Taa-daa: the second installment of Transatlantic Parallel with the eternally chic (and French obviously) Jeanne-Aelia of The French Eye of Design.
How about a little back story on our parallel series? Since we're still feeling our way in an attempt to fool-proof our technique and fine-tune our approach, this is what we do: every week we e-mail back-and-forth, back-and-forth, with lists ticking off (in some cases this has a duel definition), what we like about our adopted countries; what we like less or not at all; what we miss from the place we once called home; and what we are glad we left behind.
Once we agree on the subjects; that's it. End of conversation. Silence on the airwaves. We attack in parallel, but not ensemble, if you see what I mean. Neither one of us will read the other's post until you do. Is that exciting or what? Can you still your beating heart?
This weeks topics for debate include:
1.) Bridesmaids versus untold numbers of flower girls.
2.) Standing like ladies and gentlemen in lines -- no cutting in.
3.) Café in the salon after dinner.
4.) Sweats. (Perhaps the name itself gives an enormous hint about the appropriate environment in which they should be worn? Then again, I guess not. . .)
Alright, I'm going to plunge right in and deal with the fallout later. There will be fallout, of that I am certain. I prefer bridesmaids, dear friends of the bride's, over the French tradition of scads of little girls and boys dressed-up in admittedly a-dor-a-ble (French pronunciation) outfits as attendants. There, I've said it.
This is why -- I know you want me to tell you: It's the bride's day. One hopes she knows how to choose her friends, let's hope also that her dress is a show stopper and that all the pretty maids in a row are supporting actresses. I look at them as the complimentary greenery the florist gives one to fill-out a bouquet. (Think of this as a metaphor. Or maybe it's a simile since I used "as." Thank you.) Theoretically their role is to make the star shine.
(You be the judge. The photograph later painted by Edith herewith, shows the mini attendants moments before they run amok.)
Little children, even unspeakably cute little children, ultimately believe their role is to morph into unruly scamps and take the spotlight off the star. Yes they are sweet in photographs and walking down the aisle, but thereafter disaster strikes. I've seen it happen.
I have nothing against one, max two flower girls as long as their mothers are well-disciplined.
Without transition, a major rant about the French and line-cutting. It's a national sport. Some are actually proud of their highly developed techniques.
It makes me wild. Do you hear me? Wild(!) They do it at the movies, at grocery stores, chez le boulanger, airports, boutiques, any and every place they can get away with it.
When Andrea was about eight I sent her to our tiny village to pick-up a baguette. When she didn't return after 20 minutes I started to worry. When I ventured out to look for her she was at the end of the line because all the adults had cut in front of her. She would still be there today if I hadn't intervened.
Moving along from bread to café. . . I must admit one of my favorite rituals at French dinner parties is coffee and tisanes in the salon. It is for me, like walking from one experience and atmosphere into another ambience entirely, the third act in a play. Dinner is finished, the hostess gives the signal, everyone stands, places their napkins on the table and adjourns to the living room where a beautiful try is set with demitasse cups, little chocolates and nearby an assemblage of liqueurs, Armagnac, and brandy.
Neither the hostess nor the guests start a march into the kitchen with their dirty plates. The host or hostess extinguishes the candles and the lights as they leave the dining room and the evening flows on, new setting, more lively conversation. (Antique service above by Christofle.)
I've saved the worst for last: sweatsuits or any parts therefrom worn as real clothes. Yes, I am fully aware of the taut bodies in Juicy Couture get-ups, but still. I don't care how many accessories one adds, I'm sorry, unless a woman is literally running or at least on her way to or from the gym I don't get it. You know I could go on and on, but enough said. Oh, no, not quite. A woman of a certain age should really re-think the sweats issue and visit her full length mirror (if she doesn't own one, it should be her next fashion purchase) take a quick glance over her shoulder. And then ask herself: Do I really like that derrière view? Probably not. Furthermore, is that a choice location for a message?
In all my years in France I have never seen a Frenchwoman, of any age, wearing sweats as if they were some form of ready-to-wear. Never.
A bientôt, until Lundi prochain.