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How To Be French

One week until we leave for Paris. Meanwhile, the ever-helpful Paul Rudnick channels the voice of a French woman. Excerpt:

To maintain my figure, I eat only half portions of any food, always arranging it on my plate in the shape of a semicolon. For exercise, at least once a day I approach a total stranger and slap him. And late each afternoon I read a paragraph of any work of acclaimed American literary fiction, which makes me vomit.

As for family life, Americans are far too concerned with a child’s self-esteem and accomplishments. The French woman knows that to build a child’s inner strength it is best either to completely ignore the child or to belittle him. As I was giving birth to my daughter, I refused to put down my copy of French Vogue. When it was over, I turned to my husband and remarked, “I have just had an unusually large bowel movement that will never be as attractive as me.” During my son’s thirteenth-birthday party, I ordered him to remove all his clothing, and I told the assembled guests, “You see? That is why we raised him as a girl.” My wisdom can be traced to the influence of my own mother. When I was five years old, I asked her, “What is love?” She took my small, flowerlike face in her slender hands and replied, “What do I look like, Yoda?”

UPDATE: Cool Paris vs. New York video:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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