Friday, May 23, 2008

Girls in Paris - c'est magnifique!

I'm not sure how Niamh puts up with me. Here we are, walking around Paris as we wait to go to her friend's wedding and I'm captivated, not by the architecture, the history or the ambience, but by the pretty girls.

And in Paris there are a lot of pretty girls.

They seem oblivious to their effect as they stroll along in the sunshine, dressed in their simple but elegant clothes. Black seems to be the colour of the season here. Certainly dark colours are in, the loud pinks and pastels reserved for the younger girls and the tourists.

The casual the-sun-is-shining style over here seems not to be the low cut tops, the too tight hot pants over brightly coloured tights or the paint on skinny jeans and they look all the better for it. Instead they choose clothes to compliment their figures, to suit the weather and to just look good in. They look comfortable and act comfortable because of it.

I know some beautiful stunning Irish girls who always manage to look great. However there's a small small percentage of image obsessed and too-self-conscious girls who'd benefit from seeing how free-ing it seems to be.

I haven't seen the all-too-prevalent fake tan oompa loompa look that Grafton Street and Dundrum seem to majorly consist of, especially on Saturday afternoons. There are hair colours of all sorts, not just peroxide blonde.

In such a multicultural city the tans are probably authentic or are at least professionally applied ones. I've passed quite a few tanning boutiques, advertising the benefits of looking after your skin, with tan-friendly sunscreen prominently on display. The girls get the sun - don't get me wrong - by lounging around on the steps of the Pantheon or in the Jardin du Tuileries or sitting outside a cafe sipping their coffees from impossibly small cups.

I'm finding it ironic also that the city of fashion, of beauty and of image contains so many girls who don't appear to be wearing make up.

They're certainly not plastered in it as some girls do (and I can usually tell: training from an ex) and where it's used (generally around the eyes Niamh tells me) it works well to accentuate the colours without making them look unnatural. Maybe the benefits of the sun mean that skin complaints or aggravations don't affect them so much, though my own suspicion that the healthy food, the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables (I've passed more grocers here than souveneir shops) and the water price (a euro for a litre) all contribute.

Many of the girls I know will admit to feeling the need to use make-up to change or improve their appearance. "oh I couldn't go out without it." Here it serves to accentuate rather than distort.

Finally, and rather wonderfully, I've not seen one pair of ugg boots, one pair of impossible high heels worn non-dressy or any shoes that look uncomfortable to wear. The shoes are flat, practical and stylish. The girls walk with ease. I somehow doubt any of them feel the need to remove their shoes after walking. None of this squeezing 5 toes into pointy shoes with room only for 3. No wedges and no way too tight straps as far as I can see. Just simple.

We were discussing the difference between foreign and Irish girls appearance before and came up with the fact that (a) in their own country they're probably fairly ordinary but because they're out of context they're different and therefore "more attractive" and (b) there's a big difference in the prevalence of the media and image between Ireland, the UK and the US and in the rest of the world. Maybe no-one's told them they need to look and dress a certain way for the boys to like them.

In Paris in particular the sense of beauty comes from the surroundings, the architecture of the buildings and the human form. There's nudity everywhere, in the advertisements, the sculptures, the reliefs on important buildings and bridges, the paintings. But it doesn't seem to promote the idea of a perfect human form, rather to celebrate it. There's no standard - breasts, figures and curves of varying sizes, shapes and tones both male and female are all on display, not suggesting they need to be shown only if they look a certain way. Not hidden.

Maybe of course it's all a pretence and a sham and they spend ages getting ready in the mornings, a fortune in the beauticians and another in hairdressers perfecting a just brushed casual look. Maybe.

But sure, really, what the hell would I know? I have a preference for girls who aren't compulsively obsessed with their image, who'd prefer to spend time looking into your eyes than a mirror and who realise the most beautiful thing you can be is to be yourself and I'm single. What does that tell you?

Typing all this onto the brick has left Niamh alone in the Pantheon. I'm in a place of great art, history and beauty. I better go.


  1. I gave up on fashion about three years ago once I realised that only one in ten new trends would actually suit me. Who would have guessed that you have to be skinny to wear skinny jeans - er well i did actually.

    That's why I called my blog Style Treaty and not Fashion Treaty. I agree with you on the Make-Up too, you can look groomed without looking made-up. Some links and book recommendations if you fancy follow up

  2. Darragh you old dog you!

    I happened to meet a veyr lovely Irish girl last night - but definitely see the appeal in French girls.

    I'd marry the girl from the Renault Clio adverts, Melissa Theuriau or Noemie Lenoir (Google them) anyday!

    Tres bien!

  3. *is jealous*

    they know they're hot!

  4. I'm glad you are enjoying the scenery! ;)