livre numerique - limited offer!
Flâner: Francophiles love this word (and so do the French)

aimant + How to be a Chick Magnet + recipe


They don't say chick magnet in French. Here, it's aspirateur de gonzesses (literally, that's "vacuume cleaner of broads")

un aimant (ay-mahn)

    : magnet

Example Sentence 

Les aimants décoratifs servent à maintenir les messages sur la porte du frigo.
Decorative magnets are useful for holding messages on the fridge door.

A Day in a FRENCH Life... by Kristin Espinasse

See the Humor in it or Skip it!

If I were as good a salesman as I've recently been accused of being (by the way, have you bought First French Essais? in paperback or ebook?) then I would title today's story this way:


And if I were a really good salesman then I'd offer (well, offer is a big word--with strings attached,  naturally); yes, I'd offer the secret in three words or less! So let's put the theory to the test: am I really that good a salesman (of First French Essais...) and can you really become a girl magnet with only three words?

(Drum roll...) Here are the 3 magic mots. Take note!

"Forget my birthday"

Yep, that's it. That's all it takes to become a girl magnet overnight!--to go from completely invisible, ignored, rejected and abandoned... to rock-n-roll irresistible!

Now, would a good salesman leave you with 3 magic words and then, basta, run with the money? Jamais! Here are the priceless instructions you will need to transform yourself into girl glue:

Simply whisper the suggestion "Forget my birthday" to the future chick magnets of your choice. Start a day early en chuchotant the 3 magic words:

...Forget my birthday... forget my birthday....

Then, the morning of your birthday, Bob's your uncle!* Or Jean-Marc is, or rather, we'll use Jean-Marc for this example!

The morning of my husband's birthday I stumbled past him on my way to the coffee machine. Bonjour, I mumbled. I vaguely remember pausing, seeing him sitting there on the couch--barely covered against the morning chill. I was sorry he woke up so early but didn't apologize, this time, for my snoring. Instead I grabbed a cup of coffee and slipped past him, with a noncommittal, ça va, Cheri?

As I settled back into my warm bed, enjoying my morning coffee before our house guest (Chick #2...) woke up, I heard voices in the front room.

So much for lingering. It was time to get up and hostess. This time I flew past my husband in time to greet Rachel, who was treated to a livelier bonjour! It's always a pleasure to see Rachel, and no need to change out of my morning get-up (pink and red knee-highs, my green-and-black-striped pjs tucked into the socks for extra warmth, and cashmere floor-length robe (five bucks at the consignment store) tossed over the whole (platform suede mules peeping from the bottom). 

Over toast, I caught up with our longtime friend. Rachel was a classmate of Jean-Marc's whom I had met days after him, 24 years ago. Owing to a long history in common, Rachel and I always have so much to say. This time we were chatting about bone density and I was telling Rachel about a tip I'd recently learned: save your organic eggshells, wash them in hot water and, using a coffee grinder, reduce them to a fine poudre. Take a small teaspoon in juice or yogurt and voilà! Calcium!

When Jean-Marc appeared at the table, we barely noticed him but for his greeting, which he was obliged to repeat.

"I said that's awfully interesting conversation on a day like today!" he smiled hopefully.

Rachel and I smiled back, she more politely than I, before continuing our conversation about our future foe: osteoporosis. But a noise in the near distance caused us to pause once more.

Jean-Marc was a broken record: "Fascinating conversation on a day like today!"

Our eyes froze midsentence as Rachel and I jumped up. Planting kisses all over his face, Chick #1 and Chick #2 wished Jean-Marc Happy Birthday!!!...

And that, dear reader, is How To Become a Chick Magnet with only 3 words! Now, depending on your birth day, it might be a little or a very long wait. For poor Jean-Marc, he has a whole nother year to go, before being clawed and kissed by a flurry of embarrased chicks. 

*    *    *

To comment, click here. Thanks in advance!

Selected Vocabulary
le mot = word
basta!= (interjection, Italian?) that's enough
jamais = never
en chuchotant = in whispering
Bob's your uncle = voilà! That's how it's done! That's all it takes!
la poudre = powde

Birthday cake

 Jean-Marc's birthday cake: a crumble I've been practicing ever since Sandra made it, last Friday night for dessert. This one has sauteed apples and carrots (1 grated) and a drizzle of Jean-Marc's honey from his bees.

I like this easy-to-remember measure for the topping: 10 tablespoons flour, 10 tablespoons sugar, 150 grams butter--cinnamon and whatever else you fancy (a sprinkle of granola? pecans?). Malaxer (or knead this together) until fine like breadcrumbs. Spread crumbs on top of fruit (now in a baking pan) and bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes.


 Jean-Marc's birthday may have been like any other day--like laundry day--but there were many beautiful moments within it...


Like his shoes lined up along the porch, to freshen in the air.


And the thyme, collected by our daughter--for her grandmother. We celebrated Jean-Marc's birthday again with Michèle-France on Sunday. The herbs are for my mother-in-law's tapenade, a gift that keeps on giving!

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Happy birthday to Jean-Marc!!

Nice story to read this am as I sit in my car eating
Oatmeal after taking Kristopher to class. I'm
Visiting him in Florida. Would love your mother-in-laws
Tapenade recipe. It was so delicious last summer!!
Enjoy your visit with your friend. It is so nice to sit
And talk to an old friend, and talking about our
Aging bodies, lol. My friends who are our age, and I
do the exact thing.

Take care,

Joe Fusco

Bonjour Kristen,

Basta ! is used in both Spanish and Italian from the verb bastar/bastare respectively. So I suppose the answer is French speakers picked it up from both languages.

