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Day 125: Buy Your Grandmother French Panties.



Illustration by Garance Doré

My mother got into Paris for work this morning and being a professional traveler extraordinaire, she was hardly affected by jetlag and was ready to eat by 11am. Bonnes nouvelles because I was famished. Meeting her at her hotel where I know everyone because she comes to Paris fairly often, I was in the lounge chatting with the hotel staff when she came down. "You smell!" she said as she hugged me. I lifted my armpit and in fact she was right. I did smell. I had just purchased "Coco Glacée" deodorant without anti-perspirant and my armpits did not smell like iced coconut, they smelled like the métro (Line 8 at Opéra to be exact). "I'll leave my Degree with you because ugh, you smell just awful!" Normally I disagree with her but she was absolutely right. While I normally buy my toothpaste and deodorant in the States, because I like the harsh chemicals we use to shock our system into smelling good, I forgot to do this before I left and so French hygiene products were all that what was available to me. Sorry French hygiene products, you kind of suck.

For lunch, I took Momma Coquine to one of my favorite places in Paris for an omelette au formage and a glass of red, Un Zèbre à Montmartre in (surprise!) Montmartre. The weather being absolutely gorgeous, we sat outside and enjoyed the early Paris autumn weather. Although I see my mom fairly frequently here, I always stop everything to spend time with her. She is so much fun to be with in Paris!

After a leisurely lunch, leisurely because it took us an hour to get the check because the server was taking sexy photos of herself on her boyfriend's scooter with her iphone, my mom announced that we had an errand to do. She pulled out a ziplock bag filled with my grandmother's "unmentionables" as she calls them and in normal talk; underwear. "Your grandmother only likes French panties, so we have to pick her up a few pairs before Vincent's wedding." she said as if that wasn't slightly disturbing. Sensing my reluctance my mother added, "You speak French, so explain to the girl why we have used panties in a bag." she said while signing the check. "Mom, it sounds just as creepy in French as it does in English. Speaking French doesn't exempt me from the sleaziness of walking into a boutique with used panties in a bag." I said with a cringe. "They're clean! Just do it, it's for your grandmotha." Well obviously I was going to do it. In my family, I have no choice no matter where I am.

We went to Princesse Tam Tam and I approached the salesgirl with the ziplock and explained that we were looking for this exact cut, size and color. She was nice but I could feel that she thought it was a little weird. Who wouldn't think it was weird?! "Go try them on, Ella!" my mother instructed as she waved the neglige in her hand. "Mom, Grandma is like 80 pounds. I don't want to see my fat bulging out of teeny tiny panties that would fit a Barbie doll. Plus, eww." I pleaded. "Well if they don't fit, I'm going to have your grandmotha Skype you. She knows how to do that now, ya know." my mother threatened. The salesgirl took this as her queue to give us a minute and proceeded to pretend to organize things but was basically touching everything and doing nothing. When I worked at Anthropolgie when I was 18, they used to make us do that too when there was nothing to do. I hated that. Why couldn't I just look bored? 

We managed to find 3 styles for my grandmother and we hope that one of them will be to her liking. She has a tendency to be picky. "Get something for you." my mother offered. "No, it's ok. I don't need anything." I said not wanting to try anything on. "You have a boyfriend again. It's time to step it up, Missy! Ok?" She said as she was holding a gorgeous baby blue lace bra and nodding her head. I couldn't resist this itty-bitty. It was precious and I couldn't help but surrender to this tiny piece of dentelle. "Well, ok...!!" I said while clapping my hands with shopping glee. We walked out of the store with something for me, something for grandma and enough side comments from my mother to last me until the next time she comes to town. "I need a glass of wine." she said as we were walking down the hill towards Pigalle.

My mother and I had a lovely 36 hours together and she's now heading back to New York, but not to worry she will be back soon. She is very curious about Aurélien and wants to meet him on her next trip. I can hold her back for a few more trips but soon I'll have to bring him around. I'm taking this slow or as my Aunt Terry in L.A is saying "I'm gun shy." which indeed, I am. One day at a time...

Un Zèbre à Montmartre 
38, rue Lepic
Paris 75018

Princesse Tam Tam

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