1.19.2010

My French Alter Ego



One of my favorite authors on the subject of French living and lifestyle is Anne Barone. She is the author of a handful of little books on how to stay chic and slim by adopting the French attitude to life (if you are a Francophile and aren’t already acquainted with these wonderful books- allez! Acquaint yourself with them- you will love them...)

Some of Anne’s suggestions are practical and relatable… some are a little more over the top. One of her suggestions is that you give yourself a French name. You know, a sort of alter ego. Her theory here is that your chic French alter ego will keep you in check from doing very un-chic things.

Barone argues that :

“Maybe someone named Bobbie Jo who had already eaten a good supper would snack on a whole medium pizza and wash it down with 12 ounces of cola watching three hours of television in the evening. But would someone named Marie-Jeanne or Claire do such a thing? Non, non, non! Pas possible!”

I remember the first time I read this I laughed it off as a silly gimmick but quickly I realized that, while a little nutty (I don’t know how many people I would actually admit this to) giving yourself a French name actually works! Alas, my French alter-ego, Jeanne, was born.

And with Jeanne, came a new feeling of confidence. Jeanne actually debuted in France- not when I lived in Paris but a few years before that when I spent the summer in the South of France (more on that in later posts). Jeanne is chic, she is confident, she can tackle the world and do it in style!

Occasionally, however, Jeanne is forgotten and real, messy life gets in the way…

For example:

A huge rainstorm hit Southern California this week and amidst all of the rain and thunder and utter chaos, I bravely ventured out of my home to go to the grocery store. Up until my grocery store trip I had been doing laundry and working on my book, so I did not think much about what I looked like when I bolted to the store at the first sign of sun.

I gathered the items I needed and while standing in line I caught myself in a mirrored reflection. I was wearing (I shudder to recount) a white velour tracksuit, black Ugg boots, a plaid wool coat, my hair in an unkempt ponytail and no make up. I nearly fainted from the sight.

Now here is where Anne Barone’s technique comes in handy. Perhaps Jennifer (that’s me) would do such a thing- go to the grocery store looking like a wild country club refugee, but Jeanne (my French alter ego) certainly would not. Non, Jeanne probably would have taken 5 minutes to pull her hair together, change clothes (or at least match her outfit!) and apply some blush and a dab of color to her lips…

I’m glad I caught myself in the mirror today because it brought me back to reality... That life is too short to not go through it chicly. Jeanne came just in the nick of time to remind me this and I couldn’t be more grateful…

I would love to know... what is the name of your French alter ego?


For more information on Anne Barone, or to purchase her books, visit www.annebarone.com


A model wearing Jean Paul Gaultier is pictured above.

28 comments:

CashmereLibrarian said...

I have 2 of her books: Chic & Slim and Chic & Slim Encore. Any others you'd recommend? I know she's written several more, but I haven't checked recently.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Cashmere- I have both of those (Chic & Slim and Chic & Slim Encore) and I also have Chic & Slim Techniques- where I believe this technique comes from. Other than that I know that there is one more called The New Connoisseur- I haven't read that one yet but looking at the title- I think I would definitely be interested! :)

Sharon Mayhew said...

So funny...I have an alter ego name too: Sapphire...She's self confident, assertive and sexy. Thanks or the reminder to be Sapphire more than Sharon. :) I came via a comment you left on Sharon McPherson's blog. I'll be back!

What do you write?

Michael Rivers said...

Love the Barone quote. That almost described my evening tonight. LOL.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I have one of her books, her website is interesting as well....french hints for chic dress and lifestyle abound. I just need to implement them 24/7...I need to buy some wonderful sleepwear...silk pajamas sound divine and sexy....mais oui!

Oshiya said...

i didn't read her book but it sounds interesting. i read french women don't get fat. i think the advice is similar but barone's seems more fun.

Rebecca said...

I enjoy all her books. I also visit her website too. Again I like the theme of taking your time and paying attention. Now I just need to think of a French name...;)

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

You had me believing as I read that was you dressed up as your ego! I think this is a funny and great idea but I'm nervous I might get confused with my two identities! It souds like a David Lynch script! I haven't heard of this author but I will check her out. xx

Rose said...

I have never thought of this but I probably need one. Before the film I'd have chosen Amelie but now that seems a lot to live up to! So I think Camille or Clothilde would be nice- there isn't really an equivalent to my name but those too are pretty chic

Bonjour Madame said...

I love all of her books!

BigLittleWolf said...

Love your French alter-ego! (Red lips are always helpful. And Louboutins!)

M.Lane said...

I think Louis Jourdan will be my alter ego name! How dangerous is that...a FULL alter ego name...

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Sharon- Thanks for stopping by. Sapphire... I love it! How can you go wrong with an alter ego named Sapphire? I am writing a mystery novel and am currently putting the finishing touches on it (am a little behind schedule though :)

Michael- LOL we have all had one of those nights!

Hostess- Silk pajamas are definitely something your chic alter ego would approve of. Funny you say that because I actually went through my pajama drawer two days ago and got rid of everything that wasn't suitable!

