Everyone knows that French girls have it all figured out: Perfectly tousled hair, the secret to no-make-up make up, and a certain je ne sais quoi that can even make getting through a global pandemic look cool. If you mistakenly thought that just surviving this whole thing was cool enough, don’t worry, there’s still time to correct your unfortunate Americanness. Just follow these simple steps and you too can quarantine like a French girl.
Ease Gently Into Your Day
As you wake to yet another morning of Skype calls and Zoom meetings, each completely indistinguishable from the last, don’t rush into the monotony of your semi-structureless day. The French girl understands the importance of easing into her day slowly, often sitting down to sip an espresso and watch the world go by, which is convenient because physically going out into the world is basically illegal right now. As you slowly savor your morning, don’t spend your time wondering when you’ll be able to leave the house again like a boring American. Instead, wonder about which of your three lovers (Jacques, Claude, or Pierre?) you’ll kiss first when it finally happens. Probably whichever one demonstrated the highest level of viral immunity!
You might be thinking it’s a little hard to act nonchalant in uncertain times like these, but the true French girl is always allusive, even in the face of a global health crisis. She’s not just social distancing because it’s mandatory, she’s mysterious and aloof! Try your best to project this blasé attitude during your limited time out in public, even if you hear a distant cough or sneeze and find yourself forced to suddenly sprint to safety. Remember: always sprint indifferently.
Take Pleasure In Eating
The French girl knows how to have her baked-from-scratch cake (because, yes, even she is baking now) and eat it too. But how exactly does she eat all that freshly baked quarantine bread and still maintain her adorable Amélie-esque figure? Before social distancing, she would’ve just ridden her bicycle by the Seine with a baguette tucked under each arm until she could no longer feel her limbs or the sensation of hunger. Ah, pleasure! In quarantine, she just practices moderation instead, and so can you. Go ahead and enjoy your stockpile of homemade bread, microwavable Chef Boyardee, and canned beans you haven’t the slightest idea how to make edible, just make sure to stop eating before you realize that what you’re really craving is human companionship. You might be surprised by how full and empty you can feel at the same time.
Celebrate Your Body
Let go of your American hang-ups and embrace your body like a French girl does. Who cares if you’re not in perfect shape or your immune system has never been exposed to certain foreign pathogens making your body more susceptible to infection? The French girl knows you have to celebrate the body you have, not the fully-vaccinated body you fantasize about. Show your body you care by giving it the extra attention it deserves in these stressful times. Could it use some extra rest? Was that a normal fluctuation in body temperature you felt earlier? Does your throat actually feel a little bit scratchy now that you’re thinking about it?
Invest In High-Quality Basics
For the French girl, life is a 24/7 runway, and the fashion show doesn’t stop for a viral outbreak. She builds her wardrobe by investing in fewer, high-quality basics and forgoing trends. So, when you’re online shopping in an attempt to retail therapy yourself out of a full-blown panic, look for pieces that will last a lifetime (however long that lifetime happens to be). To capture the French girl’s natural elegance, try pairing a well-tailored blazer with your favorite, unwashed, third-day-in-a-row sweatpants for an instantly elevated, casual-chic look. Or, work some Breton stripes into your repertoire, as this classic pattern will help camouflage the fact that you gave up on wearing a bra weeks ago.
Look Your Best
The French girl knows that she should always look her best, even in a crisis, and while clothing is part of that equation, it really starts with her beauty routine. Forget stocking up on hydrogen peroxide and hand sanitizer, make sure you have enough micellar water and moisturizing eye cream to keep yourself from transforming into a shriveled American plague witch. And for heaven’s sake, swipe on some red lipstick before donning your face mask and heading to the store for more canned beans. This is a potential apocalypse, not Lilith Fair.
Simplify Your Life
The French girl is an expert at enjoying the simple things in life, and a shelter-in-place order is a great time to think about how you can enjoy your life more by simplifying it. For example, do you really need all those clothes in your closet? Do you need your furniture, a job, a place to live, your friends and family? The French girl doesn’t! She has the simple things to feed her soul, like expensive hand-rolled cigarettes in exotic looking packaging, a two-ounce bottle of perfume made from the rare digestive mucus of whales, and an inherited collection of vintage Chanel handbags from grandmama.
She also has something that should be simple for everyone to get: access to universal healthcare (which, come to think of it, might have something to do with her glowing health, natural beauty, and carefree attitude). But, that’s where we draw the line on being like the French girl for this pandemic. When it comes to having access to affordable healthcare, there’s absolutely no way to avoid being very, very American.