How to Survive the Next Four Years Like a French Woman

Just what is their secret? French women seem to do everything with an effortless _je ne sais quoi—_whether it’s eating, dressing, dating, or resisting fascism. Our resident Parisienne shares her tips for elegantly surviving the next two hundred or so weeks.

Thank Invest in Staple Pieces

Don’t splurge on every knickknack that catches your eye! French women have an inborn talent for recognizing quality and buying things that last. Like a copper I.U.D., which will see you through to 2021.

Flirt Constantly

It’s in a French girl’s blood to flirt with anyone who crosses her path—quel charme! You’ll find such a tactic helpful when you or a loved one is detained without explanation, the recipient of death threats, harassed at a protest, or arrested for blasphemy.

Always Keep Perfume on Hand

Which is to say, pepper spray.

Sip Your Wine

French women don’t drink to get drunk; they savor a glass or six of Beaujolais in the face of crushing anxiety over the brisk pace at which Donald Trump is enacting his campaign promises.

Maintain an Air of Mystery

Don’t give it all up at once! French women know that withholding information is seductive. When an alt-right bro gaslights you, keep some choice expletives in reserve until you get to know each other better. 😉

Portion Control

The reason French women seem to be able to indulge in so many sinful treats and stay trim is their immaculate portion control. Learn to stop after just one serving of Twitter, cable news, or video of a Nazi getting punched and you can enjoy these choice indulgences every day.

Eat Yogurt

It’s good for digestion.

Embrace Imperfection

So there are still a few Trump apologists in your newsfeed (family). Let it go! French women don’t get worked up over the small stuff. Donate to Planned Parenthood in their names and call it a day.

Take Off One Thing Before You Leave the House

Do you really need mace, a rape whistle, and nunchucks every time you go outside? Probably yes, given the prevalence and normalization of violence against women and minorities since Election Day. Via the NewYorker by Krithika Baragur. But it’s much more chic to pick just one for the good fight.

xxxxx,

Janice

The French Girl’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

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It is often said that nobody does life on earth better than the French. If this is true, then the holidays must be the pinnacle of this journey, complete with gluttonous feasts and debaucherous parties to rival no others. But what comes after, when the Dom Pérignon buzz fades and the New Year rolls in? Does the accompanying spirit of new beginnings and quest for self-improvement reach French turf, or is this yet another banal pursuit that this nation is (enviably) resilient to?

“After an intense weeklong food orgy, filled with foie gras and champagne, the question of New Year’s resolutions inevitably arises,” says Stéphanie Delpon, cofounder of Paris creative agency Pictoresq. “Most of them are linked to well-being and self-fulfillment: eat better, exercise more, be more productive, don’t hold off your dreams until tomorrow . . . .” Sound vague? Delpon confirms that the French are skeptical about making drastic resolutions, often seeing them as “a load of nonsense that is recycled year after year, quickly left forgotten.” Instead, they prefer to approach the New Year as a time to realign one’s priorities, starting with the very basics:

Head to the gym. The first resolution on every Parisienne’s agenda is to finally commit to the dreaded exercise torture chamber that she is inherently wired to resent, otherwise known as la salle de sport. Since this contradicts her mojo of being “effortlessly perfect,” she chooses to approach it more as a winter morale boost and some much-needed “Zen time” rather than a quest to drop those extra brioche kilos (which will inevitably come off in the process!).

Return to the essentials. Surprisingly, French women are not as trend-immune as they appear, often falling into the same high-street traps as their U.S. counterparts. “Our closets are constantly exploding! Every year, we aim to narrow it down to the essentials, to eliminate compulsive shopping and fast-fashion purchases that we regret five minutes later,” says Delpon. Another Parisian acquaintance sets a strict shopping cap of five new pieces a season, which allows her to build out an enviable garderobe with editorial precision.

Step it up. While we may aspire to the sneaker-clad ease of Caroline de Maigret, Parisians actually resolve to step it up—literally. “Every year, I promise myself I’ll put away my sneakers and start wearing my heels, adding a bit of much-needed elegance!” says Paris fashion merchandiser Julie Palasse, stressing that heels, when done right, can transform one’s attitude and posture. But no half-measures: “Just nothing in between—Parisians go all the way!” she adds.

Forgo the apéros. While the renowned esprit français is most notable on terraces and lighthearted friendly gatherings, the first weeks of January are generally spent ignoring social life in favor of balanced, home-cooked meals. This is no way entails cutting out entire food groups or embarking upon a spartan existence of green juice and granola; instead, the Parisienne simply turns off her phone, digs up a healthy recipe, and retreats to her couch with a good book.

Which leads to the main one:

Work on yourself. With the concept of “le burnout” being on the tips of Parisian tongues, there is a definite notion of taking more time for yourself, of stepping away from technology and exercising one’s attention span with a good book. “Next year, I plan on having something to read with me everywhere I go,” says a French girlfriend over coffee, showing off a historical novel that would probably take me all of 2016 to tackle. She seems excited to embark upon this mission, seeing it as a way to go back to her true interests that are often lost in the day-to-day shuffle. In the words of Delpon: “At the end of the day, it’s not about changing who you are, but rather becoming the best you can be—a stronger, more centered version of yourself!” And you certainly don’t have to be French to do that.

Marina Khorosh is the author of DbagDating.com via Vogue. Photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, April 2006.

xxxxx,

Janice