Bonne continuation !

Lee Mears

Jean-Marc's birthday cake looks scrumptious! I love the idea of the grated carrots. I usually put raisins in my version but I'll try carrots too. Here we call it "Apple Crumble" and it's one of our favorites. If I make it in the morning it usually becomes our "lunch", nice and warm from the oven. By dinnertime there's not much remaining!
Another subject, what are the tall yellow blossoms in the photo of the shoes?

Eileen deCamp

Happy Birthday Jean-Marc from another Aries! The crumble looks delicious! Did you add a scoop of ice cream?


Aimant is correct under the photo. Somehow it exchanged the a for an e at the top.
Great story, great photos, especially the thyme. Impressive! Mille mercis for all the times I read your post, enjoy it and go on to something else, thinking my reaction instead of writing it. You are appreciated more than you know!

lou bogue

Happy Birthday Jean Marc, your just a kid another 47+ to go, hope to see you in the fall. to celebrate my 87th. with a glass of your great wine. Lou bogue

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Joyeux anniversaire, Jean-Marc! You got a good start. With 83 + years of living young, I’m with Lou Bogue on that.

Chris Allin

Happy Birthday wishes to Jean-Marc for a fruitful and productive year ahead as he tends to his vines, olive trees and honey bees! George almost shares a birthday with is today and I made Jacque's french yogurt cake for him! Now we will have to try the crumble cake. With each of your birthdays must come a new sense of accomplishment. May you continue to enjoy your beautiful piece of Provence~

Kristin Espinasse

Happy Birthday GEORGE! Hope you see this :-) :-)

Lee, those are more kale blossom. They really brighten up the place!

Eileen, some of us had two scoops....

Carol, many thanks for the correction and for your delightful comment about the posts!

Lou and Herm, love your notes! What a pleasure to have trudged through the vineyard with one of you, and the dessert with the other!


I'm giggling at this story -- thank you for the smiles! Joyeux Anniv' Jean-Marc!!! May this year bring many fruits of the hives and vines.



Thank you Kristin and belated Happy Birthday to Jean Marc.

Cynthia Lewis

Happy Birthday, Jean-Marc!! You had a clever way of hinting that it was your birthday and it certainly got the reaction which you wished for! My very best wishes to all, Cynthia ( Thanks, Kristin, for sharing your morning with us . I especially like it when you post pictures of clothes drying on the line in the sunshine. I love to" hang out" clothes.) P.S. Do you have a few hens wandering about?

Kristin Espinasse

Yay! So happy you saw your birthday message, George! Will share your wishes with Jean-Marc. Thanks!

Kristin Espinasse

Cynthia, I wish we could have hens. But Smokey and Braise are *chiens de plume* (or feather dogs). Clash de la clash clash!


LOVE your new book!


Darling Kristi,

I hardly know where to begin with my praise for todays post…this is definitely one of my favorites. For starters I am all psyched up to paint three of these photos. They are an artists dream for inspiration. Of course I will have to edit out a few things (like that awful white chair & table on the sidelines of the boules court, and that white pot on the tree stump underneath your lovely almond tree). I will paint them when I get to France. Also I am going to change the white windowsill behind the chicken to either grey or sea foam green, or just match it up with the shutter to the right. Oh, my dear God, your photos are priceless…I adore them more than you will ever know.

Great story about JM birthday winning - John does the same thing. Believe it or not JM actually wrote me a lovely note on his birthday, telling me how much he loved me and the photograph I sent him of his birthday present which will be in my suitcase when I arrive.

I am so happy today…thanks to good health, sweet friends, and your happy post. I love you Honey - Keep hitting those keys on your computer - I don´t know what I would do if you did not post your feeling every week….I would not know a thing that is going on over there in Provence.



Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm

Smiling, sweet birthday wishes from this chicken farmer to your dear chick magnet. Many more blessed years of health, love and happiness!

Karen from Phoenix


Have a wonderful day.



I´ll run back over there now and hit the button….I need your book for my friend Myrna.



Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you all for your Bd wishes. I had a perfect day even if it started a bit "uncommon" =)


Just purchased the e-book - so excited to read it and hopefully share some of it with my French students! :)



I was just studying your photo´s - have you done something to your house that you haven´t told me about???? Where is the rail that wraps around your bedroom terrace - and is that a new window I see below where your rail is supposed to be in your future ´ROOM OF ONE´S OWN??!! OR am I just seeing things??? Please call me when you wake up tomorrow morning…





You must know how naughty Kristi can get if she doesn´t hear from her friends…



Marianne Rankin

Yes, Happy Birthday, Jean-Marc - and like fine wine, people get better and better with time. Age is, I think, to a considerable degree, a state of mind, and you have always seemed young at heart.


Hey, Chief Grape! Or, should I say, . . . Mr. Chick Magnet! :D

Happy Birthday! Joyeux anniversaire! Hope you had a great day!


basta!= (interjection, Italian?) that's enough.

C'est un mot espagnol. Salut!

Betty Doolittle Tuininga

Great story Kristin! Happy Birthday to Jean-Marc!

I am now the proud owner of your new book in on my iPad. No more room for reading books in my house (Two many art, art history and cooking books) Love your writing. You are like a breath of fresh air and lighten my often task heavy day!

I am so glad that your mom introduced me to your blog, and you!

Carol Jo

We have our copy of the book and are loving it!


Happy belated birthday to Jean-Marc, and merci for the birthday cake recipe! Such a great, healthy idea!


nother is not an English word

Russell Ashworth

Happy birthday to Jean-Marc! And I am enjoying my paperback copy of First Essais, which is as delightful as your other books.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)