Disco Fever: A Funny Way to View The Flu
Guess Who Moved to Lyon? + A useful computer term in French

Coqueluche: My teen heartthrob & 70s fashion through a French girl's eyes

An ancient hair-salon-turned-fashion boutique in Paris where you can buy a glittery 70s ensemble and more. Don't miss the sound file, near the end, with all the French vocabulary from this edition.

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TODAY'S WORD: la coqueluche

    : heart-throb, pin-up, idol
    : whooping cough

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

"Mom, do you know the BeeGees?" My daughter called out as I was emptying le lave-vaisselle.

Jackie's statement was more of a memory jog than a question, for who doesn't know the BeeGees? Au fait, how did my youngest know of the Anglo-Australian trio?

"There's a song I can't stop playing. It's actually une reprise, but it led me to the original artists and I love them!" With that, Jackie launched YouTube on our living room's big screen. When next I glimpsed Barry Gibb glowing like Jesus, my conscience spent 30 seconds trying to disassociate the doppelgängers.

Finally, I abandoned the half-emptied dishwasher and landed on the couch--to settle into an evening screening of 70s glam rock. 

Even more than our BeeGees video spree, I enjoyed the fresh commentary of a 25-year-old French girl, ma fille, viewing clips from the culture in which I grew up. After How Deep is Your Love (my daughter's favorite) and Staying Alive I asked Jackie to find an Andy Gibb clip. "He was the youngest brother--a teenage heartthrob and my first star crush!

La Coqueluche--The Heartthrob
A moment later I Just Want to be Your Everything came on the screen, sending me back to the days when I would buy TeenSomething magazine for the foldout wall poster of Andy. I also had his first album, on vinyl bien sûr, and a satin jacket/shorts combo my stepmother offered me before escorting 11-year-old me and my similarly-clad stepsister to an Andy Gibb concert! To this day that satin ensemble = my favorite outfit of all time (funnily, I can't remember the concert. Maybe it was all a dream?). 

While watching a repertoire of 70s glam rock music videos, including ABBA, Jackie sighed, "They dressed so elegantly back then." Funny. To me 70s fashion was kind of ugly. Now, on a closer look, I can see my daughter's point of view: for one, clothes were tailored, which got me thinking....

"1997...You were born on the tail-end of 90s grunge,” I informed my youngest.

"What was that?"

"The sloppy look."

"Oh...." Jackie's voice trailed off until... "I don't think I was born in the right decade. I'd like to have been born in the 50s--and then I would have been of age in the 70s," Jackie mused, visions of 70's chic dancing in her head. I remembered my mom, dressed in long-sleeved silk blouses, tight velvet slacks, and a fitted blazer. Her pants tucked into her boots, Jules could have walked right out of the picture frame image from yesteryear, and onto the streets of Paris this winter. Certain styles are intemporel

If only my memory was timeless. I think in the previous paragraph I confused the end of the 70s with the early 80s. (Mom, just when were you wearing those velvet pants?) Peu importe! Last night's trip down memory lane was the chance to share my girlhood with my daughter's. Even if she is now over a decade older than I was back then, born in another time and place. And to think this modern-day French girl shares the same passions as I did then... including Andy Gibb. "Il n'est pas mal du tout! He is not bad at all!" Jackie agrees.


That satin jacket many of Andy’s fans sported

Post note: Funnily, the only thing Jackie didn’t like is Andy’s hirsute chest. Young guys these days (only young men and only in France?) wax their torsos. But in researching for today’s post, I learned the trend is changing: body hair is back in style. 

In the comments, it would be fun to learn who your heartthrob/idol/pin-up or coqueluche was back in the day. Also, do you have a favorite outfit of all time? Take a jog down memory lane and share your thoughts in the comments. Merci!


Audio File: To listen to the list below, click here:

Click here for the bilingual sound file

le lave-vaisselle = dishwasher
au fait = incidentally, by the way
une reprise = remake
la fille = daughter
la coqueluche = idol, heartthrob 
bien sûr = of course
intemporel = timeless, eternal 
peu importe = no matter

Jackie in Paris 2022
My daughter Jackie in Paris. She was wearing her running pants that day but would have swapped them in an instant for her grandmother Jules's velvet ones. Have time for another story? Don't miss "La Frousse" (Fright) --a mother-daughter story from 12 years ago.

