I have a confession to make: I don’t speak French.
I don’t have any plans to visit France. I am just impoverished enough, I realize I might never go to France.
But that didn’t stop me from picking up Parisienne French: Chic Phrases, Slang and Style at my local bookstore, no chérie!
It’s like a French phrasebook, except that it teaches the reader only the most useful of sentences — phrases like “Your ass looks great” and “I don’t understand art.” Having a heart-to-heart with a new French friend? Break the ice with Raconte-moi ta enfance (“Tell me about your childhood”).
Since discovering and purchasing this little book, I have become a monster. Ted can hear my lilting voice wafting from the bathroom, a siren’s song, as I practice my crass, crude French from my bubble bath: “How much is that blouse? Kiss me! Random curse word.”
The book will help you effortlessly order a beer, champagne, a shot, or even a kir. Parisienne French explains:
Kir is the French version of a wine cooler you’ll see everywhere. It’s cheap and good, so definitely worth a try. It’s typically white wine mixed with créme de cassis (black currant liqueur).
That’s edifying stuff!
The book itself is by professional fashionista Rhianna Jones, and it is a treasure. What’s more, this slim volume is a cultural ambassador of sorts, explaining the latest French trends to any contemporary Hepburn (Jones, in her author bio, describes herself as a “grittier” Holly Golightly).
And for those tourists who suffer from l’esprit d’escalier (okay, it turns out I do already know one French expression), there’s an entire section devoted to witty comebacks to bad pick-up lines.
So if you ever need to describe an “all-nighter” (nuits blanches) or ask for a cigarette — Passe-moi une clope — Parisienne French is your new wise-ass French friend.