Cinquante: Jean-Marc's birthday and special guests
Metal, Bois, Fer - Meet my Belle-soeur! + Bilingual side-by-side text (new!)

In the face of bankruptcy : A creative solution to "resserrer les cordons de la bourse"

Phare Barbershop Dog La Ciotat France
A controversial "Salon Mixte" in our area.  Photo (c) Le Phare Barber Shop

TODAY'S WORD : resserrer

    : to close, to tighten, to strengthen

resserrer les cordons de la bourse = to spend less, to tighten the purse strings

Hear it. Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following French sentence

Notre ville resserre les cordons de la bourse.
Our town is tightening its purse strings.

Easy French Step-by-StepEasy French is a bestseller, recommended by readers. Order a copy
And in today's story, more about Frexit and why the French--and man's best friend--will be well-coiffed by the time France leaves the EU.


by Kristi Espinasse

Will France leave the EU? It's a question many of us are asking. George Soros predicted it will happen. Frexit or no Frexit, the current economy has forced some French commerçants to come up with creative ways to keep their doors open and not shuttered and padlocked. But when the pet groomer went bankrupt and our local hair salon began catering to dogs--tongues started wagging!

Not everyone was happy about sharing shears with a sheepdog or having their hair highlighted beside a hound....

dogs in truck bed hound chihuahua, bulldog, jack russell, mexico, leashes tents
Outside our newly "mixed" hair salon, a motley crew awaits crew cuts! These four-legged clients must wait in the parking lot because a two-legged client was unwilling to sit beside a slobbering 4-legged client!
As expected, some French citizens formed "La Résistance" by opening illegal shops in their own homes. This trio (including our son Max and his grand-mère Jules) operate out of our kitchen and call themselves "The Bootlegged Barbers." Here, with the help of an electric "tondeuse à cheveux," they are assisting a young man who was shocked to find his chair at his barber's was now occupied by a 4-legger (scroll back to photo at the beginning of this post....) 

Because our family is dog friendly (we’ve shared our lives with two golden retrievers), we were not bothered by this unique--if not exactly cut-and-dry-- arrangement at our hair-cutter's. Just this morning, as I sat with a head full of tinfoil (a technique used to lighten one’s locks), the clients to my right, a couple of Hungarian Pulis, began scratching. 

"It’s the curl relaxer,” my hairdresser explained. “Time to rinse!”

Rasta fur Hungarian puli dog
Last time these two showed up at our salon they used up ALL the shampoo. The rest of us had to get by with a smelly (if hip and trendy) vinegar/baking soda lather!

I watched as the Rasta dogs trotted over to the sink, and jumped up onto the chair beside it—that's when the white-haired woman in the next seat grumbled.

“This is a salon – not a toiletteur!  

Calme-toi, Maman,” the hairdresser said, “times have changed since you ran the business. We now live in an equal opportunity society."

The hairdresser reasoned with her elderly mother: “You think you’re shocked about our furry clients. Think how upset she must have been (my hairdresser paused from lathering her mother's white hair) "...arriving in France where men and women share the public restrooms!"

I was amazed my hairdresser had read my story in our town's gazette, in a section in the back which profiles locals. Last week I wrote about the culture shock I'd gone through when moving to France. I shared the first time I walked into a unisex restroom--right past a classmate at a urinoir! This was in Lille, France, at a high school which had just welcomed our exchange program from Tempe, Arizona.)

So this is what it must feel like for my hairdresser's mother, a traditional French woman, to share her comb with a canine. I offered a sympathetic look and shared some advice that helped me all those years ago, back at the open urinal. “Il faut simplement fermer les yeux!” Just close your eyes!

And what was our surprise when every furry client in the shop closed theirs. 

As our village doyens and our village dogs learn mutual tolerance at our new and controversial "Salon Mixte," I will close this edition by sharing three facts: this was posted at midnight here in France, on est le premier avril, et c'est un poisson d'avril. Do not be fooled if you click here again.

Teckle dog
Un teckel à poil dur et sa maîtresse- patiently waiting their turns chez le coiffure? At what point in today's story did you know this was "une blague"? Let me know in the comments at the end of this post.


un commerçant = store keeper
toiletteur pour chien = dog groomer
une tondeuse à cheveux = hair clipper, hair cutter, trimmer
calme-toi = calm down
un urinoir = urinal
Il faut simplement fermer les yeux! = Just close your eyes!
un teckel à poil dur = a wire-haired dachshund
la maîtresse = mistress
une blague = joke
c'est un poisson d'avril = it's an April Fools' joke
on est le premier avril = it's April Fools' Day
chez le coiffeur = at the hairdresser's

Writing in paris
April 1st presents a rare challenge to write fiction! 
Last year's post made some readers angry enough to sign off!. The year before, and in 2013, readers simply felt sorry for me and my strange penance at the Paris Catacombs! (pictured: a rare chance I had to write in Paris, when my daughter had an internship there in 2015.)

Dog rainbow
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Le salon shopfront France Brignoles haircut beauty parlor April Fools shampoo shampooing coupe balayage hair highlights

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