When I was eight years old, I drew a birds-eye-view picture of Paris.
The whole city was mapped out in that burnt orange coloured texta colour, the one usually reserved for drawing tanned people and loaves of bread.
My illustration was vast, replete with all the necessary Parisian details of baguette stands, Chanel-clad ladies and men in skivvies; I was essentially mapping out my future.
I was going to move to Paris, you see. Move to Paris and eat baguettes and wear Chanel and marry some skivvy-wearing Frenchman.
There is no other country with such an eternal pulse of romance– even as a (reasonably) functional adult I have silently vowed to myself I won’t visit Paris until I’m in love. It would just be too depressing for me to be attempting to fulfil my childhood fantasy stag, right? And I know you’re all nodding when I say it’s a widely held and commonly shared belief that the French just do it better.
Mind out of the gutter, mon amie, I’m not just talking about French sans-pants parties. I’m referring to everything. We are constantly been reminded that the French are kicking our ass across the board: eating, not eating, having sex, not having sex, raising children, being a lesbian, working, conversing and well, just living.
Long before Blue Is The Warmest Colour made us très jealous we weren’t a) French and b) a fabulous lesbian; the French Do It Better Fan Club already had a membership wait-list.
Leading the brigade was former senior executive at Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, and spokeswoman for Veuve Cliquot, Ms. Mireille Guiliano. She kicked things off with the widely acclaimed ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’, followed up by the equally persuasive ‘French Women Don’t Get Facelifts.’ Are you taking notes?
Another big name at the Francophile literary orgy is Pamela Druckerman with ‘Bringing up Bebé’, in which she tells us why exactly it is French children are so astoundingly well behaved. When I heard about that book I was all like, wait, what? I swear I’ve never met a French child… But I guess that’s the point.
I could actually rattle off title after title of best selling books, all with the same running theme: you are a piggish Western slob, and French people are looking at you disdainfully. But in a glamorous fashion. Glamorous distain.
As someone who spent the better part of pre-puberty planning what carpet would go in her studio apartment in Montmartre; this whole Holier-Than-Thou attitude of the French has really got to me.