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COLUMN: French women’s secrets are just fake news



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A sign signifying the entrance to the Paris Métro.  Brielle Saggese Buy Photos

The internet seems to care about the French woman — how she dresses, prepares a coco vin and eats croissants all day without gaining ten pounds. 

How can she smoke, but not seem to age? Have perfect skin without makeup? Be carrying a baguette at all times, no matter the occasion?

From style, to health, to relationship advice, she is the ultimate expert — dispensing her secrets across beauty blogs, Cosmo articles, cooking videos and Vogue columns. 

But as much as we care about the French woman, sadly, we fail to remember her one cardinal rule: you should never care to be French. 

In fact, you should never really care to be anything at all. 

It starts with the face, as she doesn’t bother to change it. No matter if she’s waiting for the metro or sampling macaroons at Pierre Hermé, it’s always the same one — squinting softly into the distance. 

Maybe she’s preparing for her Paris Fashion Week model pout. Maybe she refrains from any expression that may require future Botox. But whatever she is thinking, she doesn’t care enough to wear it across her brow. 

Next come the clothes, which of course are neutral, tailored and clean-cut. If she wears an accessory, it’s not because she planned to, but somehow the wind blew and voila — now a sweater is tied around her shoulders.

Once she’s ready for the day, she slips outside and crosses the street. But does she care enough to check and make sure the cars will stop?

Of course not. Instead she’ll just walk through the intersection, daring traffic to hit her while she’s wearing Saint Laurent. 

For years I’ve read her “10 Effortless Beauty Tips” and lusted over her Instagram account. Intent on mastering her elusive ways, I ate up every tip and trick I could find. 

As it turns out, I was doing it all wrong. We love to sum up the French woman as what brand of red lipstick to buy or diet secret to share. 

In reality, she’s much simpler. She is the choice of living exactly how she wants without a care for anything else. She doesn’t need to smile to look pretty or dilute her opinion to be liked or wait for anyone — even a speeding taxi driver — to cross whatever road she sees fit. 

It’s a lifestyle, not a beauty regime or Cosmo listicle. Altogether, the how-to-be-French clickbait industry could be fashion journalism’s greatest fake news scheme yet. 

Rather than celebrating the radical strength of French female culture, it twists her story into something that can be bought in a department store or memorized as a diet trick. 

Don’t look for her secrets in a magazine or cookbook, but from French women themselves, who choose to live without care and in the best style. 

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