Yeah, that sounds pretty French, all right…

This should distract y’all from the never-ending post on Kulturkampf earlier in the week…

Don’t know if you had seen the piece in The Wall Street Journal about the (American) woman who has written a book all about how the French are better at raising children than we are.

Never mind my natural suspicion of any American who chooses to live in France rather than here. This is NOT the 1920s; it’s just not done any more. Those who do are all a lost generation, to my mind. Alice B. agrees with me.

It still seemed interesting, and my wife and I shared the info with our kids who have kids, in case they could get anything out of it. From my cursory glance, it was stuff like how the French somehow manage to keep their kids from whining and stuff like that. The downside, from what I read — basically, a huge part of the formula is that the French neglect their kids by American standards, because they’re into having time for themselves. And if I got into what I think of that, we’d get into a discussion of whether my Anglophilia has led necessarily to Francophobia, and I don’t want to go there today.

Where I want to go is here, to this revelation I read this morning in the Post:

Pamela Druckerman, the writer who set off parenting debates this week with her essay in the Wall Street Journal, “Why French Parents Are Superior,” (which was an excerpt of her newly published, “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting,” Penguin) has just involuntarily launched another discussion.

It turns out that in another essay a few years ago for the magazine Marie Claire, she revealed that she had planned and engaged in a threesome with her husband.

Slate’s Rachael Larimore discovered the piece called, “How I Planned a Menage A Trois.” It is filled with excruciating details about what she writes was a gift for her husband’s 40th birthday. It culminates in a paragraph that would make anyone viewing it in their own rearview mirror — let alone a writer who is now selling a parenting book — wince:

“Finally, they tire themselves out. There’s a sweet moment at the end when the three of us lie together under the covers, with the birthday boy in the middle. He’s beaming. I’ll later get a series of heartfelt thank-you notes from him, saying it was as good as he had hoped.”

Larimore revealed Thursday that Marie Claire editors had agreed, at Druckerman’s request they said, to remove the essay from the magazine’s online archives. Enough evidence of the essay existed, however, that Larimore said she came on it accidentally.

It’s not what they did; it’s that she frickin’ WROTE about it, under her real name. That’s seriously defective. If you had to get a license to have kids, one hopes she wouldn’t be issued one.

I am reminded of some wisdom I obtained from watching “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby” (from now on, I’m sticking to American sources of wisdom, however low or tacky). When the French Formula 1 driver tries to join the NASCAR circuit, the other drivers heap scorn on him. He responds by telling them that France had given them “democracy, existentialism, and the Ménage à Trois.” As one of the rednecks responds, “Well that last one’s pretty cool.”

Perhaps so, perhaps not. But it certainly sounds French to me…

3 thoughts on “Yeah, that sounds pretty French, all right…

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    I heard her on NPR, and she made a lot of sense to me–it’s how I was raised–no separate meals for kids with only plain pasta or hot dogs–we are what Mom and Dad ate–at least a small portion of it. As a result, I happily eat vegetables in a wide variety. Our meal times were about what we did during the day, not short order diners. Mom and Dad did their hobbies and we played by ourselves or did our homework by ourselves. We all might sit together and watch the one TV. We did get a second, “portable” one, in about 1968. Black and white. I watched old movies on it on weekend days when there weren’t so daggum many sporting events crowding them out. No cable back then, boys and girls, so no AMC or its kin.

    Reply
  2. Kathleen

    Ditto to Kathryn’s observation. Much of what I heard made sense and sounded a lot like my childhood. The question I have after finding out about the Marie Claire article is: What has happened to “women of a certain age,” and well beyond? I’m referencing Barbara Walters and JFK’s intern.

    Reply
  3. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Kathleen–There’s More magazine and the annual Age issues of the ladymags. Otherwise, I think you have to go to France to see actual older women.

    Maybe that’s why Kathleen Sibelius looks so pained.

    Reply

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