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…
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.