Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breaking Gender and Social Norms with Purses and Scarves

Sitting in the metro is one of the best places to do some thinking. What might be seen as distracting hustle and bustle soon becomes a pleasant hum as you get lost in thought. The squeal of the breaks, the young black man playing a guitar, the drunken homeless all fade away as I contemplate my day, only tuning back in to observe a teenage boy with more volumosity in his hair than I can ever hope to achieve or to critique the shoe choice of the tired old woman.

Paris inspires deep thoughts. Some of which I would like to share with you…

First, scarves here have no gender. I have seen very masculine men wearing colorfully striped scarves and ones that boarder and cross the flamboyant. Some are even too much for me to wear, but if you got it flaunt it. On Monday I saw an 8 year old boy with a shimmery black and silver lace scarf. Seriously, the kid looked like he was going to grow up and become a Columbian Drug Lord and even he was wearing what I would formerly consider a girly scarf.

Pretty man, Pretty Scarf

Second, men can carry purses too. Some are just utilitarian leather messenger bags or even just your run of the mill brief case. But, I have seen some very pretty bags being carried by some very pretty men. Just yesterday I was admiring the subtle plaid patterned bag of a young urban professional on the Metro. But my favorite is when I see a gangsta youth with an all out purse. Like today, a hommie on the Metro was carrying a small white canvas purse with a red and white striped strap. He was standing just in front of another young black man with a more tasteful Nike brand ‘carry all’ while his friend was sporting a masculine rhinestone speckled beanie. Amen!

Man Purse
Classy Rhinestone Beanie

Paris has some D-word good Indian food on top of its already superb native cuisine. Monday was a celebration of many birthdays and so to commemorate these important event, some friends and I went to Little India and ate until we couldn’t breath. I’m pretty sure I have never left a restaurant with bigger food baby. I now know what it feels like to be pregnant and it kills. As the saying goes “Go big or go home or go home big.” And boy did we go home big! Let me just tell you what I ate and it was all delicious: a Mango Lassi (yogurt based beverage that is cool and refreshing), beignets filled with potato, egg plant, and onion, vegetable rice with 5 different sauces to mix in, and then since there were 5 of us, we all got a different dessert and shared (some were really good others just really interesting). 

Birthday Girls
Jamie and Maddie enjoying their mango lassis
Me and my Lassi
Beignet appetizer with three amazing sauces
Before: Main Course of Vegetable rice and mix-ins. Just like Cold Stone
After... So Good!
Desserts of India. Can't tell you the names, but all were worth trying

I just want to emphasis again, everything tastes better in Paris. For example, on Tuesday, I was over at a friend’s house for her birthday. Her host mom invited me and my roommate to stay for dinner to celebrate. So, what do they serve with the main course of steak? A large casserole filled with sweet potatoes (pomme de terre sucré), that’s what. I hate sweet potatoes. They are the thing I am always surprised to see at Thanksgiving because I fail to understand how anyone can like them. So here I am, I’m not about to offend this nice woman in any way for being so kind as to let us into her home and eat her food. So I take a little with the faith that it will not be too awful because I am in France and everything is just better here. I taste them. They are amazing. I take more. I eat way too much. I leave very happy and in desperate need of a metro nap.

What I thought would be my worst nightmare. Delicious and not so nutrition, you could totally taste the butter and all that amazing cheese!

Every day I learn something new about Paris and about life in general. It really is amazing.

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