TRANSATLANTIC PARALLEL: punctuality, forks and knives, sexiness

with Letitia Jett

Punctuality, forks and knives, sexiness.

It's time for the game that Letitia Jett A Femme d'un Certain Age, and I play each week on our blogs. We compare our views on our adopted countries, France for Letitia and The States for me.
There are some things we really love, others not so much. Good or bad, fun or unpleasant, whatever our point of view, we bring it to you. 
Today more fun topics and a vote... 
La ponctualité
It is so amusing that in the US it is very rude not to come on time to a dinner or party. Fashionably late is fine but it means 5 minutes not much more.
The first time my mother hosted a dinner party, years and years ago in the United States, she was shocked to see her first guests arrive on time. For her it was the equivalent of early. She soon learned the lesson. But being French, and very French at that, she never quite got used to it.
In France the explanation for being slightly late- let's say 15 to 30 minutes-  is that it enables the hostess to be really ready. Just in case. It makes sense both ways. in the first case you know more or less exactly when your guests will arrive; in the second, if you are a little late you have a little leeway. Of course in neither country is being really late acceptable; La ponctualite est la politesse des rois- punctuality is the politeness of kings. Even THEY abide by it, so I am told.
One of my dear, dear friends in France is always late, really late. One day, beyond frustrated, having said a number of times before something to the effect that we did not think she'd come, I told her dinner was 1/2 hour earlier than actually planned. She arrived on time! 1/2 hour early... and since then, she never believes I am telling her the correct time. So she always comes late, very late; I guess sometimes you just can't win.
I hate to be late, probably because I hate to wait, thus I hate to make someone wait. But for an invitation, I can't quite kick the a-few-minutes-late tradition drilled into my French brain; only a few minutes, though, trust me.

La fourchette et le couteau
France has all kinds of complex rules to follow for the use of a fork or a knife, or both depending on what it is you are consuming: 
Asparagus – fork only; Salad – no cutting not even with a fork; if the leaves have been cut too large, use a small piece of bread to help fold the leaf. Oranges – cut and spread apart the skin with a knife and eat the slices with a fork. Etc.

Not much is to be eaten with the help of your hands- oysters, mussles, shellfish in the shell- not much else and then a rince-doigt - a small bowl of warm water and lemon- is used to rince one's fingers.
In the US, have you ever seen anyone eat a pizza with a fork and knife? They just are not available; maybe plastic; awful; whereas even in our small village in the Ardèche region of France, the pizza places always give you a fork and a knife when serving your pizza. Chacun a son gout...to each his own.

I found this gadget for sale on a French website; 

really not elegant but maybe it's a start. I'll suggest it to Villa Maria...
As for the common hamburger, I don't see a solution; maybe eating the meat with knife and fork and the bread and some vegetables on the side. Then it's just a steak hache- eaten like any steak. 
Oh, a fun detail about knife and fork use in the US in some places: the steak, let's say, is cut with a knife in the right hand and the fork in the left, the knife is put down, the fork changes to the right hand and the piece is eaten; proceed this way for each bite. a bit complicated if you ask me, but so is balancing peas on the back of a fork.

C'est quoi, "sexy"?
Is sexiness an attitude, a style, self confidence? Is it about nudity, a twinkle in one's eye? I have a theory that being yourself and proud of it, is sexy. That you do not need to display parts of your body best kept covered to be sexy. 
That being negative is not sexy, 
 happy is, and that no amount of make up and slithering like a boa constrictor will help you be sexy. 

SO HERE IS A TEST: let's vote for the picture that best demonstrates what we  find sexy. (please leave your choice on les petits commentaires below)
I'll show the results tomorrow. What fun.

Please leave your vote and reactions at a petit commentaire below or vite, go see a Femme d'un Certain Age 's take all of this and let us know; on which ever side of the ocean you care to leave your comment.

merci, Letitia 

oh, and a last minute addition(I just cannot resist)
TOTALLY off subject... maybe not...
I did not watch the ceremony but I checked online this morning;
my favorite Oscars dress

Letitia please forgive the intrusion into our weekly conversation..

au revoir.


  1. Anonymous8/3/10

    Most sexy ( or as I prefer: erotic) dress/look is in photo No. 6. Very subtle,not trashy. Elegant, subdued,feminine - promising.
    kind regards, Martina

  2. Most sexy to me is photo 9. Brigitte Bardot has always been the symbol of sexiness.

  3. My chere, chere Jeanne-Aelia,

    An absolutely fabulous post in every way. I so agree with you about sensuous/sexy being an attitude. I am really, really going to miss you when you take your little voyage. We must agree on topics before you leave so at least I can work on them while you're gone instead of devoting my energy to being jealous.

    Really? Asparagus? I see it both ways. I know you wouldn't do it at a formal dinner.

    Hmmm, being unable to choose just one picture, here are my selections: 1, 5 & 6, I agree with Joelle, BB always and Giselle looks sexy with her beautifully toned body, but the context is different, I'm not comparing her to the women who are actually wearing clothes.

    Et voila.

    This just gets more and more fun.

    Merci pour tout,

  4. Anonymous8/3/10

    i like best #1. and the bikini photo is sexy, california-style, but the model looks a bit uncomfortable, so that takes away from the saucy mood.

  5. I think Giselle looks sexy. Yes, she is wearing a bikini, BUT, her appeal is in that even though she exposing a lot of skin (believe me, that is not a lot by brazilian standards) she is not posing or showing any private parts. She is demure. And that is sexy too.

    On the fork and knife usage. I'm with you... eating pizza with your hands is not something I have grown accustomed to. Even sandwiches in Brazil are eaten while being neatly held in a napkin.

    Fun post!

  6. Anonymous8/3/10

    Thank you for making this such a treat every Monday. I'll take your little survey and say #9 and #10 because they have natural expressions on their faces and aren't at all mask like. It's not about the clothing it the natural attitude. Of course there are some beautiful ensembles posted too.

  7. #9!
    I did not know this is BB thought it is just someone ... really sexy :-))

    gisele in the bikini with a boys-waist and a man's hat doesn't seem sexy at all.

  8. Without a doubt, #7 because she exudes confidence. The look on her face is so seductive.

  9. I vote for Number 6.

  10. #1 and #6.
    And here, on the West Coast of Canada, I switch knife and fork just as you describe to eat my steak -- as I was taught from childhood. I'll have to pay attention and see what those around me do -- I doubt very much that it's consistent.

  11. Jane from California9/3/10

    No. 6, bien sur! Subtle and sexy. The knife and fork thread makes me think of my mother, not French but raised in Europe, who eats everything with a knife and fork. Punctuality is a big discussion in our house, too - I tend to run late, according to my husband, but as I was raised, I'm right on time!

  12. Good morning!

    Marlene Dietrich, #7. Sexiest of the bunch.

    Love the blog, great post!

  13. A toutes mes lectrices: MERCI for all the great comments and vote. Let's do it again some day! a bientot!