Monday, May 28, 2012

Paris: The Private Lives of Public People

Fashion forward French feet -- Valérie Trierweiler in YSL platforms at the White House.
France -- and perhaps the world (or perhaps not) -- is embroiled in the intrigue and the reported jealousy that is raging between France's current "Premier Companion," Valérie Trierweiler, and Ségolène Royal, the former companion of the current president.

Ségolène Royal and Valérie Trierweiler
The London Daily Telegraph reported on the situation and this week's Elle had a splashy front cover teaser alluding to the brouhaha. Inside, the article mostly talked about Madame Trierweiler's purported jealousy indicating that Madame Royal's has probably cooled since the new president has been with his companion several years.

Also of great interest were the Yves Saint Laurent shoes Madame Trierweiler wore during president François Hollande's official visit to the United States earlier this month, although the two subjects were not part of the same articles.

I wrote an essay for Women's Voices For Change today that talks more about the current cultural conundrum and the delicate matters of diplomatic decorum involving France's first unmarried president and his companion.

18 comments:

Vicki said...

Oh, I went right to Women's Voices For Change and read your essay; excellent piece. I don't know why there's so much hoopla over the president having a companion, but do I accept it because it's in France? I'm in the U.S.; what if Michelle Obama was a companion and not a wife? Hmmm; interesting to ponder. You know what gives me the creepy-crawlies? The aging male movie stars/"celebrities" who take on the young women, some 20 to 30 years age gap. I know, I know; it's been happening FOREVER. But, I don't know who they think they are kidding; in photos, they look like the girls' grandfathers. And then they go on to their second and third sets of babies/children. To each his own? Why does this bother me so much! Maybe because the aging woman doesn't get the second and third chances to bear her own offspring with a younger lover, although some do it with a donor egg. I've asked my husband, "What does an old man and a young woman have in common...what do they talk about, what kind of memories can they share when she wasn't even yet born at the time when he was forging a career and already out in the world as a grown man?" My husband rolls his eyes (translation: how can I be so dense!), alluding to the arm candy/sex/Viagra/whatever. Sorry, I'm going off on a rant here. At least your French president appears to be with women somewhat nearer his age than if he had a 22-year-old with whom he cohabitated (to some people, that too wouldn't make a difference, but I'm just say'in...). I do fancy her stylish YSL platforms!

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Villette said...

The thing I can't figure about the Hollande/Royal/Trierweiler tangle is that both the women appear much sexier and attractive than Hollande is: I mean, the French haven't been calling him a 'pudding' for no reason. It can't be the power thing. Both women have been with Hollande since long before this election.

Lin, Pain d'Epices & Chocolat said...

My friends (we are French) call her "his not even wife", or " his not yet wife" (depending on their political opinion). I mean, when they speak English. If they speak French, they'll say "machine" or "sa compagne", depending on their political opinion. hihi

BigLittleWolf said...

I just find this all so... well, amusing. How delicious it all is (the shoes included).

While I would hope that affairs of state are the main order of business, first and foremost, one does think about the fact that the Elysée Palace has plenty of room for, well... extended family?

Will read your pieces at WVFC post-haste!

Annette said...

I enjoyed reading your article. Thanks for sharing the link. I agree with Villette above as I thought the same thing: what do those beautiful, sexy and smart women see in that boring man?

French Girl in Seattle said...

I am flying back to France soon, and I can't wait to hear what my relatives and friends have to say about "the President's women." I am guessing not that much, after the first couple of jokes. Nicolas Sarkozy ensured that political and private lives would become entertwined with his complicated personal life, but the French, in general, are not that interested in their leaders' personal lives, and that's a good thing. As for Mme T.'s YSL shoes, nice choice. They really stood out at the White House-- as did her interpreter. Apparently, she is an "international journalist," but does not speak English... Private lessons with Segolene, maybe? :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Karena said...

Tish excellent thoughts here and I am off to read your post.

Vicki's comments are poignant to me as a widow over 50 who would love to find a wonderful man again. I also see so many men choosing brides and companions 20+ years younger. HOWEVER I am also seeing the trend of a stylish mature woman choosing a younger man!

If the politicians would just stay on track with running their countries and have less focus on their personal lives!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

kathy peck said...

Great article Tish. I don't know about the French system, but in the US, it would be difficult to have a "First Companion" as that would raise a lot of questions about what "perks" she had a right to. For example, the President's health insurance, secret service, etc. In the US, in most states unmarried couples are denied these perks. My daughter cannot be on her fiance's health insurance until they're legally married. So - it would pose a huge problem about tax payers dollars going to a "girlfriend". Anyway, that's my take on it.

kathy peck said...

Wanted to add that I don't care whether they or anyone else legally marries or not - but I do care that the same rights be granted to the citizens of the country as to their leaders, regarding the above.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I am surprised that this is causing such a stir.
There are so many more important issues out there to consider...global warming, war, the economy...

As to the old man younger woman pairing,
I think it must be a huge boost to the male ego to have a young gorgeous woman by his side, he's rather like a peacock as he struts around showing off.
It's too bad that the older woman younger man pairing hasn't been as high profile...

I do like what Vicki said.

La Brocanteuse said...

Interesting article, thank you Tish.
At the end of the day , this is part of history, ...some juicy facts included!
greetings from Afrique du Sud
Colette

That's Not My Age said...

I agree with Hostess, and can't understand what all the fuss is about. To be honest, I'm more interested in Valerie's YSL shoes than whether or not she's married! Great article, Tish.

Duchesse said...

I'm just bored (not by your blog, but by the media), this is not news.

Tish Jett said...

Thank you for your comments. And, Vicki, there is nothing I like better than a good rant.

One of my best friends is about to marry a woman 40 years younger than he is. He is quite famous and that is probably what attracts her to him, but what attracts him to her is the big question -- or, then again, maybe not. . .

As you say, what do they talk about?

I imagine both are probably sufficiently content to talk about him, no history necessary. He can play Pygmalion.

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Vicki said...

Ah, Tish; you did "hit the nail on the head" as they say...and when it's no longer all about him, and she's bored and wanting something to be about her, DIVORCE, prenup with tidy settlement, until the whole cycle (with him) repeats itself again with another young beauty. Speaking in generalities, perhaps, but some men do seem to panic with aging, and I guess the babe at his side calms the panic.

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