What’s the French Word for “Maneater”?

Far be it from me to fail to comment about something that’s none of my business, is way beyond my small social circle and doesn’t even take place on the continent I live.  I’m talking, of course, about the paparazzi-shrouded romance between French president Nicolas Sarkozy and former model/singer/heiress Carla Bruni.

I’d read accounts of Carla Bruni, affectionately nicknamed “The Maneater,” for years.  She’s the one who sashayed off with Mick Jagger when he was still married to Jerry Hall.  When she learned how upset Hall was, Bruni lectured her through the tabloids about how insufficiently European and unsophisticated she was to care so much, to be so sadly possessive and jealous.  Clearly, in Bruni’s eyes, Hall was just an overgrown Texas hayseed who didn’t know she should order her pasta al dente and her men already married.

More recently, Bruni took up with an older Frenchman, then dumped him for his married son.  (Who says Harold Robbins didn’t write non-fiction?)  When the son’s estranged wife wrote a novel with a rather unflattering portrait of Bruni in it, Bruni commented she’d rather be a predator than an old hag.

All this — and Bruni’s recent interview in a European magazine, which pointed out that a monogamous relationship was an impossibility for her.  However, she noted, she was always “faithful to myself.”

Have I mentioned I dislike Bruni?

Eh bien!, as the French would say.  As I mentioned earlier, it’s really none of my business.  I mean, I’m not even French.  But Bruni strikes me as the kind of girl you go to high school with who’s always the class queen, madly pursued by the whole football team and half the male faculty.  You go back to your 20-year reunion, hoping against hope that she’s obese and slovenly, with a tragic case of eczema, been jilted by her latest boyfriend (a minor member of the New Jersey mafia), is missing a few teeth (meth mouth, maybe?), and wears a tattered bathrobe and moth-eaten fuzzy slippers all day as she struggles to keep up with the intellectual rigors of afternoon soap operas.

But, oh, no!  There she is.  She’s still gorgeous, she’s the CEO of an international corporation, she reads Sartre to relax, she speaks six languages, she’s a killer on the squash court, and you begin to question why on earth you ever wanted to go to your high school reunion, since it turned out to be even worse than high school, for God’s sake.

Still, it’s none of my business.  I have only two comments to make:

1) Does Sarkozy really think he’s going to win the female vote in France with “The Maneater” at his side?

2) And a little advice to Bruni, vis a vis her preferring to be a predator instead of an old hag: Just hang around and live long enough, honey.  Eventually, you’ll get to be both.  

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

4 comments… add one
  • Guest Link

    Maneater in French, I believe is “mangeuse des hommes”. A lot of French women are like this and their men simply either stay with them or break up with them, rather than be verbally and/or physically abusive with them like American men do. In other words, French men are emotionally sensitive, shy, and vulnerable and French women are more unemotional and insensitive. American women may like the sensitive, shy, vulnerable French men while American men will avoid the unemotional and insensitive French women, thinking she’s a dyke, butch, or b***h. (You know how overtly macho and aggressive American men are to French men?)

    Anyway, since “Madame” Carla speaks six languages (Can be tolerated in French culture, but not in American culture.), it can really make her a maneater because women who speak more than one or two languages are more prone to cheating on their partners than men who are multilingual because women are easily tempted by other men who speak the same languages they’re speaking and cannot resist that temptation that well, whereas multilingual men can with women who speak the same languages they’re speaking. It’s easy for men to resist temptation. In addition to that I heard on the radio that multilingual women divorce more often than multilingual men because multilingual women are more prone to affairs. And they attract jealous and possessive partners (who don’t have the the same abilities) as well. It’s dangerous and it’s a double standard.

  • anon Link

    Correction. Mangeuse d’hommes.

  • Guest Link

    Being a maneater is acceptable in France but not in America, which is why I would rather live in France during the summer because women there are not ridiculed and abused much for their sexuality unlike women in America. I mean, people in America treat maneaters a lot harshly.

  • LR Link

    French women are often maneaters and can get away with doing so.

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