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So I had to laugh out loud several times with this post, relating to your comments about 70's clothing, and Andy Gibb's chest! Ha. :) Ma coqueluche (I didn't know this word) was Davy from the Monkees and Tom Cruise from Top Gun. I so remember those pin-up posters from those teenmagazines, that all of my friends had pasted on their bedroom walls. But I can't remember really a favorite outfit. Thank you for a fun reading (as always) and a jump back into time.

Carole Handel

Loved this post Kristi. I saw Andy Gibb in concert opening for my heart throbs, the Bay City Rollers. Such a shame about Andy.
Other heart throbs were Davy Jones when I was 7! Then David Essex, Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett. Lots of satin! Thank you for the trip down memory lane.


How lovely it is when our children appreciate the music we grew up with and who wouldn't fall in love with BeeGees harmonies and Andy Gibb? I also fondly recall David Cassidy and Leif Garrett! Funny how fashion comes around again - I never thought we'd see flares again but what do I know! But I'm dead certain 80s shoulder pads will not come back ;)


I loved the Bee Gees! All of their music and imagine that music loud and booming in a disco. My favorite pin up poster when I was 16 was the one of the Romeo & Juliet movie where they are 'almost' kissing. Dreamy. I was a true 70's teen back then, long hair & bell bottoms.

Karen in NY

A decade before... the Beatles, especially Paul. I did try a scream once. Yeah, no. No one outfit but anything by Peter Max. I'm not sure who broke my heart more, Andy or Karen Carpenter. I wish the fame machine treated wonderfully talented people with gentler hands.
The same word for heart-throb and whooping cough? Love it.> And just when I should have known better, there was Tom Selleck with the shorts...


My heart throbs were The Partridge Family with David Cassidy then it was Tom Jones. I bought their 45's and LP's with my allowance.
My favorite ensemble was when I was oh 11 or 12 was a cotton like broadcloth fabric short sleeve, crew neck blouse that was cropped above the waist with big white buttons in the back. It was lime green with BIG white polka dots and I wore it with white wide leg cotton bell bottom hip hugger slacks. I had a matching shoulder bag, and wore white sandals with it. The slacks had a thin belt in the same lime green as the top. I LOVED that ensemble!

I could never wear a cropped top like again! 😂

Susie Hodgson

Your mom should have been a model. Her style was fantastic. Pure class your mom! She was one of the "it" girls where we grew up.

Rik Ekman

Just saw the ABBA Journey show in London. Wow. What a trip back in time—to 1978. Lots of glitter.


The 70’s in Miami…..I had long blond hair, was always tanned, wore bell bottom jeans and midriff tops and spent my weekends at either concerts or Disco clubs. What a sweet carefree time that was! Thanks for reminding me! And I still listen to the BeeGees!


I have always been grateful to my parents for having the good taste to conceive me in time for me to be a teenager in swinging London in the sixties -- the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the Kinks, Carnaby Street, Mary Quant, mini skirts, peace marches (a lot of good they did).

A few years back I went to an exhibit of Mary Quant clothing and a lot of it would still be wearable today if it were at least 18 inches longer! But some of the fashions, like white lipstick, that we thought so cool then, really were just as terrible as my mother said at the time!


Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this, but... Donny Osmond in the early '70s. I was 11 or 12, and my dad took me to a concert. Now from an adult's perspective, I see what a saint my dad was for doing that! 😇


My crush was Cliff Richard, a very popular English singer in the 60s. In those days, schools had desks with flip-up lids in your home classroom, and I had his photo taped to the inside of mine.

Beth Murphy

I think fashion does come back into style, with some changes. It seems to me that it is a 50 year cycle before the styles return. Loved today’s story. Jackie has good taste!


You both should watch the Woody Allen movie "Midnight in Paris." It's about this sort of nostalgia. The main character visits Paris longing for the way it was in the 1920s. Then he gets swept into that life only to meet a woman who longs for what SHE sees as the real time of elegance and greatness, la Belle Epoch. So it's really about longing for the past you didn't get to live in, and by extension, longing for the life you're not living, whatever that may be. I'm not a Woody Allen fan in general, but this movie is great.


RICK SPRINGFIELD! My mom even went with me to one of his concerts. Lots and lots of screaming. Thank you for this lovely post. Music brings back so many forgotten memories.


