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Classic: Why I Will Not Be Aging Like a French Woman


Catherine Deneuve: Luminosity Personified

Last week, the most popular post at the New York Times was Aging Gracefully, the French Way, presumably because the same audience who still reads the newspapers is also the same audience that gravity has tracked down with a vengeance. Of course, I read the article because who wouldn’t want to look like Catherine Deneuve? Then the New York Times had a companion piece, Ten Ways to Age Like a  French Women, in case we Americans responded better to a list instead of  a whole long article.

Ohhhh. Got it.

Here’s what I learned about Aging Like French Woman. It breaks down into two categories:

You have to really care all the time about how you are aging As a French dermatologist said, “French women simply take better care of themselves.”  Ouch. Like every morning, noon and night and in between. You have to watch what you eat and  what you drink at every meal.   (Actually, the article said that Leslie Caron’s secret was to pretty much stop eating all together because in my book “bird-like portions” is eating nothing) You have to care what men think about you and dress accordingly, which means in La Perla and sexy dresses.  You have to care what women think about you and never get plastic surgery that is so obvious it tips all your friends off to the fact that you have had plastic surgery. And you have to do all of this in secret because it’s impolite to reveal such secrets in front of others.  You have to make YOU a top priority 24/7.  It seemed exhausting and very time-consuming.

You have to have tons of money Because apparently the secret to aging like a French woman is to fall for, um I mean ,  purchase every new beauty product on the market. Every potion, lotion and cream that promises fewer wrinkles, less cellulite, better legs, slimmer thighs and more luminosity. Of course, I want luminosity as much as the next gal, but I have finally found a line of skin care products that is simple, easy and effective at the Natural Skin Shop.  I’m not going to chuck my fantastic new glycolic regime for La Mer anything. For the first time in decades, my sink top is clear of  every free sample and mismatched night cream, and my skin looks great. I’m done with chasing the next big product! Here’s the difference between me and French women: I would rather stick with simplicity in the potions, lotions and creams category and spend my money on books and yoga classes. But that’s just me

Despite the fact that I will never devote the sort of single-mindedness to the task of aging that Frenchwomen do, I admire them.  According to the article, “When you are young, you must be beautiful to be loved. When you get older, you must be loved to be beautiful.” I’m not so sure about the first part, but I agree with the second!

Embracing my Chaos, Lian


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