Be chic! Drink wine! Eat cheese! The world is happy to give you advice on how to be French (this blog included), but you can’t pinpoint an entire country into a few sweeping generalizations.
In the real world, some French folks are dowdy and many choose to wear color over black. I even met a Frenchie who preferred beer to wine! Blasphème, non?
However, there are three things that all French people have in common whether they’re from the fields of Provence, the swanky coast of Nice, or the bustling city of Paris. These things are easy enough so that you too can join in and add a few French habits to your daily life.
Fill Your Glass Halfway
Prepare yourself for the easiest and fastest way to become French. Get a glass, fill it halfway, and, boom, you are now French. Extra points if the glass is small.
This may be (surprisingly) tough for Americans as we’re taught to grab the biggest vessel possible and fill it to the brim with whatever we’re drinking. However, this is how drinks are poured in France whether it’s water, beer, juice, or soda.
So far, I haven’t figured out the exact reason why the French seem to only drink from glasses that are half full. There is probably some optimist/pessimist metaphor hidden in this simple act, but it seems to be habit more than anything else.
Perfect Your Resting Duck Face
Though I’ve picked up a few French words here and there, pronunciation continues to be incredibly tough. New sounds, silent letters, and things that sound nothing like the way they are spelled (here’s looking at you French “r”).
Part of the trouble is that my English-speaking mouth isn’t trained for French. There are certain muscles and lip-pursing positions that are really hard to make!
It’s these mouth muscles we Americans lack that give French people what I call Resting Duck Face. They’re lips are slightly puckered and often rest just barely apart. It’s a look that adds an extra dose of sexiness and helps to make up the whole allure of the French.
Wipe Guilty Pleasure from Your Vocabulary
A while back Michael Pollan shared a study about global food attitudes. The survey asked people from different countries what came to mind when they heard the words “chocolate cake.” Americans most often replied with “guilt” while the French mainly said “celebration.”
Why are we Americans so adverse to pleasure? Perhaps it’s our Puritan roots or that we’ve started to believe what advertisers tell us about guilty pleasures.
Either way, let’s take a page from the French book of life and start enjoying the little things. Lose yourself in every morsel of that slice of chocolate cake. Delight in every minute of your romantic comedy marathons. If it makes you happy, who the heck cares?
Being French is a lot easier than it’s made out to be. Simply fill your glasses halfway, perfect the pucker of your lips (aka your Resting Duck Face), and enjoy your guilt-free chocolate cake.
Of course, I’m kidding here. Like many other cultures and people around the world, the French are a very nuanced people and they are more complicated than half-full glasses of water.
However, it is pretty fun to note the small cultural differences between the Americans and zee French. And if anyone figures out the “why” behind the glass thing please feel free to comment below and fill me in.