Warning: the following somewhat overwrought post contains so many adjectives it will almost certainly induce migraine.
Je suis in Paris, ville de dog caca et vielles dames violentes, for le French launch of the Tedium Files, which kicked off to a batsqueak of lukewarm acclaim from four elderly messieurs avec beards. My role at these events is to get drunk in the corner and fail to make intelligent conversation with the guests. I am becoming quite accomplished at this - I am on my third such event, and each is less dignified than the last.
Paris and I, regular readers may recall, have Issues. There was unrequited adoration, infatuation, rejection, disillusionment, and a really ugly break up. We are estranged. I would like to say I am over Paris, but I am not. It was looking as alluring as ever with the autumn sunlight filtering hazily through the plane trees in the Tuileries and kicked me in the guts comme d'habitude.
Stepping off the train in the Gare du Nord to the obligatory manif and a maelstrom of swirling, angry Parisians, is always daunting. However, long experience has taught me that dressing right is half the battle. To stave off the worst of their wrath I wore the origami shoe boots and a severe black dress (with sleeves, Plum Sykes would presumably approve). It worked, there was definite respect afforded to me as I elbowed my way onto the Métro and hobbled across the gravel to go and see Paris Girl (hello Paris Girl! The full body Johnny Halliday disguise please?), but at what cost? The cost of pain, and of not being able to breathe. Pff. A small price to pay for the joy of towering disdainfully above Parisians in the metro and meeting their gaze with a basilik (oxygen deprived) stare.
It was lovely to meet Paris Girl - I have now met three bloggeuses, and none of them has made the slightest attempt to cut me into slivers and place my remains in black plastic bags (though Zoe promises she will rectify this next time we meet). My faith in human nature is restored. Paris Girl's deliciously imperious Fille told us we talked like "brigands", which I like to imagine might be a little like pirates, but with more base cunning.
Next up, Paris Colleague in a John Rocha acid yellow skating skirt and pink Brian Atwood platforms, who kidnapped me and forced me to the Ladurée bar (a beatiful Alice in Wonderland fantasy room of mirrors and green roccoco lattice work) against my will where I underwent appalling, degrading exposure to champagne and macaroons. After these assaults, I had to have macaroon crumbs brushed off my blotchy red face and be propped against a wall gripping a glass of Badoît for the duration of the speeches, before being reimmersed in a whirl of Fauchon canapés and Taittinger with my exuberant Flemish euromaster, frequently sighted throughout the evening with multiple flutes of champagne grasped in both giant fists. The canapés were fantastic. I regretted not having the foresight to bring a tupperware box to fill with teeny weeny eclairs, macaroons, sashimi, prawns wrapped in daikon and brioche this and that. I nearly fell over however, when offered a canapé involving TOFU. Tofu? I thought tofu was on the list of banned imports in France? Surely the Académie Française has something to say on the subject?
Next, dinner at the Plaza Athénée (though not the 3 starred Alain Ducasse part). More champagne. Remind me why I decided to resign?
Emma twittering inappropriate conversation:
"I think my toes have actually been severed by these fecking shoes. I'd take them off but I'd hate to inflict my bleeding stumps on you. Ooh! He's off the tv isn't he? And that skeletor woman with him, my god, she's wearing a single fingerless leather glove like Michael Jackson! Yes, I love French slebs. I read Voici ALL the time. So do you hate your boss? I hear she eats broken glass for breakfast and uses interns as occasional tables. My face is numb. That's not good, is it? I'm new to this alcohol thing. Please don't leave me alone with Euromaster, there's no way I can carry him. Even rolling him would be hard unless its downhill all the way."
Euromaster taking inappropriate to a whole other level, or indeed to a whole other decade (say, the 1950s), to the discomfiture of the more conventional attending eurozombies:
"The girl from the publishers was gorgeous, wasn't she?"
"Why are all the women in this firm ugly?"
"God, the women in this city are beautiful"
"X needs to get laid"
"Y needs more sex"
"Why don't we hire cuter girls?"
Tell me, people, what I am supposed to do as the sole female these situations, because it always bothers me. I like Euromaster very much, he is a sweet man with a good heart and his incorrigible, and very Flemish, outbursts are a tiny aspect of what makes him so exuberant and entertaining. Believe me, in these circles, that makes him rarer than a chocolate capybara. But I shouldn't let him get away with it, should I? My mum will come back to haunt me and beat me over the head with a copy of the Female Eunuch! I feel like whassisface. The appeasment guy. Yes, I have a history degree, what of it? Chamberlain. That's the one.
I have gone swithering off topic and failed to form complete sentences due to being terribly hungover and having eaten 8 macaroons this morning. But I will attempt to drag myself fruitlessly back before falling asleep in the enticingly womblike hollow beneath my desk.
Paris survival - Leçon 1*
- M and Mme Dupont from Tricolore do not live there. We're not in La Rochelle now, Toto. Do not on any account say "Ca va? Moi ça va bien, et toi?" to shopkeepers. Fix them with a squinty glare and ostentatiously say Monsieur or Madame a LOT.
- Wear your best clothes. They aren't good enough. Get some better ones.
- Sharpen your elbows
- Useful phrases part 1 - Le Menagerie:
Cette tortue, c'est un obsédé sexuel, non?
This tortoise has sexual compulsion issues, no?
Votre alligateur est empaillé, j'en suis sur
I am sure your alligator is stuffed.
Monsieur, auriez vous la gentillesse de ne pas faire pipi sur mon pied?
Would you be kind enough to stop weeing on my foot, sir?
Ce perroquet a volé mon carré Hermès!
That parrot stole my Hermès scarf!
Y a t'il des capybaras par ici?
Are there capybaras round here?
L'âne afro est décédé? Alors j'exige un remboursement complet!
The afro donkey is dead? I demand a full refund!
- C'est tout
*I am being quite unfair. Parisians have totally learnt that they have to be nice to tourists now, and the vast majority of them are. But like I say, we have History; I am not unbiased.