On Being Beautiful, In Any City
by Brigitte Weil
There’s something that happens to me every time I’m in Paris.
Maybe it’s because I’m a veteran people watcher in a great people watching city. Maybe it’s because I’m a Matchmaker and I’m looking for love for all of you. Maybe it’s because I’m obsessed with how men and women define beauty and attractiveness which ultimately dictates their preferences and desires. (Read this last line again, it’s important).
I grew up spending summers up until I was 25 with my French grandmother in Paris. As I went through my 30s and 40s, my summers with my her became shorter due to the realities of work, marriage, motherhood, and other real-life commitments. And post-divorce, my special summer time with her had become even more limited.
I recently traveled to Paris this week with the express purpose of spending five solid days with my grandmother who just turned 104.
From the time I was able to sit up by myself, our summer mornings started with her in front of her huge vanity with three mirrors from where she began her morning routine: it started with her careful placement of eye liner and lipstick and assorted powders, followed by jewelry and then coordinated clothing where shoes always matched a color in her blouse or her skirt. This daily morning routine was a big process, one she did with patience and pleasure, while I studied her from my small cushioned stool next to hers.
And there was always perfume. And lastly, a scarf, tied differently each day.
She did this every day, whether we had elegant lunch reservations, a picnic at a park planned or a day filled with mundane errands.
She did it as a young bride, a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother. It was never about pleasing anyone, other than herself.
Every time I come to Paris, I invariably fall into a mini-version of her routine. I take time to dress, look in the mirror, I pull out make up that I pull out from the very bottom of my beauty bag and I put more time and effort into this ceremony.
I do it because when I’m in Paris, and I look around, it seems like everyone else does it too, men and women alike.
They honor themselves because they know something that I seem to forget each time I leave Paris: taking this kind of care of ourselves makes us feel special, and beautiful, and we are more attractive to others as well, when we feel attractive ourselves. Because I spend hours coaching women to get ready to date, I’m keenly aware of the connection between dating and self-confidence.
It’s a radical difference to my NYC life, where I sometimes never make it out of my yoga pants until the evening or ever pull my hair into anything other than my messy bun.
Every time I come to Paris, I give myself this gift of time and ceremony, and every time I come to Paris, I feel beautiful.
What’s wrong with feeling extra pretty? Or girlish? Or creating some extra morning time to primp before stepping out?
Want to join me and my little experiment I’m vowing to continue when I get back to the city, to bring a little bit of this beautifying ceremony with me?
Let me know how it works out for you.
PS My Grandmother STILL does it, and she’s lived to 104 and still going…she’s gotta be doing something right.
Brigitte Weil is a Matchmaker, Dating Coach, Weight Loss Expert, and the founder of The I Hate Celery Sticks Strategy, a life-changing Coaching program that redefines old conventional views of dieting and promotes an approach designed for lasting success without crazy diets, silly gimmicks, or giving up the foods we love. Brigitte is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, a Paris-trainer pastry chef, a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, and remains committed to developing private and group Coaching programs that support her philosophy of balancing passion of food, fitness and falling in love to create the lives we desire.