How to be French part 2

My reactions to the book by Alex Quick

Attitudes:

  1. Don’t talk about money: it’s tacky – I couldn’t agree more. The French would rather talk about sex, and so would I. The truest values in life are personal, philosophical and cultural. Absolutely!
  2. Pour scorn on everything – Well, I rally against negativity and bubble bursting, so I don’t think I can ever be on board with this one. Though the reason behind the scorn being respect or care for you gives me pause.
  3. Bash France – The French pride themselves in scorn of their own land, but only among themselves. So we are unlikely to be accepted into this private endeavour.
  4. Be enormously arrogant – The French know they are the best but still strive for perfection, hence the grumbling. I see myself as quite an arrogant person, particularly in my late teens, more justifiably so these days, and I too have extremely high standards for myself but also everything and everyone else.
  5. Be pragmatic – Expect the worst and prepare for it, or mitigate inevitable suffering. I wouldn’t usually agree, but with this move we are basically future-proofing ourselves for the apocalypse.
  6. Reject the bourgeois institution of marriage – What does the Athens of the State have to do with the Jerusalem of the Heart? Quite right. There is nothing you couldn’t have without marriage that marriage would offer you. You could have a romantic, meeaningful and memorable ceremony with vows that you renew every ten years in your own back garden without it being legally recognised. My only uestion for yself is would one then feel quite as married as I do now?
  7. Espouse laicite – Religion and money are private. Suits Ben and I as atheists, and I am positively thrilled about the implication it has for prayer in school. The relief!
  8. Be serious about privacy – French privacy laws are strict, so to be safe I will try to remember not to take pictures of anyone other than my own family, ever.
  9. Disparage the regions – I already feel fiercely protective and proud of the Ariege. This has included me scoffing at the Aude and Languedoc, and feeling I am betraying a precious secret by even uttering the word Ariege.
  10. Worship intellectuals – The role of the intellectual is to examine and question current dogmas and to demolish simplistic thinking. This sentence is heaven to me, and this may be my MOST favourite thing about being French.
  11. Be a sexist pig – Ben is a bigger feminist than I am, so this one is not going to happen. But Mediterranean attitudes towards women have never offended me. They worship beauty and feminity and motherhood in a way that has always made me feel appreciated.

~J

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