French Women Waddle Too
As anyone who is lucky enough to be my friend on Facebook will know, because I have been (coyly) gloating, I have just been on Paradise Isle, AKA Mauritius. Mauritius was property of the French from 1715-1810 and the people speak a mix of French, English and Creole. I can only assume that because of its nostalgia for past colonial glory, Mauritius is still huge with the French. There are direct flights from many cities in Europe, but France is mad for the place- Corsair has just begun flights from Nantes to the island. Nantes, for God’s sake. A cathedral town.
So the point is, while swanning about under the palms, I was able to observe quite a few of our Gallic friends – zo0-style- in their natural habitat of holiday. I was reminded that they aren’t the refined, blowsy bunch one habitually imagines. It’s easy to get carried away with their image of elegance in Paris, their irritating chicery in South Ken, their vulgar coolness in St Tropez, so that you quite forget that it’s not just the lobster-coloured, booze-riddled Brits abroad that give their country’s reputation and aura a kick in the balls. The French do it too! Quite a revelation.
Not as revelatory, though, as the discovery that French women can waddle. As non-French females, we are constantly made aware of our Francaises sisters’ grace and their inability to get fat (“French Women Don’t Get Fat”, the diet book by Mireille Guillamo, was an instant bestseller because we thought it rang so true; then there’s the whole Carla Bruni v Sarah Brown thing; need I say more?). One couple in particular caught my eye. They looked to be in their 20s and the girl had a Hello Kitty white vinyl bag with chain strap, and a navy bikini that had black lace kind of flapping off it. She had over-dyed platinum hair and that flawless, chubby tan skin that looks like it had never heard of a mole, rash or bite. Her boyfriend had an even deeper tan, long shorts with a bad tropical surfer design and gelled hair. Her voice was husky, monotone and constant, seeming to exclusively emit logistics to her boyf, like: “Coca? Ou bier?”
Her walk though- her walk. It was more American lacrosse captain than French beach babe; it’s not that she was fat, she was just not graceful. She wore her hair scraped back, and had big shades. She waddled, she toddled, she shuffled, she waded, she flopped and she lumbered. (He blandly capered and splashed and dozed). It was the first time in my life that I felt more feminine and graceful than a French woman in a bikini.
A wake-up call: they’re not all Carla Bruni, and they’re not all pictures of feminine grace. Ladies, put that in your cigarello and smoke it.