French culture is great, guys. I had always had a feeling that it was wine and people watching while wrapped in fine, fancy clothes. I was mostly correct about that! My lusting after the culture in the hopes that they adopted me did not happen (Le sigh.) but I believe that I may effectively be able to adopt their culture. This is a good thing. This is something we should all do because they do culture right.
First, eating. People eat! They don’t like hyper fatass indulge: they eat like humans, in moderation. Plates are smaller and, while a dish can be indulgent in taste, it isn’t indulgent in it’s portion size. Food is an experience to be had with others and, while the food is great, it is a literal side to drinks and conversation. Why else would the majority of menus included “entrees” that are actually shareable dishes and appetizers and the “bigger” dishes be giant, even more shareable items touted as the “plat principal”? Because Parisians eat well to live well instead of living to eat it all and then some.
Then there is the drinking: it comes first. People drink a good amount, mostly of wine but, like food, it doesn’t seem to go into excess—and it does go for a while. I doubt everyone is always out all night, drinking in the streets, but I can assure you based on the ‘hood we stayed in that every night people where all hoots and hollers well into the night at establishments that serve minimal food and mostly drinks. Because of this leisurely, long term style, people aren’t as crazy. Nothing is as indulgent. People sip instead of chug. No one gulps. People are patient with their partying. I noticed immediately that my adult big boy sips were too fast and furious for everyone around me. I don’t think that is “bad” but I did notice that slowing my drank row was maybe a classier alternative to the constant gulp, gulp, gulp. This extends to drinking non-alcoholic beverages, too.
Obviously a result of the city, everyone is always moving. They walk and they bike and they motor and they scooter and they train. Their activity meters also temper their intoxications. It keeps them fit, too. Again: I like that. Get you a Velib and get you some wine and time and you are living the Parisian way.
Adding this all up, people’s bodies were bodies. Some were fat and some were skinny, some were average and some had some husk—but no one cared. I can guess that a gros (fat) person likely gets stares because they are such a visual anomaly in their city. This said, no one seemed overly concerned with looks. People just are—and I love that. I always hear that Los Angeles is so image conscious—and it is and I like that—and living in a city where no one gave a fuck about their physical body for better and worse was wonderful. People just were people. They were themselves before they were their body. I really, really loved that.
(But then there was the smoking. People smoked a lot! Duh. It’s Europe. I hope they have good lungs because, sheesh, I feel like I would be dead already if I smoked as much as they do. Yet: lust. I wish I could smoke that much! If any at all. People did vape too, surprisingly, but smoking was definitely something seen on the regular.)
The French lifestyle is just so unique and so cool and so laissez faire, something that is both incredibly formal and incredibly casual. There is a pride in the lifestyle and the being. People aren’t extreme but a happy medium. The French are a tempered people. We can learn a lot from them.