A long time ago, I was at a party discussing underwear. There was a hobo trashcan fire burning in the background. I may have had a glass of wine in my hand. I believe the other person was wearing a t-shirt. I get nervous at social occasions and often find myself in the middle of strange conversations. This is not a rare event. In fact, I’d say this is a typical night for me and often the reason why I stay home and read a French middle grade book that frequently uses the word “Berk!”
Well, this particular evening, I was talking with the friend in the t-shirt. He is a wiser, older friend who often tells me informative things. For instance, most recently, he told me to purchase a pipe wrench. This came in very handy on one particular night. I don’t like to talk about that night, but let’s just say it came in very handy.
So, at this hobo trashcan party, this gentleman began to speak, parler, au sujet de . . .les underwear!
Oui, c’est vrai.
For a long time, I didn’t think underwear was very important. During my senior year of college, my friends got me a joke gift of Superman underwear that was meant for a thirteen year old boy. I have non-ironically been wearing that exact underwear since I was 21 years old. I am now 33. Yes, that underwear is 12 years old. C’est extraordinairre!
This older, wiser friend of mine suggested/scolded/shamed me into perhaps updating my underwear.
Quoi?! Porquoi? I don’t need beautiful underwear. I need cool dresses and pleather jackets; I need that skin toned make up that covers an unusual facial birthmark; I need a leash to take my adventure cat outside, but underwear–puh. Terrible superman underwear is fine!
Non. Cette n’est pas vrai. You do need beautiful underwear. It is one step before fluency.
So, coincidentally, my other friend, this gentleman’s lovely wife, opened up (avec sa soeur) this really beautiful lingerie store. It is called Lace and Day and it is in Buffalo, NY and it is extremely fun to go there (http://www.laceandday.com/).
When I went, I was pretty much astounded. Quoi le coq? Pretty underwear? Who knew?
Because I like to learn, my friend, the co-owner of the shop, began to educate me about French companies that make underwear. And, soon, I began to be infatuated by these companies. They made underwear differently than Americans. Instead of padding in bras and all this covering up so we look like repressed Puritans, they are like, “Puh! Let ze breast be free to be ze breast!” (I’m not quite fluent in French, but my English as if spoken by a French person is getting extremely good!)
J’adore l’idee! You’re free to disagree with me, but I feel like one of my heroes, Simone de Beauvoir, would approve.
Anyway, there is this brand from Paris: Simone Pérèle and it is really lovely. I feel like a nouveau femme!
Cultural understanding happens on many levels: some of them, very intimate levels and others, more external. I think understanding a part of France is understanding how to be elegant. And now, I have to go clean the sewer muck off my pipe wrench.