What French Women Know
About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind
By Debra Ollivier
(Putnam Adult, Hardcover, 9780399155628, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 3, 2009
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A primer on the ineffable, je ne sais quoi appeal of the French woman.
I t?s not the shoes, the scarves, or the lipstick that gives French women their allure. It?s this: French women don?t give a damn. They don?t expect men to understand them. They don?t care about being liked or being like everyone else. They generally reject notions of packaged beauty. They accept the passage of time, celebrate the immediacy of pleasure, like to break rules, embrace ambiguity and imperfection, and prefer having a life to making a living. They are, in other words, completely unlike us.
Ollivier goes beyond familiar ooh-la-la stereotypes about French women, challenging cherished notions about sex, love, dating, marriage, motherhood, raising children, body politics, seduction, and flirtation. Less a how-to and more a how-not-to, What French Women Know offers a refreshing counterpoint to the stale love dogma of our times. Peppered with anecdotes from its Franco-American author and filled with provocative ideas from French sexperts, mistresses and maidens alike, it debunks longstanding myths, presenting savvy new thinking from an old sexy culture and more realistic, life-affirming alternatives from the land that knows how to love.
- In France, French girls do not pick flowers and ponder love with “He loves me, he loves me not;” rather they say “He loves me a little. A lot. Passionately. Madly. Not at all.” Ollivier uses this as a metaphor throughout the book to illustrate how French women are groomed to think not in terms of absolute love or total rejection, but in nuances, degrees of passion, possibilities, and shades of gray. How has our tendency to be binary about love (He loves me, he loves me not) influenced our relationships? How might this mindset conspire against freedom and the ability to enjoy men, with or without closure? How would you be different if you grew up looking at love not in black-and-white, but in shades of gray?
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org