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My friend Karen and I have been entertaining ourselves lately by trading Carla Bruni ‘isms (they are even funnier when you say them with a fake French accent):  in one of them the beautiful, former top-model confesses that she doesn’t need make-up to look good.  Duh.  We like sing to each other too, in the thin Bruni voice: “I am a child, despite my forty years, despite my thirty lovers, a child” (lyrics from Bruni’s recent compact disk).

A few days ago my friend sent me a link to an article in the Huffington Post entitled Seven Lessons to be Learned From Carla Bruni. When I saw that Pfetten was serving up lessons to live by from France’s First Lady I decided I had a duty to respond publicly before women start throwing out their make-up and start purring like Pussy Galore.  So, here are von Pfetten’s lessons, each followed by my Midwestern common sense.

Lesson number 1:  Carla loves flats.

Moi:  Puhlesse.  Carla Bruni is 5’9″ and Nicolas Sarkozy is 5’5″.  Her “love of flats” is inversely proportional to the President of France’s love of heels.  Mind you that Sarkozy is not the first French leader to wear heels:  Louis XIV made them popular for both men and women; the “well-heeled” French (yes!  the expression comes from shoe heels) continued to wear them until the French Revolution when heels could give you away for upper crust and send your head rolling.  To conclude:  flats aren’t a choice for Carla.  They are a State Mandate.

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Lesson number 2:  Her thanks but not thanks stance on make-up.

Moi:  Ladies, I don’t know about you, but when everything I try on in a department store looks ridiculous I head over to the make-up counter to find a new lipstick with a beguiling name like Sirocco (my new Chanel favorite) and leave feeling beautiful.  Carla might not need it, but I sure do.

Lesson number 3Her laissez-faire attitude of her love life.  The First Lady has famously declared that monogamy is “terribly boring”.

Moi:  OMG.  Does she really think that she is the first to have made this discovery?

Lesson number 4:  Ms. Bruni’s voice:  Verena can’t get enough of it.

Moi:  I sure as hell can and if you really want to get on my nerves you’ll pretend that you are a twelve-year-old girl trying to get daddy to buy you some candy too.  I have never understood the French predilection for women who sound like prepubescent girls (Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, etc.).  Give me my Janis Joplins and Aretha Franklins.

Lesson number 5:  She has her own career.

Moi:  Me too.  This “lesson” is so redundant I don’t even know what to say.

Lesson number 6:  For Carla “objects, clothes, and jewelry” give her “no pleasure”.

Moi:  How quaint.

Lesson number 7:  She makes “coy seem positively cutthroat”.

Moi:  Coyness, the affectation of appearing demure in a provocative way, is and always has been cutthroat:  it is used by calculating women to get what they want from men, all the while leaving their machismo intact.  I wish I could pull it off:  watching Carla Bruni on David Letterman with her hushed, little girl voice and her hand brushing back her hair at just the right moments, one gets the sense that she could have talked him into making her the primary beneficiary of his will with the promise of just one kiss.

There they are; my riposts to The Seven Lessons of Carla.  Mind you, I have nothing against France’s First Lady.  Au contraire, if she can have all those Chanel bags, Prada shoes and outifts from Dior without really caring about them, more power to her.  However, when it comes to looking for female role models, rich former super-models just don’t cut it for me.  So far the only book of lessons by a First Lady I have on my bookshelves is You Learn by Living:  Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life by Eleanor Roosevelt and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

A photo of the author, with plenty of make-up and bling:

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