Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Official...

(Photo courtesy of Le Journal du Dimanche)

France's Sunday newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche
confirmed something that I've been thinking for years, with this front page headline:

FRANCE IGNORES SUN DANGER

The headline and two page article about skin cancer increasing and how the French are ignorant when it comes to protecting themselves from the sun was like having a big present wrapped with a beautiful ribbon dropped into my lap!

I just know I'll be refering to this newspaper article for...the rest of my life in France!

You see, La Mom and her expat friends have been on the receiving end of far too many smarty remarks about how ridiculous we are protecting our kids from the sun.

And then there's the passive-agressive approach witnessed by Texas Mom. Her kids just spent a month on vacation with grand-maman in Cannes. When Texas Mom picked them up, not only were their faces dark brown, but their noses and eyelids were still sunburned! While emptying their suitcase she found the bottle of SPF 50 pediatric sunblock she packed unopened and in it's original packaging.

French Mother-in-Law: 1, Texas Mom: 0. Can you say 'what the heck' in French?

Tanning is a national sport here. At la rentrée, when people come back from their long summer vacations, Paris turns into one big tanfest. Everyone - granparents, the local butcher, the newspaper kiosk salesman, French poodles, and even small children are all competing to hear, "Oh la la! What a nice tan you have!" The deeper and darker, the better.

So I've decided to do my part to help educate zee French! I'm going to photocopy this article and give it to all of my expat friends to whip out when we hear comments from the Frenchies like these every summer:

Why doesn't she just dress them in winter coats to go swimming."
(Muttered behind my back as I was dressing the French Fries in UV protectant swim shirts)

"You never let the kids do anything. Why can't they play in the sandbox? It's hot outside."
(Of course it's hot, it's 1PM and the sandbox has zero shade, why would I let them go out there even with sunblock on?)

"Why do you waste so much time putting sunblock on them? They don't need it. They're white, some color is what they need!"

"A tan is a sign of social standing. It's shows everyone that you've been on vacation."

"What do they need hats for? The sun is out, it's not raining."
(My point exactly)

And my favorite comment of all courtesy of my very own Big Cheese,

"Lay off the sunblock! I'm sick of being the only one who has kids coming back from vacation white!"

Looks like I have a long road ahead of moi, but education begins at home right?

19 comments:

Under the Influence said...

That woman in the photo looks like she has a tumor starting on her thigh. I'm sure it's melanoma!

vicki archer said...

So true - they do love a tan, xv.

Jennifer said...

Woah. If I didn't think the French mentality was a 180 from their American counterparts, then this article would've changed my mind! Talk about french fries!

Sarah Alaoui said...

haha love it.

GutsyWriter said...

My Father lives in Paris and has surgery for melanoma. Is that not bad
enough?

StyleSpy said...

God bless you and good luck. Even here in central Texas, where the sun is so hot it feels like someone is pounding you with giant waffle iron, almost no one I know wears enough sunscreen or re-applies it ater it's worn off. I've stopped making excuses, I just use the energy I'd otherwise spend on a retort imagining their leathery visages at 50.

ModernMom said...

I'm one of the Moms who brings my kids home from a trip down south and they are the same milky white (almost) as when they left. Pretty sure it means job well done!
It's only a matter of time before my young girls decide they MUST have a tan so I'm protectg their skin as long as I can.

Anonymous said...

Stay strong. My beautiful brother died of Melanoma at 35 years old -after two very ugly years fighting the disease. Its a terrible way to die - trust me.

Also, you look younger longer if you don't bake yourself.

Julia@SometimesLucid said...

That's pretty funny on your husbands behalf :)

I lather the kids up all summer but they always end the summer with a nice tan anyways (and no burns for the most part, thankfully).

Margarita said...

Hilarious, I'm all for a good tan - but that means with sunscreen and NO burning... craziness.

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Stick with it. It means you are a awesome and educated Mom. I can't believe they still do this. And they smoke too! I love a tan ( I look so much better) but gave it up a few years ago when I got basal cell removal on my fair forehead.

a H.I.T. said...

You could always go all toddler and tiara and start self-tanning your kids... Just a french thought for you to ponder :)

Monkey Girl said...

Growing up in the 1970's in California, tanning was the 'thing'. My mother's friends literally fried themselves and always raised an eyebrow or made snide remarks every time she put on sunblock (very expensive and hard to find in 1974)and wore a hat 24/7.
The result...
My Mom looks 15 years younger than all her friends.
They are now all getting cancer spots removed from their face and chest while my mother has the skin of a 45 year old and she's 67!!

She doesn't hear any snide remarks now.

Katie said...

I hated my mom for lathering me up - but now it is something I refuse to do without. Even here in France, and I have managed to get the best tan I have ever had here in france, even better than when I lived in San Diego. So let them know, it's possible :)

SuZ said...

See, I'm pasty white... and very proud of it. I'm not always religious about the sunscreen, but whenever she's out in the pool or at the beach, I slather every inch of my daughter with it.

Julia@SometimesLucid said...

By the way, I just meme'd you :)

Ali said...

Ugh, that picture. Looks overbaked to me!

Amanda said...

I live in foggy San Francisco and apply sunblock to myself, my husband, my kids, my dog and cats every day.

We all look like ghosts but hoping the pasty white look will be in again soon....

Laura said...

Yes, stay strong! ... but even if they don't worry about the cancer risk, aren't they worried about all the impending wrinkles?

 

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