The first thing to slip was her accent. She had spent weeks practicing her French, making it sound as if she was fluent. Her first slip-up was when she pronounced the “t” at the end of s’il vous plaît. She looked down at the table to avoid his reaction and took a sip of her café au lait, which burned her tongue and brought tears to her eyes. She had forgotten that she ordered her coffee très chaud because it seemed like the French thing to do. He showed no indication of catching her mistake and continued to ask her questions about growing up in France. She nibbled on her croissant and kept her answers as brief as possible.
She wouldn’t consider herself as the type of woman who would fake her own nationality to appear interesting to men. She was just sick and tired of going on terrible blind dates. In most cases, she would leave disappointed and more depressed than before, or the guy had a bored look on his face the entire time. Apparently, most men were not as interested as she was in the Pride and Prejudice score. Nor did they want to hear her constant gabbing about how it was robbed of the Oscar.
After her third terrible blind date, she decided she needed some retail therapy to cheer herself up. In a store window, she saw a mannequin wearing a black beret and had to admire how sophisticated, sensual, and, well, French it looked! Three things she was truly not but always wanted to be. She went in, bought the beret, and left feeling like a true Parisian.
The beret was the second thing to slip, literally. While it was an adorable hat, she found the wool to be itchy and hot on her head. She tried to discreetly scratch her head by moving the hat around on her head. Instead of looking Parisian chic, she looked more like a woman with head lice. She batted her eyelashes and slightly puckered her lips to draw his attention away from her hair and to her mouth.
His eyes flickered to her lips, and he took that as an invention to lean in closer to her. He smiled and asked, “Was it hard coming over here and adopting another culture’s lifestyle?”
That was the question that stumped her and ultimately led to her final slip-up. She looked down and saw her reflection in the glass bistro table. She barely recognized the girl in the black beret, with cat-eyed lined eyes, and red lipstick that stared back at her. None of this was the real her. She looked like a phony, a fake, an imposter. She didn’t even smell like herself! She smelled like someone who just tore out the most French-sounding perfume sample from a magazine and rubbed it all over their body, which is exactly what she did!
Were the clothes she was wearing and the way she acted a real representation of a French woman, she thought. Or is this just an American’s perception of the French? How could she pretend to be somebody from France when she knew nothing about its culture? Ignorance may sometimes be bliss, but right now ignorance was detrimental. Her two years of high school French had not prepared her for this question.
What made this an even bigger problem was that she actually thought he was cute. He wore a blazer over a worn-in green t-shirt that made his green eyes really stand out. His brown hair was messy because he kept running his hands through it, which made her wonder if he was nervous. None of her other blind dates did that. And lastly, he seemed genuinely interested in what she had to say. At first, she told herself it was because of her “exotic” life, but now she wondered if he would be the first person whose eyes wouldn’t glaze over when she mentioned her obsession with film scores.
“Oui, the coffee here in terrible.” she finally answered.
“But aren’t you drinking French roast? Is that not the same?”
“No, this is stuff is a lot worse.”
“Oh, sorry,” his face flushed. “I didn’t know. This coffee shop had a 5-star rating, so I just assumed it was good.”
“No, no,” she rushed out. “I didn’t mean it like that. This is place is great. You’re great. The coffee is…”
“Not great?” He smiled.
“It’s phony coffee,” he said, jokingly.
“Fake French roast,” she joked back.
They both laughed and took a sip out of their respective cups. When their eyes met, She felt her heart race in her chest and wondered if she told him the truth if everything would be okay. He seemed like an understanding guy. Perhaps, this would be something they would laugh about years down the road.
“Yep. you’re right.” he said leaning forward a smile on his lips, “Hey, how do you say it in French?”
“I know that coffee is café, but how do you say imposter?” He said still smiling.
Her heart raced even faster in her chest, but this time it felt like she was running from someone not towards someone she liked. This was chance to right her wrong. She felt his eyes on her, waiting. While she looked down at her coffee she whispered, “Moi.”
When she looked up again, she knew this time he had heard her.
As adorable as they look, wool berets can be itchy, especially if you have a sensitive scalp. If you want something that will be less scratchy, then look for berets that have a lower wool content.
Comment Questions: What are your thoughts on the beret trend? Do you like it? Do you think this is a trend that will stick around for a while or fade away in a month’s time?