Being much older, I was on to more serious things when Andy Gibb and the like were performing. My coqueluche was the Mouseketeer Annette Funicello.

Ginny Bear

I wasn't a Bee Gees fan back in the day, but I "fell into" the Bee Gees musical world about six months ago. I discovered wonderful songs I'd never heard, this one is my favorite, a great performance of a very young Robin Gibb: I Can't See Nobody https://youtu.be/cOSiXc6_9t4. I wonder if it would appeal to you or your daughter- or any of this French-Word-A-Day group?!

Tami Dever

I loved Tom Selleck as Magnum! Had his poster on my door. He was FAR to old for me, too. Weird crush. I also wanted the Ferrari and the "lads" (dogs).

Tami Dever

My first celebrity crush was Shaun Cassidy—and I still have his albums. :) In high school I moved on to Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, and Corey Hart. I had quite a few favorite outfits (and still have some of those, too), but one was from Express. It was tight, black, cropped jeans leggings and a long silky black and green ethnic print shirt. I've searched all over to find that shirt, as I want to buy it again!

Jackie would've had a blast at the ’70s gala we recently attended. The outfits and hair were spectacular!


Hi, Kristi, I am a decade ahead of you so The Beatles were my heartthrob. I loved all of them and their heads of hair! I completely understand your and Jackie's love of vintage fashion. I still have a couple of my mother's beautifully styled and finely made coats with the designer labels or labels of high mark stores like I. Magnin or Neiman Marcus, etc. She and my grandmother did not dress up a lot, but each had a couple of really stunning and timeless coats. I still wear them to classical music concerts. My paternal grandmother doted on her three granddaughters and knitted each of us Mohair sweaters which were fashionable then. She also sewed Christmas and Easter outfits for us that were finely detailed. In particular I remember a green wool A-line dress whose lace collar and cuffs she died in tea to create an ecru color. She also made me an empire style wine-colored velvet dress with wine-colored tiny ruffled lace at the collar and cuffs for one winter holiday season. My paternal grandmother was a farm girl who made everything without a set of instructions, a YouTube video, and a support group. She was amazing! Merci pour l'espace dansquel je peux faire l'honneur à mes mémoires d'elle.

SusanIrene b

One of my memorable outfits was wide-wale purple corduroy bell bottoms that I wore with a turtleneck sweater and a fur vest I fashioned from my Mother's fox furs from the 40s. I have fond memories of meeting the Rolling Stones in the early 60s on their first visit to the US when very few knew who they were. I'm a little cool to my grandchildren because I have my high school yearbook and many other objects signed by the Stones. My friends and I would get them to sign things that we would send to our English pen pals who couldn't get near them in the UK. Just wish we'd had phones with cameras then. Thanks for bringing backgreat memories.

Jimm Hughey

Bien Sur! Love this! I was raised in the 50s and have been through all music generations since the 40s. I, too, loved the BG's. One of my favorites, however, was the duet with Barbra Streisand, "GUILTY." I am so glad you were able to share this with your daughter. Music is a universal antidote so often. Continue to enjoy and LOVE your family as you do. Our world needs this and you. Jimm

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

From the mid 60’s to this day, my favorite singer is Neil Diamond. We have traveled all over to see him in concert. He signed a poster for us in 1972 which we had mounted and it is still hanging on our wall. Favorite actor? Paul Newman. Classy and classic.
Living in France for five years during my teenage years in the 60’s, I came to love many singers. Adamo (Salvatore Adamo) has been my favorite. Watched him perform at the Olympia. Got his autograph when friends and I passed him coming out of his hotel on Rue Marbeuf in Paris.. The very first song I heard in France in 1962 was by Francoise Hardy, Tous Les Garçons et Les Filles. I was mesmerized by French popular music. I saw the Beatles at the Palais des Sports in Paris, June 1965. Such a thrill! To this day, Adamo and Francoise Hardy transport me back in time to a magical place. Although I am aging over the years with my favorite singers, their music plays in my memories then and in my heart today.
I remember Bonnie and Clyde outfits were popular in the 60’s in Paris after the movie came out. They adorned the store windows on the Champs-Elysées. Favorite outfit from the 70’s…Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress. I actually made my own. Easy to sew and comfortable to wear!
You are so good at pulling memories from your readers with universal themes. Seems everyone can relate!


