Far from being the pious figure I have cut out for myself so far, I had a couple of momentous falls from the grace wagon in Paris between the end of IVF 2 and the start of IVF 3. (August and September 2013). All involved rosé.
I lived in Toulouse (known as La Ville Rose) as a university student in 1998 and met a group of people I’m delighted to say are still my friends today. Some French, some English and some a mixture.
Toulousan Tom (who’s from Manchester but still lives in the Haut-Garonne) happened to turn up in Paris one inauspicious sunny Monday and announced his arrival on Facebook. Although we had always kept in contact, I hadn’t actually seen Tom for about 10 years and this was too good to be true.
I was itching to get out and throw off the shackles of sensible, restricted IVF me, so I suggested we meet up. When his reply of a resounding “yes!” came back, I could hear the sound of wine bottles shuddering around the Marais.
Now more mature, we started our meeting off as grown ups do in a museum – Musée D’Orsay to be exact – to see Masculin Masculin – a celebration of the penis in art. I should point out here that Tom is of the masculin masulin persuaion himself.
Like giddy children on a school trip, we gabbled non stop in the queue, took a photo next to the masculin masculin poster for prosperity, were way over friendly and laughy with the cashier in the ticket booth but then when we reached the exhibition, we regained our composure and I think we began to showcase to each other how mature and thoughtful we’d become.
We had suddenly changed gear and facial expressions as we began seriously commenting on the striking 1940s black and white photography of ‘man’, Bob Mizer et al, the german fixation with the figure of David as the perfect form, their regime of fitness and health…..but that then soon descended into faux intellectual poses as we held our chins, furled our eyebrows, nodded sagely and and scrutinised a sketch of a scrotum up close. Hmmm fabulous depiction of the power, yet confusion of man brought out through the vehicle of pubic hair.
Suitably full of ‘culture’, we proceeded to paint the town pink with rosé and laugh with absolute abandon as we filled each other in on our time apart and fell about talking about our time when we were all together in Toulouse. It was like it was the 90s again but this time around I had blow dried hair, better clothes and no sign of a caterpillar boot.
We decided to only drink in bars that openly had free salty snacks (peanuts, pretzels or popcorn) and became quite adept at walking, talking and glancing at outside cafe tables surveying for little bowls of thirst-makers, without even slowing down. This I think was the only thing we were discerning about during our day together.
Our afternoon sipping, soon turned into apero which then saw us stop off for drinks at his friend’s beautiful Rive Gauche apartment before heading out again for dinner. The evening was beautifully rounded off with a lock in at his friends bar til 3am with us both grinning from ear to ear, dancing, singing, smoking like troopers and talking to people like they were our long lost or new best friends for life. Perfect. The ideal fingers up to a life of detox and self enforced discipline.
I got a cab home, took my clothes off in the kitchen, put them in the kitchen drawer (an old trick so as not to disturb a less than impressed husband) did cartoon walking on my tip toes and got into bed, happy and loving my vie en rose.