Avoirdupois, or, French Women Do Get Fat

You may have seen reference  online to the new French perfume Prends Moi designed by the company Velds. The idea is that it not only makes you smell good, it makes you lose weight, which in its way, is kind of brilliant.  (A more regular review is to be found on Perfume Smellin’ Things by the lovely Birgit, who actually road tested the stuff.  My own heads-up came courtesy of the charming and perspicacious Angie (thank you, Angie!)

The French have always had a thing about body image.  If you are fat in French,  tu fais boum-boum.  You have to go to all sorts of lengths not to faire this boum boum.  But in the wake of the global obesity epidemic, it seems even the French are packing a few on.  This has to be the case – otherwise, why on earth would anyone want to suppress the urge to snack in a place that has the world’s best pâtisserie?  If you can’t snack in Paris, where can you snack? Pass the MacDos on the far side of the street is more likely to help – and now there is perfume.

I suspect there’s a catch.  Some of you may recall the famous French diet book by Mireille Giuliano French Women Don’t Get Fat.  It was full of helpful advice about dieting including eating leek soup (leeks are ace diuretics) and then limiting portion sizes drastically.  You can have anything you want, basically, so long as whatever it is comes in a tiny spoonful.  Quiche? Go for it.  Mousse-  no problem, grab your spoon and then put it down, you’re done.  Do not repeat.

French Women Did Not Get Fat, it appeared, because French Women Just Didn’t Eat Much.

Nowadays, it seems, you can supplement this approach, or just ease the pain, with Prends Moi.  So have your leek soup and spritz;  spurn the baguettes and spritz; eat one spoonful of chocolate mousse and spritz, and well, between the spritzing and the not eating you are sure to lose weight.

As Generation X is entering middle age, you see the familiar struggles with middle aged spread, and Prends Moi is just another in a long line of cures for the overburdened waist band. I could be more sympathetic, but after all my generation had cocaine and vodka, and Generation X has…chocolatinis!

Anyway, if they really want to give us a cure for des kilos en trop, the French should engineer a perfume that smells like unfiltered Gitanes.  That’s enough to put anyone off their food.  Add a genuine appetite suppressant to that, you’d be in business.  You’d look like Jean Paul Belmondo and not so much like Gerard Depardieu (and have you seen him lately?

Actually, somebody ought to send him a nice bottle of Prends Moi, although he’d have to wait for it as there’s a six thousand person waiting list of weight problems ahead of him on line.

Ah, screw it, I’m just gonna go light up a Gitane.

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10 Responses to Avoirdupois, or, French Women Do Get Fat

  1. Meg says:

    Every morning, I take my first cuppa coffee back into bed with me and fire up the smartphone to see who’s posted. This = a perfect read, though all the coffee ended up on the bedspread when I died laughing.

    I, too, have seen those Prends Moi links bandying about. The whole concept is depressing and funny at the same time– it quite frankly sounds like something Harvey Prince would hawk. Every one of his fragrances helpfully suggests that you have personal deficiencies that only science and expendable cash can fix. “Ageless” helps you take eight years off your age; “Eau de Lite” suppresses your urge to snack (while “Eau de Creme” feeds it, almost literally, the scent of a big ol’ smackin’ bowl of ice cream); “Eau Flirt”, “Eau Fling” and “Coupling” accomplish the feat of attracting male attention and keeping it pinned when it starts to wander. All of these goals, it is broadly hinted, are completely beyond you, because you lack EVERYTHING– willpower, self-restraint, sex appeal, an interesting personality, etc. But he will fix you! Oh yes.

    I’m not saying it’s rare for product marketing to suggest underhandedly that the consumer is a total, irredeemable loser. But geez Louise.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      Holy cannoli, I’ve never even heard of Prince Harvey. Moreover, I’m not sure I can thank you for letting me know.

      And according to today’s Financial Times if we are the littlest bit tubby, we are untermenschen. Coupled with watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I fear for us. I mean, we have an ENGLISH GUY teaching us not to feed sugar and hot dogs to the kiddies! When I was a kid, these were the people who used to chain the utensils to the table at lorry stop cafs to stop the proles from scarpering with them.

      Never thought I’d see the day when English dudes could lecture us on how to eat proper.

      • Meg says:

        I am SO SORRY to have introduced the vampire into your virtual castle! Now he’ll never leave, and you’ll have to give Van Helsing a ringy-ding….

        So far as I can see, Harvey Prince is the fragrance “face” of the Smell and Taste Treatment & Research Foundation headed by Dr. Alan Hirsch, whose sprinkle-on-your-food-and-magically-lose-weight product “Sensa” is now being thickly advertised on TV. I feel an abiding distrust of this whole enterprise– the research may be sound, but the manner in which the results are parlayed into products that subtly reinforce the user’s poor self esteem makes me VERY uncomfortable. Their marketing tactics also appear very aggressive, including the possible use of paid “bloggers” to spread unconditional praise and raffle off samples. Within the last year, I noticed that several of perfume blogs I read were doing HP sample set giveaways. This, too, made me uneasy– it’s a free world, of course, but I almost felt as if our happy space was being infiltrated by something predatory and awful.

        Might be just me, anyway. But Eau Flirt still smells like cheap bad waxy chocolate.

        • Blacknall Allen says:

          Wasn’t I lucky not to know? Well, I keep Van Helsing on speed-dial anyway ever since I was eight and saw Dracula for the first time, and that goes double for actually reading Bram Stoker. Did you know, supposedly Dracula was based on his boss the titanically egocentric Henry Irving?
          But I digress. As to bloggers are becoming market participants, well, given the cost of keeping these things running, perhaps it’s bound to happen.

    • Undina says:

      Meg, you are so hard to please! I remember you recently critisizing “Exceptional because you are” ;-)

      • Meg says:

        I HAD to, Undina. It tried to mind-meld with me, using a combination of hypnosis & bad smell to bore me into submission. To avoid becoming its mindless drone, I had to write, and write quickly. ;)

  2. Mals86 says:

    The first thing I thought of when I saw this post was those Harvey Prince things. They sent me samples, I reviewed them in a way I thought was fair… and I felt perfectly free to say I thought the line was gimmicky and not particularly successful in terms of fragrance composition.

    Unfiltered Gitanes, urgh.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      Are the Harvey Princes supposed to make you lose weight, develop ten strong fingernails, have hair that doesn’t frizz (a longtime personal ambition), and attract the opposite sex? I’d be on it if they smelled like Guerlains. As it is, meh, and yes, those Gitanes will put you off your food. My old Latin teacher smoked them right before lunchtime and wow, did it make you sick. I should have at least gotten a contact nicotine buzz – but no cigar.

    • Meg says:

      I saw & enjoyed your honest writeup very much, Mals! If memory serves, a few bloggers refrained even from reviewing them and skipped straight to the giveaway raffle without comment. Ah me. :D

  3. Pingback: Laughs, Lemmings, Loves – Episode 18 « Undina's Looking Glass

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