When someone says to you “French girls” what comes to mind?
Style, class, cigarettes, Brigitte Bardot? One friend (a Frenchman) once said, “I don’t date French girls. They are crazy.”
On the contrary, I don’t think French girls are crazy at all. I think they know exactly what they’re doing. Their bedhead hair is extremely calculated, the way they clutch their cigarette is poised but fanatic, they slur their words until it sounds like they are purring, and their leather boots clunk to a perfected rhythm. In fact, it’s their quirkiness that makes them so unique.
Often when I take a glance at a française trundling down the street I think, “Mhm, interesting.” Unlike Scandinavian girls, where their beauty is sometimes downright blinding, French girls have a beauty that takes time to acclimate oneself to. That is not to say that French girls are frog-like creatures who you have to kiss to make them turn into the beautiful princess. Nor is it to say that French girls who are blindingly gorgeous do not exist. Quite the contrary. It is rather that there is a certain twist, an alluring twirk of the nose, a furrowed brow, or a piercing glance that throws you off at first. Then, after a while, you realize that the creature before you is not directing their eyes towards me and thinking, “I hate you,” or turning their nose up at you. But I suppose it is rather, “Pfh…this world…,” “Putain, I have no more cigarettes,” or “God, it smells bad in Lille today” (which it really does sometimes). Ah, so French.
When I first moved here I felt very self-conscious, not only because I was in a new place but because I do not look like French girls. I have short, dirty-blonde hair, and blue eyes, which some French women do have, but most are a gorgeous, flowing brunette with molasses eyes. Damn, that’s the opposite of me. I’ve lived in places where I was overwhelmingly in the minority and overwhelmingly in the majority. But somehow, living in a place where you can blend in but still don’t look like the inhabitants was a little unsettling. Somehow it’s easier to be one or the other, but never in the middle.
After the first month or two I got over my self-consciousness and was glad that I stood out. I’ll never be able to do the bedhead look. I don’t want to smoke cigarettes. I will never be able to speak French like a cat. And I’m very happy to have my own klonk-klonk of my leather boots. But, you have got to give it to them. They are magnificent.