Friday, April 17, 2009

Poodles on Parade

Omidog. Sometimes I just love American life.

The French may have invented joie de vivre, but we Americans act it out in such a fun and frolicking fabulous frou-frou fashion:

I have just gotten word of the Annual French Poodle Parade in Santa Barbara, California, part of French week celebrating Bastille Day. This year the festivities for fluffy canines with a certain je ne sais quoi will be held on July 12. If we're lucky there might be an appearance by Mademoiselle Pseudo-Poodle, a Great Dane with crepe paper-puffs.

So that gives me less than three months to a) buy or borrow a poodle and b) get a ticket to Santa Barbara, or c) start a copy-cat (copy-dog?) Poodle Parade here on the East Coast.


Fifi Flowers said...

FUN photo... let us know when you will be in the Poodle Parade!

Autolycus said...

Dogs in drag? The jokes could be endless....

PS the word verification is "human": spooky.

Isabelle said...

I have mixed feelings about this French poodle parade, Polly!

The fact that it's organized for Bastille Day is very reductive to me. Just because they are called "French" poodles make them seem French... Why don't they have people dressed up as French fries or French toast then?

I don't know, you might think I'm terribly grumpy, but this was my first reaction.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Fifi,I think this is a parade for you to sketch!

Autolycus,I do think it will be some silly fun, lots of tongue-in-cheek humor.

Isabelle, Great comment. I understand your reaction completely. It's not grumpy at all!! In some ways, the parade is reductive. But here's my take on it, off the top of my head. I think if one did a word-association quiz with Americans with the word "French," the top ten responses might include: wine, Eiffel Tower, beret, baguette, cafe, poodle, sexy, cuisine, fashion, cheese... soemthing like that. (I welcome others' thoughts on this!)

We take a distilled concept and then spin it out into a new concept not very related to the original.

So maybe in the same way that many French think of cowboys and pom-pom girls (cheerleaders) as quintessentially American, poodles seem iconically French to many Americans.

FWIW, I did write a post a while back expressing my American surprise at seeing so few poodles in Paris.

And Americans seem to LOVE to celebrate Bastille Day, usually in more genuine attempts than this. It's just a funny quirky spin on a French celebration and certainly not trying to be derogatory: after all, it's organized by the local French club, trying to get more people to be interested in France. Sometimes I guess it takes funny "light" events to draw Americans in. We're not likely to get a big crowd with a 'conference-debat' as would be the case in France!

Virginia said...

LOVE your blog!!! A reader on my Paris Through My Lens blog sent me your address. I will check in often. I'm off for a month the 23 of May! Get working on that book, I want one!

YSLGuy said...

That's too funny! I can't wait to go to the big Bastille Day in NYC again this year. Also, along the lines of Bastille Dog, my pup's bday is on Bastille Day (although he is not a French Poodle)

Meg said...

Reductive, perhaps. However, the French Poodle is considered one of the most intelligent breeds so that's something (granted, I wouldn't take it as a compliment if someone said "you're as smart as an intelligent dog" but you know what I mean.) Anything "French" is a symbol of luxury to us Americans, that's why we always use (and abuse) the "French" descriptive - gives the impression of quality, exclusivity and artistry. And I'd go to a French Eclair parade if we had one. One can dream...

Polly - maybe this is why you didn't see many poodles in Paris:,2933,481426,00.html

C├ęcile Qd9 said...

busy weeks to come !

Starman said...

I always feel so sorry for the poor animals to have to put up with all that shaving and combing, but then I read that poodles need to be groomed often because of their type of 'hair' and the way it grows. I think you would probably see more poodles in the rural areas of France than the cities since they're considered hunting dogs.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Virginia -- Thanks! Enjoy Paris and give it a kiss for me. Can't wait to check out your blog.

Meg and Starman, Yes poodles are intelligent and they do suffer such coiffure indignities. We had two standard poodles when I was grwoing up, but somehow I think the quitessential "French poodle" is, in the mind's eye, in the mid-to-small range. A post on that and other icons is in the works.

Here's my post about poodles in paris

and Meg, j'adore the idea of a French eclair parade!!

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