petite anglaise

June 23, 2008

ring finger

Filed under: knot tying — petiteanglaise @ 10:51 am
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When I was pregnant with Tadpole, I developed a heightened sense of awareness of other pregnant women. Suddenly they seemed to be everywhere I looked. I suspected that, in reality, they’d been there all along. My radar simply hadn’t been picking them up.

Sure enough, soon after Tadpole was born, my blinkers went back on and I was probably as guilty as the next métro passenger of failing to pull my nose out of my newspaper and stumble to my feet to give up my seat when an expectant mother joined the carriage.

Since my wedding day, I’ve developed a new obsession. Whether I’m sitting outside a café watching the world stroll by, doing my grocery shopping at Franprix or dropping off Tadpole at school, my eyes are irresistibly drawn to the fourth finger of everyone’s left hand, curious to see how many people around me are wearing a wedding ring.

‘Is it noticeable?’ I ask Meg as we drain the last dregs of our beers outside Aux Folies one evening. ‘I’m hyper aware of it right now… I think it’s because I’m not used to wearing a ring on that particular finger.’

At that moment the proprietor sidles up behind us. ‘Are you ladies leaving?’ he says, looking disappointed at the prospect. ‘Because if you’re staying, I was about to offer you a free round…’ Never one to turn down free drinks, we order the same again, smiling sweetly at our benefactor.

When I remark upon the fact that I’ve never had free drinks at this particular bar before, Meg grins widely and points at my décolleté. My favourite item of clothing so far this summer has been a short-sleeved, knee-length t-shirt dress with thin navy-blue and cream horizontal stripes. It has (what I think is called) a cowl neck, and this has relaxed somewhat with every successive wash, revealing a little more flesh each time I wear it. ‘You’ll notice,’ she adds, ‘that the barman has been lingering behind us every time he brings out someone’s drinks… I’d say he’s admiring the view.’

I hastily rearrange my dress, trapping a little material under my bra straps as insurance against a wardrobe malfunction. ‘Well, I don’t mind free drinks,’ I say, ‘but hopefully he’s noticed I’m wearing a ring and won’t attempt to chat me up…’

‘Honey, we live in France,’ Meg says drily. ‘Which means you’re still fair game, as far as French men are concerned. In this country, a wedding ring is like a red rag to a bull. Remember that French guy I dated who said his mother taught him it was his duty to sleep with as many married women as possible? She claimed they were those most in need of having their sex lives spicing up…’

Hiking my dress up a little further, I wonder if this is woefully inaccurate cultural stereotype, a scene from a Nancy Mitford novel or an accurate assessment of how French men regard marriage.

Now that I’m wearing a ring, I guess I’m about to find out firsthand.

June 17, 2008

petite americaine

Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaise @ 9:50 am

Today will see me running a few errands (too tedious to detail) and knuckling down to work on chapter 11 of book#2.

Meanwhile, Petite Anglaise will be busy leaning seductively against the Eiffel Tower in her birthday suit and killer heels in bookshops across the USA and Canada.

So far things are looking good. Petite got glowing advance reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, and has been selected as recommended summer reading by Scoop (WWD), Self (June issue), the books editor of US Glamour and NPR (Nine First Books that Make a Lasting Impression).

My first US interview will air on this week’s edition of The Book Show and my guest post on the Window Seat has just gone live.

But if it was hard for me to get my head around being published in the UK back in March, having my life on sale in bookshops across the Atlantic is even more surreal. I’m wondering whether seeing photographic evidence of Petite “in the wild” Stateside might help me to comprehend that this really is happening. To this end, I’m willing to personally mail a signed galley to the first ten readers who upload a candid shot of the book gracing the shelves of a US or Canadian bookstore to my facebook page.

And, um, don’t forget to buy it while you’re there…

June 11, 2008

the big day

Filed under: knot tying — petiteanglaise @ 11:31 am

I can’t think about my wedding day, or look at the photos I’ve received so far (and there are many, many more to come) without grinning like the Cheshire cat. But I’m not sure I can write about it in a coherent way, so I’m going to tear a leaf out of best woman Meg‘s book and turn the spotlight on a list of the moments which stand out the most in my mind, instead.

 

  • staggering to the front door at 8.30 am, strung out on hairspray, to take surprise delivery of a bouquet of bonbons, courtesy of my lovely agent;
  • arriving at the mairie and seeing Manuel’s face when I stepped gingerly out of the taxi, still a little wobbly on those heels;
  • observing with much amusement how his eyes kept returning, spellbound, to my cleavage (see photo 1 above);
  • clinging to Rhino75‘s arm as I climbed the staircase at the mairie (some of you will recall that he was, in part, responsible for our union);

 

  • watching Tadpole parade around the aisles of the salle des mariages while the ceremony was in full swing, proudly showing off her dress and my bouquet and totally stealing the show;
  • giggling up front with Manuel, both of us desperate to fast forward to the exchange of rings;
  • the moment when the master of ceremonies asked me what I wrote (my occupation being listed as ‘writer’ in the documents we signed) and then saying ‘ah, mais c’est vous qui écrivez sur le web?’;
  • being presented with the livret de famille and encouraged to go forth and procreate NINE times (nine being the number of blank pages waiting to be filled with the birth details of our offspring);
  • being presented with Tadpole’s ‘Mum Got Married’ picture during lunch;
  • watching a good friend – heart in my mouth – stand on a wheelie bin so that the baker could pass the two macaron pièces montées over the garden wall (the keys to the garden door having temporarily gone AWOL);

 

  • the moment at the party when we were summoned to the centre of the room and presented with a globe, signed by everyone present and with an arrow pointing from Paris to Bélize where a group of Manuel’s friends are sending us on our honeymoon;
  • the saucy gifts courtesy of Manuel’s work buddies, who somehow knew that I’d always wanted to test drive an anneau vibrant, the bashful look on the face of the colleague who had brought flowers but was too shy to approach me;
  • pulling out fifty thousand hairpins from my scalp to reveal a ponytail full of anglaises;
  • the way my skirt went horizontal when I twirled, revealing my wedding night undies to everyone present;
  • snuggling up under a duvet between Nico and Meg in a témoin “sandwich” at 8am;
  • going to sleep on an improvised lit de noces – a mattress in the middle of the main party room – surrounded by broken glass and empty champagne bottles, at 10 am, when the last guests had finally drifted away.

 

June 8, 2008

le mariage

Filed under: knot tying — petiteanglaise @ 9:51 pm

Dress: Moschino
Shoes: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Suit: Dior Homme
Hair and make up: Elisabeth Coiffure

update: more photos here.

June 6, 2008

going going going gone…

Filed under: knot tying — petiteanglaise @ 11:38 pm

I intended to post properly today. I really did. I had something deep and meaningful in mind. Something about what marriage actually means to me.

But I only just finished preparing our party venue (a very nice appartment in an hôtel particulier which looks fine now, but at 4pm, when the bachelor boys who live there had not yet removed their festering clothes and dog-eared possessions, looked anything but).

It’s been a long, long day, and the hairdresser from hell is coming to tame my hair into a chignon in approximately six hours time, using my scalp as a pincushion and asphyxiating me with several litres of Elnett hair spray.

Hopefully I will be able to prevent her from transforming me into a cast member of Priscilla Queen of the Desert when it comes to make-up time.

Watch this space…

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