Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Super Stud(ette)

Last night I rode the train into unchartered territory, recalling Paris to the Moon and a syrupy passage about Métro stops imagined but never seen.

Adam Gopnik's heart of darkness was the Goutte d'Or, an area rarely visited by left-bankers like himself. Mine, on the other hand was the (more than one drop) 16th.

The author cooed as he trundled past the Château Rouge stop - imagining a storybook cottage waiting for his family outside. I, on the other hand, clenched as we rolled through Passy and I realized that for the first time in my life there were no brown faces on the Métro.

I admit it: I am scared to death of the 16th.

Out of the Métro and in unsafe open waters, I hurried head down to my destination. I held my bag close and made no eye contact with the nannies. I was very nearly running.

What was I even doing in that neighborhood, you ask?

Getting the best haircut of my life, that's what. A towering Scotswoman, a friend of a friend, cuts it for cheap out of her apartment. There was sipping and snipping and bagging on men while we waited for my hair to turn blond-ish. She told me tales about working the fashion shows and offered her chambre de bonne if I need it. It was another planet, but incredibly fun.

I left with a sashay and headed to my first apartment visit of the night. I was hopped up on adrenaline, feeling capable and adventurous. If I could visit the 16th, maybe I could also find an apartment.

I was not, before last night, familiar with the concept of the studette. I hadn't thought there was anything smaller than a studio until I visited this diminutive bed-box in the Marais.

A mattress on a mezzanine, a shower I had to crawl into, and no light from either window - was this really to be my new reality? An Italian girl ten years my junior explained that she only slept there after dancing.

It was raining when I left and headed back to my beloved 19th. "My email will be full of offers," I told myself as my heavily sprayed hair began to stick to my cheeks. I began to hum a little as I made my way along the Bassin - a snippet from the Magnetic Fields song Nothing Matters When We're Dancing, with lyrics altered to suit a newly-imagined stud(ette) lifestyle.

"I only sleep there after dancing..."

16 comments:

anna said...

In tat or tatters you're entrancing Be we in Paris (or in Lansing.)

can't wait to see the new do in IRL life.

Vincent said...

OMG you like magnetic fields ;-) I think 69 is one of the best album I've ever heard...

le Meg said...

OMG yes.

"The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side," "Meaningless," "Yeah! Oh, Yeah"...

Totally brilliant songs.

Now press pause and go find me an apartment, please :)

une anglaise à l'étranger said...

hello, just found your blog through petite anglaise!

good luck in finding somewhere!

Louis London said...

I, too, am hunting for a new apartment (though not in Paris, unfortunately), and can well understand your sense of urgency and frustration.

Hope you find something soon.

Sam said...

You're going to get through this...

Alice said...

Wish I had a few leads for you, le Meg; I know how tough it is... I'm living in the 'burbs now, and although it IS nice to finally have some breathing room, I do miss the village atmosphere of the right bank arrondissements...

I know what you mean about the 16th! Too stuffy and residential for me. Although I say that now -- I don't have any kids at this point... But I've always preferred the livelier, mixed neighborhoods with more exchanges going on -- between people and commerçants... I don't know, it just makes for a warmer atmosphere.

Hang in there -- I'm sure someone will have a tuyau in the coming days!

Adorable cut, BTW -- love that pic!

Robyn said...

Ahahahaa..ah...I live in the 16th. Methinks my experience would've been pretty different if I lived anywhere else. And with a French family instead of an American one. >__< I should come back to Paris later and do things right. Meh.

Awesome hair cut! I got one haircut here with the same stylist my homestay mum goes to and it was scary expensive, like "i will never pay this much for a haircut ever again, not even half this much". I wish I knew about your towering scotswoman. :| (Admittedly, the pricey haircut was the best I had ever gotten..but still.)

Paris Lights said...

Great post! I know what you mean about the 16th, I've heard it's more wild and crazy than Barbes, at least there crime is out in the open, in the 16th it's all behind closed doors. Good luck in your apartment search.

Sedulia said...

I live in the 16th-- it's not so bad. A lot of normal people live there too, Meg!

There are a lot of chambres de service that have been made into apartments. Have you tried the CROUS

http://www.cnous.fr/_vie_32.htm

which is for students? Good luck, anyway. Don't forget that most landlords dream of a tenant like you.

chamaret said...

I stay in the 18th near Montmartre cemetary, off the beaten track, shops, locals and lively in it's own way...cheaper too. I read Murder in Montmartre, a mystery by one of Terrance Gelenter's 'authors' and it takes place in the same area...a great read. Now I have to find the first in the series, Murder in the Marais...I'm hooked

ParisBreakfasts said...

THe 16th = UGH for me too
But a great cheap haircut there makes me reconsider :)
Have you checked Craig's List: Paris?
Bonne Chance

le Meg said...

Craig's List was the first thing I checked, PB. The craziest apartments to be rented in Paris can be found on Craig's List. And by crazy, I mean nasty, over-priced, and "lodging for companionship" crazy!

Anonymous said...

The 16th is glamourous, chic, and expensive. Sure, there may not be many 'brown' faces, but that's true for many metropolitan areas around the world. New York's Upper East Side isn't exactly the 'Boogie Down Bronx' of J.Lo's previous life.

I love the 16th and its wonderful charm. If you like the 'Hood, that's great, but in that case, you should consider La Courneuve or Seine St. Denis or Clichy: I hear they're 'lovely' this time of the year :-p

Anonymous said...

I just moved to the 16th and I need a haircut bad and cheap. Where can I get this cheap haircut you are talking about. Does the scotswomen cut mens hair?

Anonymous said...

Hello. I, too, just moved to the 16th and am looking for a place to get my haircut. If you do not wish to publicize the Scotswoman's name on your blog, would you feel comfortable e-mailing it to my private e-mail address. Otherwise, I would be very grateful to anyone for any recommendations.

Thanks. Here's an e-mail address for the names anyone wishes to share: pritti-anna@libero.it.