Monsieur Fixit et la barbe de feu

One of the hardest things about adjusting to life in France was learning the spots. I mean, it’s quite obvious where to go if you want a crepe, wine, any type of fromage or some cigs. But for example, what’s the French equivalent of Target? Does such a place exist? What about Franco-Bed, Bath & Beyond? Is that out there somewhere? Sometimes I’d consult Google, sometimes ask neighbors, and other times just give up in frustration and scour Amazon.fr.

But when I moved into my Paris apartment, the tiles on the wall of our bathroom were a hideous leaf and flower motif that was shameful to the eyes. Driven by their fugliness, I searched far and wide, and successfully discovered French Home Depot. Its name: Castorama. It was located right near the Eiffel tower, so Max and I metro-ed over and scurried inside. We found some pleasant gray tile paint, a new bathroom rug, and all sorts of other goodies that one might impulse buy at a French Home Depot.

And when we got up to the front, behold! A handsome, hardworking redbeard running the checkout line. It was truly a great day. He scanned all the items we needed to make our bathroom better, and furrowed his brow in concentration. He seemed like a catch, this one. So if any of you reading this find yourself in Paris, make your way to the Castorama near metro Bir Hakeim, and snag this bearded gem. Oh and here’s a bonus shot of my bathroom, post tile paint. So much betta.

Barbe rouge et vin rouge

And boom, we've finally reached the Paris times. This striking redbeard was found shortly after we made the move. So in SF, we were living in a furnished apartment. Which means we moved to Paris with basically nothing aside from our clothes, trinkets, pug, and a keyboard piano. When we arrived, we had to buy everything. And an unfurnished apartment in France is like, really empty. We had to buy a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, faucets, light fixtures, all the normal stuff, like bed, couch, coffee table, EVERYTHING. When you don't speak the language, this is an especially difficult task. Also, you don't really know where to get anything, or where to start looking. You don't even know the word for what you're looking for sometimes. It was stressful. 

But on this particular day, we were on a canapé (couch) hunt. I'd been looking around for awhile, and knew what I was after. Ikea, Conforama, Maisons du Monde, and the other usual suspects had failed me, so I'd finally decided on a comfy, L-shaped gray couch from Bo Concept. It was Sunday, so the only Bo Concept open was near Chatelet. Getting my husband Max to pull the trigger on any expensive purchase is not easy, so by the time we'd picked the couch, bartered the price, and finally paid, I was jubilant. The couch ordeal wore us out, so we wandered around in search of a good bite and chill spot. We settled at a Thai place. Lucky for us, a fiery redbeard also decided to eat at that Thai place, and he sat at the table next to us. I didn't want to interrupt his meal, so I had Max snap a quick shot, right as the redbeard was being spoon-fed by his lady. Perfect timing.

La première redbeard

I've always had a bit of a fascination with redheaded folk, but it wasn't until the past few years that I began to focus on the bearded variety. It happened in an instant. It was one of those euphoric moments, where everything is magic.

I was at Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma, California. Some friends and I had ventured north to swing by the brewery for a flight of beers, and then proceed on to a corn maze. There was live music, people dancing, and then I saw him. A redbeard so distinguished and prominent that I was forced to gape in wonder. I eyed him for a bit, pointed him out to my friends, then made some creepy attempts to take a photograph of his magnificence. 

The spotting of this man is what began my quest to capture ginger beards of the world. He set the standard. I wish so badly that I could go back in time and get a better picture, perhaps interview him a little, really just a get a sense of how he feels about his impressive bristles. Just looking at that thing, you can tell it's been loved. He definitely grooms it, maybe oils it even.

Anyway, seeing this guy was a total Baader-Meinhof situation for me (Baader-Meinhof = when a thing you just found out about suddenly seems to pop up everywhere). I started seeing redbeards constantly. And eventually, I began collecting them. Now I'm living in Paris, France, traveling often, and there are beards of rouge wherever I look. I must say, it's far more awkward to ask someone if I can take a photo of their beard in my broken French ("Je peux prendre une photo de votre barbe rousse?"), but I'm getting better.