If you live in Paris long enough, you’ll definitely meet a Jennifer. “Jennifer” is La Mom’s code name for the typical American girl with the Stars’n’Stripes in her eyes and apple pie on her hips.
Jennifer’s story usually goes something like this – she came to the Sorbonne on her junior year abroad, fell in love with the city, fell in love with a French man, and voilà! Ten years and three kids later, she’s living the high life on the Avenue Foch with a live-in nanny, an ugly-ass French bulldog, and a big-shot accountant husband she never sees.
It doesn’t bother me that we always get stares from the locals at a café playdate because she’s blabbing away in English with the volume turned up to eleven. I can even deal with her soccer mom attire.
But I’m sick of hearing Jennifer spout off about how much money she has. She’s all about the fric (pronounced “freak”). The thing that gets me is how clueless she is about the life she’s leading. She thinks it’s perfectly normal to own a 4-bedroom duplex overlooking the Invalides and vacation at the family château.
The way she talks (not to mention spends), you’d think she and her husband while away their weekends rubbing their hands together over a huge pile of cash as their kids gleefully toss solid gold coins in the air.
Turns out, that’s not so far from the truth.
Here’s what went down at last week’s mom’s night out:
Jennifer: You would not believe the problems I’ve been having with our kitchen renovations. François is telling me that I really can’t go one centime over 150 K. What am I supposed to do with that kind of money?
(Sidebar: Big Fry went to Jennifer’s middle kid’s birthday party last year and La Mom noticed that she had a built-in Nespresso machine in her kitchen – what more does she want? Platinum sinks?)
California mom (whispering to La Mom): That’s more than the down payment we have saved up for our new apartment!
Jennifer: François always flips out about money, though. He keeps saying that we’re going to go bankrupt! I mean, please – I’ve seen the gold ingots in the safe!
(At this point I tuned out the rest of Jennifer’s monologue because I was imagining François’ panic room lined with gold bars like a miniature Fort Knox. Clearly this accountant has been squirreling away a little extra somethin'-somethin' from Daddy Sarkozy.)
Jennifer: Yeah, he’s really paranoid. When I tell people we paid cash for our apartment, he goes, “Mais non! You cannot say tings like that! I will go to pree-son!”
As we were leaving the restaurant, my good friend from Chicago pulled me aside. “Man, if François knew Jennifer was talking like that in public, he would drop dead of a heart attack. Did you know that girl at the end of the table is married to a bigwig at the Trèsor Public?”
Gold ingots in the safe – 1 million euros. Ratting yourself out to the French tax inspectors – priceless.