguiling glass of Chablis calling my name? I suppose it too late to cancel.. Maybe I could just “forget” to show up? Merde, he is now texting me to tell me that he is running ten minutes late. Goddamn modern technology! On the upside, I now have twenty extra ten minutes to do absolutely nothing. (Or, in my case, watch The Good Wife.)
20h: Briefly consider shower, disregard notion just as quickly. What is perfume for, anyway? Moving on to more important questions, which matching lingerie set should I wear tonight? This is a weighty decision, as it is my sole sartorial effort of the evening, and will give me confidence to ride on all night as I slouch around in my basic pull & jean combo. Settle on something laced and unpractical. Stare in mirror, regret croissant eaten that morning. Would still never eat a fat-free yogurt, though. (Or, in my case, regret croissant and resolve to exist on fat-free yoghurt entirely.)
20h10: Do my makeup while wearing my matching lingerie sex. Makeup must look like it’s not there, which means that it doesn’t actually have to be there. Wash face, hydrate, sweep on a powder and some mascara, add red lip. Voilà! With the right lighting, I’m Jeanne Damas. Deliberate between top knot and dirty hair down. Grab a hair tie so I can play around and decide during the date.
20h15: Layer one button-down (buttoned all the way to the top) to allude to the fact that I am actually a woman, one slouchy sweater so that nobody dares to think that I made an effort. Add skinny jeans, moto boots, a leather perfecto, and I’m ready. Sure, it looks like I could be going to grocery store, but why in Gods name would I give him the satisfaction of thinking that I actually tried? Stack on some rings in case the conversation gets really boring and I need something to play with (besides my hair).
20h20: While I’m technically ready, this doesn’t mean that I actually want to go. Maybe I should just stay home – he will probably like me more if I cancel anyway. Sit on bed for another ten minutes, deliberating. Finally get up, but only for the sake of that Chablis.
20h30: Prepare my best bored look, exit apartment. Accelerate my pace about half a block away from the bar, arrive pretending to be out of breath. “Je suis TROP desolée… J’ai eu une journée de merde!” (“I am so sorry, I have had a hell of a day!”) Light up a cigarette immediately, refusing to reveal the source of my troubles. Don’t give him as much as a smile until the second glass of wine is consumed. By then, he will be tipping the fine line between love and hatred that the French are so keen on. Invite him upstairs, only to kick him out two hours later. Don’t pick up phone for days, ensure true love.
Photo curtesy of Garance Doré