The subject of glamour came out of a conversation last Saturday with my first and best American friend who lives in Paris. Our telephone exchanges, according to our Reasons-For-Living-In-France, are long, confusing, non-sensical and, oh yes, long.
They may believe our chats are non-sensical, but that is only because unlike the two of us, they are not blessed with monkey brains. We start a normal conversation in which a word triggers a different thought and we veer off in another direction and on and on it goes. I’ll spare you the details and the detours.
In the midst of one of our digressions the other day, she said to me, “You know the word ‘glamour’ is absolutely verboten in the world of magazines these days, in fact you have to be careful even using it in conversation.”
“What are you talking about?” said I.
Then I argued glamour has nothing to do with bling and bad taste, glamour is exciting, fascinating, and is not related to the economy or money or status or any of those dreaded topics that can lead friends into real arguments.
“I know, I know, I agree with you,” she said. “I think of glamour as something out of the 30s or maybe even the 50s.” And off we went on that tangent.
Meanwhile, I think of glamour as something entirely different — epoch-less and ageless, but rare.
Let’s begin with the Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary definition (we might as well start with the lexicology experts, n’est-ce pas?): Glamour — “the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, esp. by a combination of charm and good looks.” And, “magic or enchantment. . .”
There we have it, another one of those “I know it when I see it,” qualities. It seems to me a glamourous woman (or man for that matter) has a star-dusted aura about them, but I can think of few celebrities today I would call glamourous. Maybe it’s because I think glamour also entails mystery and we know waaaaay too much about celebrities.
Talk about too much information.
Also, God-given beauty for me does not equal glamour. I think Catherine Deneuve for example is beautiful, I don’t find her particularly glamourous. (I’m sure many of you disagree.)
Pictured here are a few women who come to mind when I think of the word “glamour.” If more come to me in the middle of the night — and perhaps you’ll help me — this will become a two-part series. Top to bottom: Dame Helen Mirren; Christine Lagarde, France’s finance minister; Kristin Scott Thomas (I think she has some magic); Catherine Nay, journalist and biographer; and of course, Ines de la Fressange strolling with her two daughters.
Ed. Note: I thought this was going to be easy, finding glamourous women. I’ve stayed away from politicians and adhered to women who are still on this earth — no easy task — and wish I could have thought of more. Help!