We’ve all heard it. American women trod along like oxen after French women, who spring like gazelle. French women have style, American women have polyester. French women have a certain je ne sais quoi.
Well, I just got back from France, where I was determined to sais quoi. What made French women so irresistible?
I looked down from my hotel window at French women striding along with bags flung over shoulders. Spied from café seats. Strolled the Champs Elysees. All with an eye to see what made French women so irresistible to the eye.
And here’s what I found out. It’s not the fabulous boots (lots of them, with pants or skirts, short little ankle boots with a shrugging, worn-in appeal). It’s not the little scarves, tied just so. And it’s not the lips, permanently pursed from uttering the “oo” sound of French language.
It’s the posture.
The only time a French woman’s back touches the seat back is when she is artfully arranging herself for display. Otherwise, whether she is standing at a street corner (often with a cigarette, alas!), or sitting at a café (usually inside, the sidewalk is for tourists), there is no slouching.
“They walk with such confidence,” my husband said admiringly.
When I got back home, I did some research and found that the woman who has been making a living telling American women that French women don’t get fat, agrees that French women practice excellent posture.
“Weight is related to height, or at least our sense of it,” says Mireille Guilliano, the best-selling author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”
And I remembered years of my mother pulling my shoulders back as I stood, neck flamingoed out.
I also remembered from a self-defense class years ago, that walking erect not only projects sexy confidence, it also serves as an early warning system to would-be muggers that this woman takes no shit.
So, as I sit at my computer, comfortably resting on my tailbone, I find myself slowly straightening. And suddenly – voila! I do feel more French. Also the sudden urge for a café au lait.