Flâner: Francophiles love this word (and so do the French)
High heels & the Paris Metro = une mauvais idee?

Spit, wrinkles and my braless hairdresser


Next post goes out Thursday. "See you" then (or see you in Paris, on Tuesday afternoon!)

la bave (bav)

    : drool, slobber, spit; slime

Sound File: listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav file

La bave du crapaud n'atteint pas la blanche colombe.
The spit of the toad doesn't reach the white dove.
(Sticks and stones may break my bones.)

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

I feel guilty switching hairdressers. The other lady was nice, and so calm you could hear a bobby pin drop in her salon tout vide. Last time I was there, I saw the second customer ever--the hairdresser's mom--who swept the floor as her hair dye dried the color of blood (no icky or spooky connotations intended: French women really seem to love this Ronald McDonald shade of red!).

No matter the somber atmosphere, I might have been a customer for life, turning a blind eye, each time, on the orange tracks my hairdresser left across my head. Parting my hair another way, I could hide the mistakes, but facts were facts: this woman had a bad aim and was color-blind!

My new hairdresser (recommended by a reader) is the bomb! In a red fishnet top and cheek-defining jeans, she keeps her salon interesting. As she paints my hair blonder she hums alongside the blaring radio and if she doesn't like the song she hums another one

Yesterday's appointment was as amusing as any. Eva surprised me with a kiss on each cheek (on only my second visit) and an unusual amount of blinking....

"C'est la bave du grenouille. Frog spit," she explained. "A woman came by earlier and did a demonstration. It only took a couple of drops and voilà--nature's answer to botox!"

Just beyond Eva, another blinking woman greeted me. "I think it's working," Alex said. "Yes, my face feels tight! How does it look?"

The women studied each other, eyes a blinking. Oui, ça marche! they laughed, amused by the instant effect. 

I settled into a salon chair and scrutinized my own face in the mirror. Beside my mouth I recognized a deep verticle line that comes from sleeping on my left side (it's just a pillow imprint, it'll go away. That's what I've been telling myself all along). Could frog spit erase that?

No! I wouldn't exploit a frog, ever! And even so, not for 159.99 a bottle! Besides, there were plenty of frogs in my back yard. Armed with a cotton swab, I needed only to chase them via leaps and bounds!

As my imagination subsided, I looked up to find the salon crowd scrutinizing their own faces in the mirror. A collective frown begged encouragment. 

"Ah, but we have had our day!" Eva chirped. "It's the new generation's time to shine!" With that, she sent an affectionate clin d'oeil to the youngest customer: her 19-year-old niece, who had just begun modeling.

I sat admiring the lovely and si timide client, who reminded me of my cousin Audrey. Eva was right, and no amount of plastic or spit could aide in the jealous place-guarding. Time to give up our seats to a new crop of darlings! 

But looking back into the mirror, my critical regard moved from my mouth to my eyes, where more wrinkles formed on either side. Raising my eyebrows the lines disappeared, only now my attention caught on my forehead, where a scar branded it like a side of beef!

"That was skin cancer." I said, pointing out la cicatrice.

Eva's eyes narrowed for a closer look and her voice grew soft. "Mince!" (Oh no!)

The fair-skinned redhead in the chair behind mine chimed in with more sympathy. "We all got too much sun in the 70s! Now I wear sunscreen everywhere!"

Suddenly the salon was achatter as each woman questionned her suspicious spots. But when my hairdresser's shirt flew up, I was at a loss for words!

Braless was the first thing that came to mind, followed by Man. I wish mine looked like that!

Obviously, I could not share the compliment with Eva, who, five years older than me--and over 50--looked amazing, naturally. And yet all those years of topless sunbathing had not gone without incident: I saw the familiar skin-colored nodule.

It might have been nothing, but just in case I urged Eva to see her dermatologist. She promised she would and returned to her fun-loving self in time to finish my balayage. As she worked, I couldn't help but think that while the sun may harm skin cells, it sure hadn't damaged this one's elasticity. Eva was looking good!

Driving home from the salon, I regretted not sharing the compliment with my hairdresser. Obsessive thinker I am, I spent the remaining journey coming up with witty delivery lines for how to tell Eva that she was the bomb, now and forever?!  

Then it occured to me. I could have picked up the vial of frog spit and waved it, offering "You sure don't need any of this stuff, not THERE anyway!"

Yes, I could've said that, however simply, however absurdly. Or I can just hang low and chase frogs in my backyard--much less awkward, n'est-ce pas


To read my skin cancer story, click here.

Selected Vocabulary
tout vide = entirely empty
ça marche = it works!
un clin d'oeil = wink
la cicatrice = scar
mince! = oh, no!
le balayage = highlighting
n'est-ce pas = isn't it?


Lemon tree
Woman may do funny things as they age, like consider frog spit serum, but men wear funny things. Here's my husband's get up: unlaced steel-toe boots, pajama pants, a Harley Davidson jacket, a puffy-fronted baseball cap. But who am I to pick at him, when he's helping build this garden! Welcome, New Lemon Tree. We love you!

A row of leafy fava beans cheerily welcomes the new lemon tree. "Bienvenue!"

Anything that can't be eaten will soon leave this bed (bye-bye euphorbia. You are pretty, but carrots are pretty and delicious!)

See you in a week, with more photos and stories. Thank you so much for reading. Speaking of reading, I recently saw this book at Amazon. Looks like a good one! It's available on Kindle, click here.

"Finally a great book on what the Parisians are like and why"

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety