Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lusty Month of…October?

Broadway composers Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe celebrated springtime in classic, toe-tapping style with ‘The Lusty Month of May’ (Camelot). Famously interpreted by Julie Andrews, the lively ditty heralds the whimsical romance of a season dedicated to rebirth, falling in love or, as the song suggests, lust.

In Paris, the French pride themselves on their savoir faire in the art of seduction year round, and while lust may permeate the air as the birds and the bees do their thing, it isn’t reserved exclusively for when the flowers are in bloom. Sometimes referred to as France’s real New Year, La Rentrée – which takes place from the beginning of September to the beginning of October – is when French schoolchildren replace bathing suits and suntan lotion with pencils, books and teachers’ dirty looks, while French professionals readopt their winter work schedules and fall back into the daily grind. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s France, after all, is one that gets up early (his election slogan being ‘La France qui se lève tôt’), one that works more to earn more (‘travailler plus pour gagner plus’).

But even with their noses to the grindstone, the French don’t leave lust by the wayside. Bold and invigorating in the springtime, hot and lazy through the summer months, Paris is just as sexually charged in the fall – just in a different way. The women, fresh from shopping sprees at the city’s grands magasins, are showing less skin, but remain sultry and provocative in their well-cut, ever-so-suggestive business attire. Frenchmen, masters at looking artfully unkempt, run their hands through their wavy locks and don their requisite three-quarter length coats, fashionably tied scarves and stylish Italian shoes – blending smart with sexy to fend off the appearance of being rigid or coincé. And everyone – be they married or single, on the street, in the métro or at the comptoir of their favorite café – is checking each other out.

“Have you noticed all of the nice-looking men walking about?” gushes a local magazine editor. “They seem to be everywhere.”

Indeed they are, the furtive-glancing, ‘oh là là-ing’ lot of them.

Kirsten Lobe, author of Paris Hangover (St. Martin’s Griffin) observed that one’s libido rises in direct proportion to one’s proximity to the City of Light: the minute you step off the plane at Charles de Gaulle, you don’t just feel the sex in the air…you feel sexier. Be it February, May or October, in Paris, it’s always a lusty month.

Good news for those who want to keep warm during a rainy hiver.