Thursday, January 1, 2009

Beauty Secrets

As we strive to be a more beautiful and fabulous version of ourselves in 2009, I thought I would share two of my favorite beauty tips that I have received from my European counterparts.

Hair Removal: My dear aunt Annie, sister of my French host mother, taught me a valuable, albeit harsh, lesson about leg hair. In the fall of 1999 Odile and I were visiting Paris for a Jewish holiday. Annie arrived fashionably late, as she often did, and floated elegantly around the apartment kissing all the guests. She spotted a pair of big black Doc Martins on the floor. Her face lit up as she inquired if any young men were invited to dinner this evening. Annie, a beautiful woman in her late forties, loved young men. She was sorely disappointed to learn the shoes were mine and genuinely confused as to why I would be wearing men's shoes. At 16 I admittedly had a mixed bag of fashionable and less fashionable items in my wardrobe. 

The evening rolled on and soon it was time for bed. Annie and I were sharing the fold out couch. I let Annie use the bathroom first. A few minutes later she came rushing back in to the living room with my razor in hand shouting "Qu'est que c'est ça?! What is this? Whose is it?". "Uhhh..mine?" I reply, knowing that was going to be the wrong answer. Annie shook her hair in disbelief, "and what do you do with it?". Unsure as to where this was going I thought it best to answer honestly, "Shave my legs?". "Quoi?! Do you want to have thighs like the cheek of a man? Women should only ever wax their legs!". She gave me a sad, poor you, look wondering who failed to teach me this essential life lesson. She turned away and went back to the bathroom. I heard her rummaging through the rest of my toiletries but they apparently past muster since she then switched off the light and went to bed. Annie, thank you for the advice. I have been waxing my legs ever since, I swear. May you rest in peace.

Peeing to the Marseillaise: This advice is more recent and was passed on to me with equal conviction and enthusiasm. I was on tour this summer with a sassy and beautiful Belgian coworker who was boasting about how long she can go on road trips without having to pee. This conversation meandered and finished by her looking me square in the eye and saying, "Mary, chérie, it is important for a number of reasons to keep that area taut and fit [wink and a smile]. All women should be able to pee while keeping time to the Marseillaise.". The Marseillaise is the French national anthem and when she told me this I practically peed my pants with laughter. Later that evening I put this exercise in to practice and have been reaping the benefits ever since. Les enfants HOLD de la patrie RELEASE la jour de gloire HOLD est arrivée RELEASE.....

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