Author Frith Powell writes in her book, Two Lipsticks and a Lover that French women are different from their American counterparts:
Unlike her neurotic American sisters, a French bachelorette would never be caught dead mopping on the sofa, digging into a tub of Haagen-Das because some doofus didn’t call, and she never goes out looking as if she crawled out of a laundry hamper. (Liberte, Fraternite, Superiorite,” by James Wolcott, Vanity Fair, July 2013 pg. 48.)
Powell is right, of course. More than the Atlantic separates we women. In my callow youth, I remember traveling to Paris and feeling intimidated by shop girls wearing Gucci knock-offs while they stared with scorn at my pedal pushers. Though I’d met similar disdain for Americans in other European countries, I was hurt most by the French. After all, hadn’t they given us the Stature of Liberty? Hadn’t their philosophers articulated most of the precepts of freedom and justice codified in our Declaration of Independence?
But, like any American, I took comfort in the philosophy articulated by Joseph P Kennedy, a former British Ambassador and patriarch of the Kennedy clan. “Don’t get mad, get even.” And “get even” is what we Americans did. On the international list of the world’s best universities, for example, 14 of the top 20 are American. American have won more Nobel Prizes (338) — than France, Britain, Russia, Japan and Germany combined. We did it because we’re eclectic, admitting many points of view. Where else would a celebrity like Marilyn Monroe marry an intellectual like Arthur Miller?
My peevish recollections, however, shouldn’t be misunderstood. Like most Americans, I am in love with Europe, especially the French. We have Julia Child to blame for that I suppose. We love their wine, their food, their chic, their dark, depressing movies, and their unintelligible literature.
Tomorrow is the birthday of the United States of America and I want to invite the whole of Europe to celebrate with us. Take pride in our accomplishments, cousins, because we stole so many ideas from your great thinkers and made them our own. Happy birthday, France, England, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland, Hungary, Estonia, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Bulgaria. It’s your birthday, too. You are in us and we are in you.
(Courtesy of boomvisits.com)