19 May 2014

"I got 99 problems but you won't be one of them" and Paris, je t'aime

Hold the phone! Contrary to my nagging doubts that I'd remain unemployed forever, I've somehow managed to secure a job. And not just any job - a job in beauty PR, of all things. Thank sweet baby Jesus and all those people who supported me, encouraged me to keep applying and reassured me that I wasn't a loser reject every time I was rejected (which was a lot, both the reassurance and the rejections). Phew. It means I can stay in London and buy myself a few more bottles of wine than I can afford now... At least calling off the job search is one less problem to deal with.

The news couldn't have come at a better time, as the following day I had my city break to Paris with a close university friend. God, I loved Paris. Even in the wind, rain and cold, the city was outstandingly beautiful. I'm a lover of admiring beautiful things, which might sound a bit weird, but when I see something that I find aesthetically pleasing, it makes me giddily happy. And that's how I felt, wandering down the Seine and exploring Monmartre and staring up, absolutely gobsmacked, at the Sacre Coeur.

After blitzing all the typical touristy attractions - you name it, we probably did it - we were both ridiculously excited to experience a Parisian caberet. So many people, including my parents, had recommended we go. They are pretty pricey, but we managed to get tickets for €42.50 due to the fact we're under 26, and that included seats at the bar and a glass of champagne during the show (the barmen gave us a second, I think they felt sorry for us!) and it was SO SO WORTH IT. Oh my word.

Before I went I was a little apprehensive. The show we were going to - The Crazy Horse - had been reviewed as especially risqué, with loads of emphasis on how little the women wore. I was worried I'd go and feel a bit uncomfortable, thinking the girls were forced to dress in that way for money rather than out of choice. We were seeing a live porno - albeit classed up for public consumption - after all. Right?

Wrong. These girls were amazing. Uh-maze-ing. Watching them was so liberating and brilliant, and my friend and I often found ourselves turning to each other and saying "Oh my god, they are so cool!"

The show was split into different sketches and dance routines, some more serious than others. Some incorporated the entire cast, and some girls had a "solo". Most sketches were absolutely barmy. There was a reoccurring sketch with a French maid who kept getting more and more drunk, hiccuping and tickling the audience with her feather duster. There was also a weird UFO scene where two girls ended up kissing (the sensuality was lost on us, I'm afraid). At first we thought, oh my god, what on earth have we stumbled into?! But as the show went on, we just got more and more into it. 

The fact the girls were topless (and often sans-knickers, with only tape covering their modesty) was empowering, not demeaning. They absolutely owned their bodies and everything they did was classy, elegant, and sexy as anything. It was also apparent that the girls loved what they did, and loved the reaction they received from the audience. The girls weren't to be sympathised with (as I ignorantly believed beforehand) but admired. I mean, Jesus, there was no hiding their bodies. No spanx, no push-up bras... Just kick-ass wigs and staggeringly high heels. Who wouldn't want to be that body confident? 

In the context of Paris, it was perfect. I just don't think England could carry off caberet in quite the same way... We somehow manage to make everything sleazy here. Such a shame.

I also strongly recommend doing AirBnB if you go to Paris. Staying just down the road from the Sacre Coeur was fantastic, and it was so nice to have an apartment to come back to for some recuperative cheese, cake and red wine after a hard day trekking up and down in the Metro (can someone please explain why there are so many STAIRS in Paris? They almost killed me). If we'd had a hotel room, we would have felt more obliged to be on the go 24/7, but an apartment meant we could dock the iPod, blast some tunes and potter around tea and coffee as if we were Monmartre locals (I wish).


Coming back from Paris was a bit of reality check, and I've realised how much I missed being around friends. I've gotten used to being by myself a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean I enjoy it, or that it's a good thing. So I'm making more of an effort to see them, even if sometimes I find it difficult. And recently they have been especially important. I'm pretty lucky to have the friends I do, to be honest. But what's also come out of it is that I want to live in a more sociable place, or possibly with friends - so the flat search is back on!

à bientôt :)

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