What French Women Know

What French Women Know

About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind

Book - 2009
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A primer on the ineffable, je ne sais quoi appeal of the French woman.

I t?s not the shoes, the scarves, or the lipstick that gives French women their allure. It?s this: French women don?t give a damn. They don?t expect men to understand them. They don?t care about being liked or being like everyone else. They generally reject notions of packaged beauty. They accept the passage of time, celebrate the immediacy of pleasure, like to break rules, embrace ambiguity and imperfection, and prefer having a life to making a living. They are, in other words, completely unlike us.

Ollivier goes beyond familiar ooh-la-la stereotypes about French women, challenging cherished notions about sex, love, dating, marriage, motherhood, raising children, body politics, seduction, and flirtation. Less a how-to and more a how-not-to, What French Women Know offers a refreshing counterpoint to the stale love dogma of our times. Peppered with anecdotes from its Franco-American author and filled with provocative ideas from French sexperts, mistresses and maidens alike, it debunks longstanding myths, presenting savvy new thinking from an old sexy culture and more realistic, life-affirming alternatives from the land that knows how to love.

Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2009.
ISBN: 9780399155628
Branch Call Number: 306.7082 Ollivier 09/2009
Characteristics: 244 p. :,col. map ;,22 cm.


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May 12, 2013

Agree with espresso_romance: I really enjoyed this book and wanted to read it after the NYT reviewed it and said it was insightful. I agree with Olivier when she writes that too often, Americans want to slap labels on whether or not a person they are romantically interested in are in the "dating" stage. The French would counter with "What is dating? You mean hanging out with another romantic interest exclusively? Why does everythig need to be labeled? So that people feel they can better control their situation?" That resonated with me and I agree that a more laissez fair touch is needed. Just enjoy the opposite sex and their company and discard preconceived ideas of what the "next step" should be in a relationship. Overall, I recommend this book.

Jun 26, 2011

I liked this book a lot. Some parts of it are weak, especially the last chapter (always make sure your conclusion is strong!) Whether you are not French or are French -- read it with a grain of salt and keep in mind these are BROAD generalizations on huge populations of people. But there are some excellent things to learned from this book. Some ridiculous common sense things that don't always come easily to people, especially North Americans. My favourite messages are thus:
Life is all about living in shades of grey and being okay about! Who cares if he loves you or not.

North American girls tend to play a game where they pluck petals off a flower and proclaim: "He loves me, he loves me not."

French girls say: "He loves me a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all."

How insightful! Ladies, love is not about love or rejection. It's about shades of grey. Some of you may already know this but for those of you that don't, pick this book up. And start learning to live in shades of grey. I work at the library -- there are way too many "manuals" on love, life, dating, sex, and marriage. There is no instruction manual for those things. All those other books are a waste of time.


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