France

Paris is a magical city, which has more to do with the people and all the parts that make up a land. It’s less the buildings than what houses them, what happens in them, what is said, what is done, what is eaten, what is seen and worn. I’d live here if I could, and perhaps that day will come sooner than later. The France of my dreams isn’t Versailles, but the one from Bunuel films, or the Red/White/Blue series. My fantasia of myself as an expatriate has me looking like Catherine Deneuve or Juliet Binoche, but without the prostitution and the grief.

A man walked up to me and said, “you are very beautiful…” not really wanting anything but to tell me this was true. It was as if he was informing me that something had fallen from my bag, or that I had a post it on my back. My beauty was simply a fact that was to be relayed, not a bargaining chip, not a thread to be pulled that would come undone and fray all my life. He was merely pointing it out, before he marched up the boulevard, swinging his long, black umbrella in the night mist.

3 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. It is interesting to me that your Paris experience was this positive. When I lived there for 5-6 months in 2009, I couldn’t walk to the metro on any given day without some man shouting “Ni Hao” at me on the street. And compliments like the one you received were rarely given to me. More common were the guys trying to get you to eventually go to bed with them. I do receive the harmless compliments all the time here in New Orleans, however, where often the Southern gents will let you know that you look very nice, without any sketchiness to the comment.

  2. The screaming “Ni hao” is everywhere, I’m afraid, including my own notoriously polite Canada. But I did have a man (not my husband) rave over my beauty in Paris, so I assume that some Parisians have good taste, as do Southern gents, I’m sure. Actually, I bet lots of people have taste, they just don’t know how to express it.
    Margaret, I love your comedy, and your writing here is honest and luminous. Thank you.

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