“Self-care” has become one of the trendiest buzzwords among millennials. We’re not afraid to spend money on scented candles, at-home facials, matcha lattes, and quinoa. Meditating is on trend, and if you’re not glowing with the confidence that comes with the “I Woke Up Like This” athleisure style, then you’re not doing it right. We Instagram our “true selves” with #nofilter, and post mirror pictures of our fat rolls because models and fitness bloggers made it fashionable.
While all of these recent trends are promoting important and even revolutionary ideas in body-positivity and health that I myself am addicted to following every day, it’s undeniable that the concept of this self-care is almost void in typical Parisian culture.
Self-care is not in the immediate vocabulary of the average Parisian, regardless of her age or generation. Parisians do not spend fortunes on health treatments and workout classes or cook with the latest health-food craze and write lists of reasons they love themselves in “Self-Love Journals.” The way they care for themselves is simply muted, private, and not trend-driven at all.
1. They indulge regularly in what they enjoy.
They do not choose what to eat or drink based on health articles they read in fashion magazines. A Parisian is not afraid to have a glass of wine with lunch or an Èclair au Chocolat after work, for no other reason besides that she wants it. Because she doesn’t fight her cravings, you’d rarely find a Parisian overindulging. She enjoys every bite because she does not restrict herself from eating what she wants or hate herself when she indulges.
2. They accept their flaws rather than try to fix them.
No woman, Parisian or otherwise, is totally exempt from insecurities and pressures. But there is a difference in how we think about our differences. Instead of covering or fixing her flaws, a Parisian knows how to accentuate, appreciate, and live with them — maybe even love them. Instead of getting braces, a Parisian woman knows her tooth gap is a chic and endearing quality, and fashion is used to show off curves rather than hide them. Plus, Parisians know that there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about a woman who’s confident in what makes her unique.
3. Speaking of fashion… They wear what they like and what they feel good in.
Parisians are famous for their style, not because they’re inherent trend-setters, but because each woman knows what looks good on her and sticks to the same styles with a limited closet of basic pieces, only updating with minor seasonal changes. She would never dare to even wear a t-shirt or pair of shoes that didn’t emulate the ideal self-expression that the Parisian strives for in everything she does. Fashion trends are appreciated, but typically only followed if they work for personal style and comfort.
4. They are choosy with friendships.
Among Americans, the French have a reputation for being rude, which I would argue is strongly invalid. It is true they don’t smile at strangers or make fast friends with everyone they meet. They would never be “fake-nice” to someone they dislike out of politeness, and having frenemies is ridiculous. But friendships are always deep, meaningful, and lifelong. They find the people they click with and are fiercely loyal to them. They are putting all their time and energy into friendships that enrich their life and the people that truly matter to them.
5. They have rituals that they stick to.
Parisian women are not totally exempt from popular self-care methods of long baths or at-home facials. The difference is that they don’t typically pay attention to the latest fads that health blogs are posting about. Instead, they have tried and true go-tos for when they’re feeling extra stressed or their pores need unclogging. They don’t dedicate time and effort to keeping up with wellness and beauty trends, but they listen to what their body needs and know what fixes will make it feel better.
6. They appreciate the small things.
There’s a reason the infamous french beauty routine consists of moisturizer, a swipe of mascara, and red lipstick; Parisians find beauty in simplicity. Another example is in their small, but flavorful, meals. Parisians are ingrained to find joy in small and simple details: a cup of espresso, a freshly made bed, a spritz of floral perfume, a bouquet of flowers, a warm croissant. They do not rush through life or eat on the go. They quite literally stop to smell the roses, or, in the Parisian’s case, a bouquet of pink peonies. They find pleasure in the small things, and spend their money on the highest quality of fewer things, instead of the cheapest, biggest, and fastest that we’re known for appreciating in American culture.
7. They know their beliefs and aren’t afraid to defend them.
Topics, like politics and religion, that are usually taboo in American chit-chat are encouraged and normal in brief conversations between two people, no matter how little they know each other. Parisian women stick to their passionate beliefs that they are not afraid to (politely) argue with someone in order to defend. In everything from the presidential election to the men they date, they stick strongly to what they believe in and deserve, and they will not be a part of a conversation, job, or relationship if it does not align with their values or what they want.
To a Parisian, there is no need to prove love for one’s self with trendy diets or wellness fads. There is simply a cultural goal to be true to one’s self.