10.04.2009

Laundry- Comme les Français


Famille Chic had one washing machine and a very tiny dryer. The dryer was only used for things like bed linens, table cloths and certain articles of clothing… everything else was hung up to dry on a laundry string suspended in the front hallway and the hallway leading to the kitchen.

The first time I gave my washing to Madame Chic was early one morning before I jetted off to the Sorbonne. When I came home that evening she had lovingly folded my clothes and placed them on my bed (so nice of her!). I remember wondering at the time where she had put my underwear as I couldn’t find the ones I had given her to wash. Famille Chic was having one of their many dinner parties that night so I made a mental note to ask Madame Chic about my underpinnings later and quickly freshened up for the dinner party. We had an apéritif in the lounge while waiting for the guests to arrive. When the guests did eventually arrive we all moved to the front hallway to greet them. Something caught my eye as I greeted these dinner guests (two chic Parisian couples) and I looked up to discover (in horror) that my underwear was hanging out to dry above all of our heads!

Now back then I was in college so I was wont to wear knickers with cute little sayings on them such as Go Team! and Drama Queen (TMI, I know- and I know I just wrote a post about that- but I feel that I have to describe them to you so you could fully grasp my horror). But no one seemed to notice and if anyone did they were probably wondering who on earth would wear hot pink underpants with immature slogans on them.

This must be one of the reasons why French women only wear the best lingerie!, I remember thinking at the time. Ever since that experience I now buy only sophisticated and alluring underwear- the sort that I wouldn’t mind hanging over my head at a party ;)

13 comments:

ScentScelf said...

I am going to go through the entire day with a smile on my face, thanks to the new credo:

Buy no lingerie/underwear you wouldn't be comfortable having hanging over your head.

I have a new idea for decorating the dining room chandelier, too... ;)

You have inspired me to finally install the drying rack outside, however; the one near the machines has been faithfully drip drying clothes since I first got my own place. :)

Michael Rivers said...

I can honestly say I've never been at a dinner party where that has happened. LOL. I agree with ScentScelf--that is a good credo to live by!

Alan Burnett said...

It's a new take on the ancient advice from parents about wearing clean underwear in case you were knocked down by a bus and taken to hospital.

The Coastal Chicster said...

That's hilarious. I love pretty lingerie - Elle MacPherson is my favorite brand - and I always handwash my nice things and lay them out to dry on a rack and on the ironing board. I have a small condo, so this usually occurs in the dining room. I tend to procrastinate and do it all at once...and I must have at least 30 bras, so...needless to say whenever anyone comes over, they're rendered somewhat speechless. =)

Rebecca said...

Another great idea from Famille Chic-I now know where to put in a clothes line. I had no idea! LOL

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Scentscelf- I'm glad this brought a smile to your face! I use our guest bedroom (when no one is occupying it) to hang dry our unmentionables. Right now, however, we have a guest and they are on our patio for the neighbors to see...

Michael- thankfully you haven't experienced this yet- but you never know! One must always be prepared :)

Alan- so true! That's another good reason to wear nice undergarments :)

Coastal Chicster- How very French of you ;) I love Elle MacPherson lingerie- so pretty! And really affordable!

Rebecca- lol! Glad to provide inspiration :)

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

That sounds like good advice to live by! I think you are either a matching underwear person in life or not. I think I would have gone through the floor as well. When it comes to washing, I don't have a dryer and in the Australian climate I rarely need one xx

ps I am enjoying these posts so much! They would make a good fiction novel perhaps with a mystery attached? A young American woman experiencing France for the first time!

Stephanie Baffone said...

That is hilarious! I agree with ScentScelf definitely like the new credo. I'll keep it in mind next time I need to buy well, you know...
Warmly,
Stephanie

LA Frog said...

How funny! As it happens, I was meeting with a client his morning who spent one year in Paris, studying at La Sorbonne and living in the chambre de bonne of (another) Famille Chic in the posh 16th Arrondissement.

She told me about her unsuccessful attempt to go shopping for a bra in LA this past weekend. Too spoiled by French lingerie, she said. Since she goes to Paris on a regular basis, I gave her the address of my lingerie boutique near Place de la Madeleine. The owner is a former Madame who "knows her stuff," i.e. knows a breast when she sees it, and knows which of her exquisite lingerie items will fit it.

We had a good laugh about it. My client said that she ended up with a glass of wine instead of a bra, and commiserated about finding good lingerie in this part of the world. I agree: it's either "la maman ou la putain" here -- the (breastfeeding) mother or the whore, with nothing in between. No subtlety. Yet one can be feminine and chic, feminine and sexy, without looking like a matron or a hooker, without ever being vulgar. But somehow it seems to elude American lingerie designers, including Victoria's Secret. I guess it's cultural, but it's very sad -- for women and men alike.

As a French woman, I would never be caught with poor underwear on -- even by my 11-year husband! I remember my mother telling me from my most tender age, What about if you have an accident, you must look your best! I also remember when I was an investment bankster in London, being shocked watching those women at the health club dressed in designer clothes, yet with shabby, unfitting underwear. Didn't they understand it's the last line of seduction, of resistance -- whether you're a spouse or someone looking for an adventure?

We have a saying in French: if you want to keep your spouse, always treat him/her like your lover. It's all about perpetual seduction ... down to your knickers. Yet another example of cultural dissonance, I guess.

Rose said...

that's hilarious. So French. I bet they love showing off their underwear to each other! You write really well about your time there, I'm enjoying hearing about it.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Josephine- Thank you so much! That is a great idea for a series of books. I will keep the idea in my arsenal for later. Right now I must be vigilant and finish the one I'm working on (hope to be finished by December) xo

Stephanie- Thank you very much for your comment... and welcome to the blog! xo

LA Frog- Treating your husband like your lover is the best advice- and it sounds like you have had a successful 11 years of marriage to prove it! I find there are a plethora of places to find good lingerie in America (three great lingerie boutiques on Montana Ave.)- I just think a lot of women get lazy and let themselves go...

Rose- Thank you! Yes I think they did enjoy it. I got used to seeing their underwear too- after a while it just wasn't an issue... lol

Dining on Deals said...

DC this post made me laugh out loud! Lately I've been resisting fancy underwear thinking that my husband should be interested no matter what, but LA Frog makes a good point - I'll try to improve! But it is hard for a thrifty person like me to find non trashy lingerie at a decent price:)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Dining on Deals- I am seeing visions of a spin off blog for you! You could search out the hottest deals in pretty lingerie! :) Yes, LA Frog does make a fabulous point- and she is French so she would know! xo

 
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