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.
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:
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
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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