- Tomorrow night I’m heading to Paris with my family. I’m sure it will be a great trip. My kids have never been to Europe. The weather is forecast to be fine. They’re grandparents will be with us, and are footing the bill.
But I can’t help but feel a little sad about the trip, because too many years ago to think about, I went to Paris as a twenty-something and spent two years
as a broad abroad. When I lived in Paris, I had no husband, no kids, no pre-planned trips to the Eiffel Tower, or Notre Dame. I was young, I was unencumbered; I was — how can I put this delicately — kind of a slut.
Of course it wasn’t all rosy, There was the time I stood moronically on the metro platform waiting for the doors of the train to open, even as I watched the train pull away. I watched two trains come and go before I realized that I had to open the doors myself. Then there was the time that I asked for solution for my contact lenses sans preservatifs, which the kindly, if bemused pharmacist explained meant “without condoms.” There was the impossibility of wearing sweatpants in public, ordering- in Chinese food on a cold and rainy Sunday night. (which is kind of an ethnic imperative, as any NY Jew worth her moo-shu will tell you.)
Of course, there were bright sides to being a 20-something in Paris, too. Just as we New Yorkers think that Parisian women are sophisticated and exciting, so did the French find it glamorous that I came from “zee beeg Apple.” And just as American men find the French accent sexy…well, need I say more? While I was in Paris, I took a writing course with D.
H. Thomas, I worked at a fancy art gallery on the Left Bank. On the weekends, I sang with a Bar Mitzvah Band. Seriously. In English, French, Hebrew, and Arabic. And on Thursday nights and every other Sunday, I worked as a lounge signer in a little club in the Latin Qurater — complete with sitting on the piano where a giant Brandy Snifter was perched, waiting for tips to fill it up. It was the only time in my life when I was consistently thought of as exotic, intriguing, and – dare I say it – sexy. In New York, I’m just another frizzy haired Upper West Side mom blogger. Sexy it ain’t.
I guess on the day my kids are graduation from elementary school (today), I’m feeling nostalgic for my youth. I’m sure it’ll be fabulous to introduce my kids to the city I loved so much. I’ll show them whe
re I lived and worked. I’ll take them on the Metro and open the door. We’re spending a day at a cooking class held in a native Parisian’s kitchen. We’re having dinner with my old roommate and her kids. And maybe, just maybe, for old time’s sake, I’ll pick up a microphone somewhere and belt out a few bars of La Vie en Rose.