Sometimes a woman wants to be the mistress not the wife. I know you know what I mean. And these qualities are not cultivated in those tasteful stiff sort of places overlooking grand monuments. No something a bit edgier dare I even say seedy is needed. To reawaken this inner goddess. So what better location than the former playground of the likes of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso and Josephine Baker. The ninth arrondissement. Where striptease was invented. Et du famous quartier de Pigalle. The almost former red-light district whose old hostess bars and massage parlours are being replaced by artisanal cocktail bars, vintage everything shops and edgy boutiques. The “pipole” are now hanging out around here. That’s French slang for hip beautiful or famous. C’est parfait.
I reckon I’ve sorted out a perfect approach to this area for you. There needs to be a balance of sorts. A mix of grit and gorgeous. To push the comfort zone a bit. You just need to bring some sassy and maybe a willingness to look with different eyes. And if any of this makes you feel guilty or uneasy I can assure you it’s all actually a mindfulness thing. Called TIG. Take in the good.
Because our mind-brain has an inherent negative bias we need training to be positive. To notice the good stuff. The way around this unhelpful bias is though the body. Though the senses. We feel before we think. Just by the weeniest bit. So we need to allow ourselves pleasurable experiences. Notice them. Feel them. Savour them. Frequently. It makes the brain feel safe. Relaxed.
When we consistently notice the good our brain changes. Stops being on the lookout so consistently for bad stuff. As if it were still those bad old cave man days. Which is what the brain defaults too. Take away point is this. If we can feel good more we worry less. Suffer less. We have a brain that can become happier.
But lets spice it up a bit. Increase the energy. Change the emphasis. From not only the good. To noticing the nice. And the naughty. Ok I admit some Neon maybe involved as well. As I said despite the gentrification of Pigalle it’s all still a bit tawdy in some parts.
That’s actually the thing that’s great about this area. Its seedy origins scream at you along the main boulevards. Yet just around those corners are quiet squares. Elegant buildings. There are contrasts everywhere. Tacky and tasteful. Rundown and renewed. Vintage and modern. Safe and a bit scary. This is an area where the opposites are always in play. Just like a that woman we actually are really are.
Now how to begin. A naughty night or two that’s a little bit nice requires the right sort of sleeping arrangements. A palace fit for raiment. Rapture. Paris style.
Straight away I thought. Le Hotel Amour. The name says it all. And the signage is old style neon Pink. You can’t miss it. Inspired by those Japanese love hotels. It’s apparently the offspring of an encounter between a graffiti artist and a nightlife entrepreneur. There’s a playful and erotic ambience rather than anything overly romantic. But as I said that’s what this area has always been about. So enjoy the risqué black and white photography, the dark corridors and the novelty of a phallic driven design hidden in the carpet. Then take your time in the clawfoot bathtub with the windows flung open to the inner leafy courtyard. Listen to the chatter of locals who flock to the restaurant. Theres no TV or Wi-Fi so the entertainment is all about you.
However I do have another suggestion. A fantasy Hotel. Only it’s real. Exactly the place I’d choose for such encounters. For ravishment. Actually I’m planning this for the next time Mr G is with me in Paris. But I’ll share my secret with you. Maison Souquet. A self-proclaimed ‘temple to hedonism’. Just thinking about it makes me feel breathless. It’s a few steps away from the Moulins Rouge behind an unmarked and very unassuming facade. Just two red lanterns and an awning. Discreetly reserved parking out the front. I was walking by on the look out for photos to make and for some reason noticed it. Peeped in. Then with the help of Mr Goggle realised what was in there. Oh la la. Opulence and indulgence. Go on. Click the link. You’ll be tempted for sure.
Now that’s sorted lets talk cocktails. To loosen up. And because goddesses need fruit with their alcohol. There’s endless choice if you choose to leave the hotel. And quite frankly you don’t need to. That Library Bar looks and sounds divine. Still there’s Glass and Lulu White nearby. All worth noticing.
The rest of the time. Those daylight hours. Its doesn’t matter really. Be a bit Parisian. Make it’s a late start. Walk slowly. Have a long coffee. Maybe at Le Bal. Me. I’d head to KB Cafeshop for the best flat white in Paris. Since I’m Australian I feel qualified to say this. And to order the carrot cake as well. Only needs some fresh passionfruit icing to be perfection. Because there’s something very juicy about the scent of fresh passion fruit.
Back back to Pigalle and remembering that thing called sexuality. A practise of both naughty and nice. Because that’s what it’s about. Being both. So just being nice isn’t going to cut it. You know all sweet and pleasant and the people pleasing thing. It’s a problem. Especially for women. Erodes our power. The ability to know and say what we want. Like what pleasures we prefer. As Simone de Beauvoir said. “on ne nait pas femme on le deviant’. One is not born a woman one becomes one.
Cultivating the seductress is about accessing a pool of sexual energy that we need. Not just in relationships or for sex. Its to heal ourselves. Especially our relationships with our bodies. It’s to put ourselves more fully out into the world. It’s about creativity. Passion. Aliveness. Radiance. In a divinely feminine sense.
So I do have a book suggestion for those of you brave enough read it. Advanced students might dare it in public. Pussy. Yes you read that correctly. From the creator of the School of Womanly Arts. Regena Thomashauer. This is sassy New York style female empowerment. Encourages a courtesan approach. Which is quite French really. I’ll leave you to discover it but will share this message. You need to know pleasure. To be able to receive pleasure. To be able to give pleasure. It’s one of the dark arts. This book is an initiation. Aimer ta chatte. Literally and metaphorically. And you can teach it to yourself. Give to yourself. To have more to give. To the world and to others.
Que Petrelles. Because all this works up an appetite. There are a few gorgeous places to eat but you want somewhere that mistresses are likely to be sitting at the next table. Oh goodness. This is an absolutely sensual experience. Just off the beaten path. Subdued lighting. White tablecloths. Roses. Brocante style. Stacks of books. Mismatched old chairs. Like an art work. Quirky Paris. Personal and small. Cat and dog in situ. Vegetables draped across waxed wood. Handwritten menu. Food fit for feeding the inner Goddess.
Afterwards. Well I guess it depends. Dancing is always good. You don’t need to go anywhere tacky or loud or even crowded if you don’t want to. There’s always that gorgeous themed room at Maison Souquet. Where you should put on a favourite sound track. Turn down the light. Take off your clothes. Move your body to the music purely for the pleasure of it. Dancing for yourself.
That’s practising nice and naughty.
Be the Rose. Bernadette.