Oshiya- You would like her books- they are less 'commercial' than French Women Don't Get Fat. They are a little hard to find though. I think the prices are inflated on Amazon so I would suggest buying them through her website. She also writes a little personal note when she sends them to you.

Rebecca- Hmmmm.... Rosemarie? Roxanne? LOL This is fun. Let me know when you come up with one :)

Josephine- LOL I wish that was me! (minus the cigarette, of course). Oh I think a French alter ego would suit you well...but I know what you mean- it could get to be like Mulholland Drive :)

Rose- I love both of those names! Just imagine asking yourself "What would Camille do?" lol

Bonjour Madame- She is really good fun isn't she?

BigLittleWolf- Yes, I thought that picture summed up my French Alter Ego aptly :) And yes Louboutins are a requirement!

M. Lane- LOL. Louis Jourdan- what a great alter ego. I think adding a last name is a great idea. It solidifies it, you know. Hmm. What would mine be? Jeanne de Rochefort perhaps? :)

Kristi said...

Mine is actually Italian -- Gabriella.

eurochic said...

I haven't called upon my Inner French Girl in a while. Her name is Celestine though and she has helped me out a lot over the past five years in becoming more chic.

Ellie said...

I'd like a FAE, but I seem to already have one. aybe I need a 'Strine alter ego who can wear thongs (the shoes, not the underwear) and drink beer occasionally.

BonjourRomance said...

I need to get her books, this is the first I've heard of them, I know I'm out of it! I've been trying (failing miserably) to learn to communicate over here in France that I can't even remember my own name anymore.
Perhaps an alter ego would work for me too - wait - I already have my blogger nom de plume...Mimi Bleu!
Sorry to run on but I'm trying to refrain from the pizza and Coke.

Nik - Brisbane said...

I've been thinking whilst working and although my real name is Nicola I don't think I'd use it, something more romantic, perhaps Vianne, from the movie Chocolat, just need Johnny Depp or a gypsy and I'm set!

Lulu said...

I'm a huge fan of Anne Barone and her website. I do love her philosophy for living a life of pleasure and discipline to remain thin.

I've followed your blog for quite some time and I really enjoy it.

By the way, my alter ego name is Lulu. Not particularly French but I like it.

Tish Jett said...

My chere Jennifer,

LOL. I am perhaps the luckiest femme in all the world. I already have my alter-egos. I have Tish and I have Letitia -- et en plus, the French really cannot pronounce the first and many, many Americans cannot pronounce the second.

You have given me a brilliant idea for a split personality. I already have Cherie, of course, the evil twin, but now we can be triplets.

How can I ever thank you?

I too am working on a MAJOR PROJECT and haven't visited as much as I like, but you know it's not because I don't love you.

Merci for this wonderful post. Too drole.
Tish/Letitia/Cheriexo

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I am having so much fun hearing your French (or otherwise) alter ego names. You all have inspired me to do a series on this subject! Merci! xo

Catherine said...

I love this post. I think that is what fashion is all about - dressing for yourself, even if it's just to bolt to Whole Foods on a day of hibernation. Luckily the rain is letting up, only it's been replaced with lots of wind! Oh well - great time to wear those fab Hunter wellies...

Catherine

www.thelifestyled.com

The Coastal Chicster said...

i loved this post! coming from pretty much 100% italian ancestors, i never really considered having a french alter ego. :) but, i am starting to notice that my blogging personality is developing an alter ego - The Coastal Cheapster - who is extremely good at finding deals or alternatives to satisfy The Coastal Chicster's expensive taste. :) Haha.

The Coastal Chicster said...

p.s. i checked out anne barone's website, and i am ordering the chic & slim ebook. :)

Fiona said...

Along with the French Chic yahoo group, Anne Barone was one of my first influences and I bought all three of her first books at once. I also bought her two later ones at different times but the ones you have are the best.

I have called myself Fifi L'Amour for years just for fun but she's more a flirty cabaret dancer. I shall have to think of a proper Inner French Girl name (Fifi L'Amour just encourages bad behaviour). 'What would Dominique do?'

Thanks for a fabulous and fun post Jeanne!

Tine said...

My real name is actually of French origin, but since its my real name I think it cannot be the same as my inner french girl's name. After careful thought, I think that my inner french girl's name is Elle. Simple, yet sophisticated. Two of the things I want most to be.

Laura said...

I just happened on your blog and love it! I also love the Anne Barone books and have them in my "library" of books I read and re-read. My French alter ego is Genevieve and she has helped me shed almost 40 lbs over the course of the last year. LOL that statement actually makes me laugh. It sounds as though I'm schizophrenic and I suppose I am a bit these days, my Irish self wants to indulge in scones, but my French self says, non et non!!

A wonderful week to you!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Laura- What a tremendous accomplishment- congratulations! Don't worry about sounding crazy on this blog- we all have a French Alter Ego (some of us have Italian and Greek ones) and they help us get through life :)

 
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