"Midnight in Paris" is on my list of all-time favorite movies! I've watched it dozens of times over the years. Just might watch it tonight:)

Laura Robbins

Hi Chris
I don't know where you live but if you get the chance to be in NYC you should see A Beautiful Noise on Broadway. Will Swenson does a fabulous job portraying Neil Diamond. SUCH FUN - everyone up singing and dancing.
Laura, from New York

Karen in NY

He was fine, wasn't he?

Chris Allin

Thank you, Laura, for the wonderful comment about Beautiful Noise. I have known about it and would love to see it. Unfortunately we live in the Midwest and traveling is out for us. I did see that Neil Diamond was able to be at the opening. Must have been so exciting for everyone. Thanks for making me smile!


Love your posts..................they are always thought-provoking.......


On it! Tonight is going to be "Midnight in Paris" --- great movie!

Lindsey OConnor

"When next I glimpsed Barry Gibb glowing like Jesus, my conscience spent 30 seconds trying to disassociate the doppelgängers."
Omg that's so funny. And true!

Andy Gibb, forgot about him. And these other comments. David Cassidy; that was the first time I owned headphones (I'm an audio producer now) and I remember sitting in a recliner with his album (yes, vinyl) playing, looking at his face on the cover, headphones piping "I think I love you." And don't even get me started about Tom Selleck. I was in Hawaii for the summer, 19 years old and he was already Magnum. My girlfriend and I swam around the jetty to access the private Waikiki Yacht club I think, where he was a member. We're sitting on our towels hoping for a sighting and he comes out of the water like Poseidan. He walked right by us and smiled, his deep tan and white teeth, and said, "Hi girls." All these decades later I remember it vividly.

Meg N.

What a sweet evening for you and Jackie. Someone mentioned Donny Osmond, which jogged my memory for when I was eleven or twelve. My best remembered outfit of the time was a burgundy crushed velvet pair of overalls. They were lovely. By high school I liked The Moody Blues, but was truly more interested in reading than anything else. I'm going to have a look for Midnight in Paris, sounds intriguing.


Yes, Midnight in Paris is brilliant. Teresa does a great job of explaining its messsage.

Suzanne Dunaway

LOVE hairy chests. These slick guys probably slid out of bed too often...

Anne M Crawford

I saw a tv program about the Bee Gees and their mother said she had 2 sets of twins: Robin and Maurice (who were real twins) and Barry and Andy, her eldest and youngest, but they were so alike, in looks and personalities, apparently, that they were more like twins.
I often wondered if he had joined his brothers as a Bee Gee later, how he would have developed. I loved "I just want to be your everything" and "Our Love (Don't Throw it all Away). HE had a daughter but I don't think she became a singer. RIP Andy.

Suzanne in NJ

Crush? Paul McCarney! Outfit? Navy blue pea coat and bell bottom jeans!

Julie Farrar

Yes, Barry Gibb glowing like Jesus!

Karla Ober

Oh, yes! Tom Selleck, Donny Osmond, Paul McCartney, Jim Morrison, Barry Gibb, Elvis, . . . I'm there!


Wow--I feel really old. Growing up in the 50s, my heartthrob was Ricky Nelson.

Lawrence Mason

Same here. Definite heartthrob.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Larry and Gary, for chiming in! :-)


Yes - Ricky Nelson was so cute and James Garner aka Maverick was a total crush.


My heartthrob was Paul McCartney. When the film Help! was released I was a Navy brat living in Japan. My best friend and I watched it repeatedly. For a school ski trip we had jackets made exactly like the ones Paul and George, her heartthrob, wore in the film. Still one of my all time favorites.

Leslie NYC

Oh, gosh.
First crush, Davy Jones.
Then Paul McCartney
Michael Jackson
Tom Jones
David Cassidy
The music of the BeeGees, which was swoon-worthy but not the guys(yuck)
I didn't like 70's fashion. I didn't like punk, even though I've lived in the East Village since 1982.
Midnight in Paris syndrome : definitely.

Jennie Jordan

My coqueluche: Evil Kneevil. Well, not so much Evil, but his motorcycle!! I had his poster slapped on top of my mother's sparkly butterfly wallpaper in my tiny bedroom. I could hear the engine in my mind and actually asked my best friend's brother, Bruce, for a lesson. As Bruce watched helplessly, I drove his Yamaha right through the neighbor's fence! Evil Kneevil just represented wild freedom to me!!

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