While some girls count up the dates until they can invite a guy home, and others won’t let their phone out of their grip in case they miss a message from their boyfriend, the ladies in France are getting on with life, and all the while they have admirers whirling around them. We’ve discovered the secrets of their extraordinary charm with the help of J.C. Callan’s book, French Women Don’t Sleep Alone.

Your Secret Garden

From time to time, we all feel emotionally exhausted. It feels as though even the most insignificant, petty things are eating away at who we are, bit by bit. But instead of consoling yourself with chocolate, alcohol or in the arms of that ex-lover (who’s already hurt you enough times), treat yourself with respect. Your secret garden is a place where you can restore your strength and sense of freedom. It nourishes and supports your mind. ‘When the outside world takes away her strength, a French lady might withdraw to her bedroom, close the curtains and sit down to read a novel, or do some yoga’, J.C. Callan observes. ‘She might just lie down for a while and think about Jean-Claude; about the day when they kissed in Chamonix…She’ll get a new spring in her step, and she’ll be completely filled with the feeling of her own desirability.’ Her secret garden might simply be an interesting book which she found in the library. A French woman chooses a café where she can go to read every day, and then she shows up at home an hour later than usual, ‘somehow not like she was’ — that’s how much the book affected her. She goes back to her usual life with a new found sense of her place in the world, as an individual separate from her lover, husband, and children. Coming back to the real world, she carries part of the secret within her. This is very good for your self-esteem. There’s no need for her to say a word about her secret garden, but the very fact that she has one adds to its mystery and strength.

Beautiful Things

We’re used to using the same old unremarkable things day after day, and our self-esteem can take a hit from this. We forget that, on the whole, we actually possess many beautiful things. A French woman never forgets about the silver dinner service her grandmother gave her. It won’t appear just for celebrations, but instead will always be deliberately laid out in prime position on her table at home.

Nurture Your Uniqueness

A French woman is content with who she is — this is the secret key to her beauty. The only one that lets you look and feel beautiful is your own unique self, the expression of your heart and mind. So the main thing in any kind of personal relationship is to preserve a sense of your own personality, to live your own life rather than the life of your husband, children or friends. You can love a person, carry out various feats for them and find pleasure in it, but you can’t live for their sake, and they can’t live for yours. The one you love, loves you as you are, and you have to always retain this sense of who you are. ‘A French woman knows that it is her femininity and distinctiveness from her husband which caught his attention in the first place’, says Madame Callan. ‘It’s these qualities in particular which threw up a challenge for him. If we turn into clones of our lovers, always agreeing with them and wearing the same clothes, life will become completely stale!’ It’s therefore important to maintain your individuality and distinctiveness. When a woman doesn’t sacrifice her individuality for her relationship and remains an individual, a man knows that she’s spiritually free even when they’re together.

Moderation in Everything

Have you ever dressed up for a date and felt great, and spent the next day sitting around at home feeling down? The same ‘black vs. white’ principle reveals itself in us when we first gorge ourselves on food, then find the motivation to go on a diet. It’s the same with love: we deny ourselves some sensuality, and then become restless, lose our self-confidence and then sleep with a guy who doesn’t suit us at all. It’s like the emotional equivalent of eating a big bag of crisps. So strive for moderation in everything. Imagine that love is like a piece of very good, dark chocolate. Don’t chase the cheap stuff. Learn to really revel in this delicacy — your own sensuality. Try to entice (in the way that French people understand the word) everyone around you. Practice the fine art of flirting. We’re not talking about reeling in a man or making your husband pay more attention to you here. See every day, every moment of your life as a chance to really feel your own desirability. Nurture that sense of who you are and take care of your libido, dress to impress, look after your body, and always wear beautiful underwear.

Inspire Others

Although we often don’t realise it, every day we have the opportunity to inspire someone, to change someone’s life for the better. We are an example of how to live in this world. Without even understanding it, you can be a teacher and an example for younger women. And so, if you don’t feel the desire to look good for your own sake or even for your husband’s, do it for the next generation. Madam Callan cites some examples from the lives of French ladies: ‘If we start with just going for a walk and letting ourselves enjoy the feeling of observing others and showing ourselves, then perhaps we’ll discover, for instance, the charm of the man who’s waiting for us in the local post office. We’ll stop off to try the new wonderful perfume in the nearest shop; we’ll get into the habit of searching among the shelves of the book shop on the next street. In doing all this, we “ground” ourselves — we begin to develop a sense of community by discovering the general interests of the local shop owners, flirting with the attractive assistant in the office supply store, or by discussing local news with the girl at the discount store. As a result, our presence in this world not only improves our own lives, but also makes the whole world better.’
Photo credit: Fyodor Shmidt