“Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial” ~ Oscar Wilde
I was sitting in the back of a taxi on my way to what would be my first night working as an intern at the acclaimed restaurant Citrus Etoile. It was a restaurant that was located just off of the famous Boulevard Champs-Elysees, and provided a fine dining experience to the nines for its welcomed guests. I could feel the nerves pulsating throughout my body. I was wearing a tight black dress and four-inch high heels with smoky grey eye shadow, and had spent an hour straightening my hair perfectly. Black charcoal penciling bordered my tear ducks with thick lines of eyeliner. During my interview, the General Manager, David, had told me very directly, “Krista, I expect that you will dress like a glamour girl every night. By this I mean, dressing sexy and walking seductively. High heels, make-up and tight outfits.” When this was said to me I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. I was clearly in France. I don’t think in America anyone would dare say this to a woman during an interview, otherwise they would fear being sued for sexual harassment. Of course I was in France. Having a job in the wine world was not just about knowledge. It was about beauty, seduction, allure and obviously the art of selling wine had layers behind it. I had witnessed this a lot in Paris so far while living in the city. All of the waitresses serving at the chic swanky hotels and restaurants dressed in very sexy form fitting attire and walked a certain way all while their faces showed pouty expressions. Working in this industry was as much about sex appeal as it was about food and wine. I had no idea what I was in store for the next six weeks, but I was anxiously awaiting the feeling when I was comfortable at the restaurant and in a routine. I hated my current state of intense nerves; I had anxiety about several thoughts that were creeping through my brain. A fine dining French restaurant in Paris… what was expected of me nightly? I didn’t even speak the language. Was my sommelier knowledge regarding wine thus far enough to actually be of service to this restaurant? Could I help English-speaking guests with fabulous wine selections to compliment their meal? I was pondering all of these questions rapidly and all I could do was remain hopeful and keep telling myself it was only six weeks of my life.