I don’t know whether to admire the French for quantifying such an abstract concept and ratifying it into their vernacular or to be dismayed and concerned. The concept in question is called ‘le qu’en dira-t-on’ and it literally means “What will they say of it?”. This posturing attitude infects all of French society. Sure, we Americans have a similar thing. Something that’s a cross between keeping up with the Joneses and simple peer pressure. But it seems to me that if you were ever to bring this up in our public square you’d meet with either lip service or thinly-veiled derision.
Let’s change the game. Stop playing it. We need to give a good example to the French—and the rest of the world while we’re at it. We need to stop doing things for the muse and correct our motives.
(Merci to my friend Josh for turning me on to this)