JEALOUS OF JANE
Jane Fonda was on French television last night, promoting her new book, "Ma Vie," which, in French, is a straight translation of the book's English-language title, "My Life." She was the guest on France 2's "Vivement Dimanche" (roughly, "Sunday Live"), a talk show with not one but three (male) hosts, one of whom--the French equivalent of Larry King--had been specially invited.
Mostly the hosts did all the talking. They praised Jane profusely and summed up for her the major points of interest in her book. They read aloud a seven-page letter from a fan, who compared Jane to Christ. They fawned and cooed. Jane listened politely, and, when the occasional question was directed her way, she responded. In flawless French.
I knew Jane had been married for some time as a young woman to French film director Roger Vadim, but I wasn't prepared for the confidence of her French-language delivery, the near-perfect accent, or the currency of idiom and syntax. And, of course, she looked fabulous. A perfect coiffe, understated make-up, a flattering green wool bolero jacket, and perfect posture. In her composure, she reminded me of the new adjective I learned the other day: "feutre." It means to be subtly elegant, like felt.
I admit it. I was riveted....and jealous. Certainly, Jane has her history, her fault lines, her blemishes. But, if I ever reach the point in my life where I can appear, calm and confident, in a public forum in France, answering questions in perfect French, I'll be content.