Since Friday, after reading article after article saying French women eat most of their carbs with coffee for breakfast and rarely smile, I have been succeeding and struggling. I've found it very easy to consume various pastries and coffees in the morning while holding off in the evening--but of course-c'est très délicieux! But, I have found it increasingly hard to keep a straight and serious face. Why? We Americans, as it seems, love to smile! The only time I can and will always keep a straight face (and always have before this) is on the bus rides I take to the town center and to work. Why? I have to do this to avoid the many weirdos that seem to think a smile is an invitation for stalking.
However, getting my coffee, running errands, and coming across nice and normal strangers, I always react, smile, and greet them. It is very American to do this, I am noticing--to smile. I feel like, automatically, when I am not concerned about the few weirdos on the bus, and am off of the bus (which is most of my day) I look bitchy and rude if I don't smile. I feel cold, distant--not very nice. Which brings me to the realization at how nice American women are still pressured to be. Certainly, we should not be outwardly mean and swear and be discourteous to anyone who does not threaten us--which is most people--most people are usually kind and go about their business. However, why do we always feel compelled to smile as Americans--particularly as American women? This is something I think that stems from our naiveté about the world. We are still learning as a country. We are bold with our emotions and in your face. The French, part of an old country, are reserved and learned. You have to get to know them to get a smile.
Hard as it may be, this is something that I will work on and will nevertheless strive to accomplish--not always smiling. More than it being a bad thing--I think it is an essential part to completing my social experiment. After all, when I do get to France this year, I don't want to be mistaken for making come ons to the men (as I have read this is what they take smiling at strangers for--even the nice normal ones). I may as well start now--even it does make be appear to be less friendly in the American sense.
Other than that, I have other goals I have to accomplish. I have to spruce up my wardrobe a bit. Although, might I say, I am not your "typical" American. Based off of what I have researched thus far, I already have a pretty French wardrobe. I have my scarves, my ballet flats, straight legged jeans, my colors are mostly black and white. However, there are a few things I'm going to have to purchase to really get that Parisian look. According to parisescapes.com and allaboutyou.com I need to focus on the essentials. I have already actually been striving to create a wardrobe like this since I was around 24 and I realized the person I wanted to turn into was a sexy and sophisticated woman, no longer a girl.... However, there are my times when I get carried away and constantly purchase a new outfit, although a nice one, for going out each week. This is very unFrench, as I have read. Since, French women like to buy a few essential pieces, and if anything update their accessories more frequently. So, I have narrowed down my necessities to a short list of what I will need for the summer and I'm sticking to it. A trench coat is a must, according to most advice on French style or any classic style for that matter! I also need a pair of sunglasses--which, I might add, I have none at all right now! For every day, I need some slim go everywhere black pants, since I read the French rarely wear shorts. This is fine with me, as I don't either! The last thing I will need are some stylish flat sandals--for walking everywhere. Also, perfect for me, since I do walk quite a bit already! The other essentials, white simple shirts, t-shirts, slim jeans, skirts, and dresses, I already have plenty of. And, keeping in French fashion, I should not get more of, so that I can keep as minimal of a wardrobe as possible. Starting this week, I must find the perfect sunglasses. I'll move on to the other essentials when I get my next check! As most advice articles and books about French style say, it's better to spend time finding one essential at a time, as quality over quantity is the key.
As for beauty rituals, I have been paying more attention to skin care, and wearing less makeup. Letting go of my daily routine the way it used to be has been a bit difficult, but with practice, I will practice making my face more and more natural looking each day.
Until next time, I'll be looking for those sunglasses and trying not to smile, although we'll see if I can actually do this for a whole day!