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In France or in the UK, how do you recognise a "gentlewoman"?
You all know what a gentleman is: an elegant heartbreaker of irreproachable behaviour. But what would it be in a feminine version? A gentlewoman is this extremely polite lady, who always brings something when she is invited, eats a healthy diet and thinks of the happiness of others. But whether they live in France or in the United Kingdom, the gentlewomen are not quite the same...
A gentlewoman takes care of her look
It is said that in England, a respectable woman never wears flesh coloured tights. To avoid the grandma look, she will opt for black tights, slimming the legs and highlighting the silhouette. In France, the most important principle is never to overdo things : stay natural. For make-up, simple foundation, thin eyeliner and a subtle lipstick will be perfect. In terms of dress code, a French woman would wear no more than one or two colours. The aim is to be an eye-catcher without looking like a patchwork quilt. Obviously, the clothes she wears will suggest she has a beautiful body, but will not show too much of it : deep cleavage prohibited.
She has a busy social life
A gentlewoman worthy of the name is engaged in several activities. The British ones would chose yoga, pilates or some other way of taking care of themselves. They also play boardgames and go to the cinema. However, they will not watch a vulgar blockbuster such as the latest Batman. You will tend to find them in one of these original and charming arty cinemas, watching a foreign film in its subtitled original version. During their free time, British gentlewomen will not hesitate to help people in need and work for a charity.
When they get involved French women will turn to their children's school association: organising the annual fair, baking cakes, attending parent-teacher meetings, etc. Because children come first. But that does not mean they will not go to a horse riding session or enjoy a night at the theatre.
Whether she is French or British, a gentlewoman has never said "LOL" and does not look at her phone when someone is talking to her. She listens to others and likes talking to them.
A gentlewoman during a night out
It must be aknowledged that a French gentlewoman will never arrive on time. But be careful to not be too late, on average 30 minutes is about right. When eating, she drinks wine or champagne and does not laugh too loudly, whether she is in her house, in the street or in a restaurant. Moreover, she will never have a second slice of cheese: one is enough! But instead of going to the restaurant, French people would rather invite their friends at home. In such a case, the gentlewoman would cook a good meal for her guests. There is no way she would serve takeaway or defrost food.
Across the Channel, you must not be late when invited. You should not come too early, of course, but being 30 minutes late is unacceptable. Unlike the French, British people do not consider whisky to be a drink just for men. So you are more likely to see a gentlewoman drinking scotch. When she is invited, she will always send a thank you card to the hosts. This is a tradition that stopped being respected in France a long time ago...
Her relations with others
The French gentlewoman has to be careful of her behaviour towards others. It is well known that you cannot please everybody. Too pretty, too rich or too happy, French women will always find a reason to be jealous and act like young girls towards each other. However, men tend not to judge that much, and it is accepted that a woman can be close to one or several men. In the UK, this is not the same. If a woman is too close to a man, the rumors will circulate quickly. Therefore, a gentlewoman should not be more friendly towards a man than a woman. She will try and please to everybody by acting in the same way with both sexes. She will not wonder who has the most beautiful dress, she will simply try to make friends.
But, whether she lives in France or in the UK, the real gentlewoman controls herself, keeps her distance and is never pushy. Especially with a married man!
For holidays or a day out, she will not go very far
French or British, the gentlewoman is curious, but she loves the comfort of her cocoon. She will go out in the areas she already knows, generally not touristy places so she will not be bothered by the crowd. For holidays, you will find her in her summer house by the ocean rather than in a hotel in the Bahamas. She likes to enjoy family time in a place in which she feels comfortable. Which also means that she will never be disappointed by room service.
You will for sure have understood that French and British gentlewomen are not so different, but it is always good to know the rules to avoid a faux pas. How about you, ladies, do you fill all the criteria?