Miriam Goi

One of the first things Olivia told me when we reconnected in Paris, while we were discussing the gloominess of the city, is how, in a place like that, she would have to remind herself that it’s okay to smile, almost on a daily basis. We smiled a lot while chatting a hour away, walking along the Seine and sitting on some chairs at the Jardin des Tuileries. I was stunned by her sense of style, and the pink makeup she was wearing. She seemed like a vision among an ocean of grey, black, and brown attires, when she met me in front of the Pompidou.

I wanted to find a way to recreate that sense of wonder, while also reflecting with Olivia and by myself on what it means to embody femininity and masculinity in an urban setting that is changing culturally, but not necessarily on a structural level, and that can come across as hostile as a result of this inner conflict. 

Is there a place for beauty, for dancing, for playing around, for being silly and joyous and visibly out there, in Paris and in other cities? Yes and no. It depends on the time of the day, the space you’re inhabiting, who you’re with, and so many other factors. 

I certainly know that mornings are still strongly dominated by productivity, and the paths that so many of us have to take in autopilot mode to reluctantly get to their workplace. Oh, what a dream to be adults playing in the middle of the street at 11 am, Olivia. Thank you for joining me in treating these streets, bridges, lampposts, cobblestones, and mirrors, as a playground. As it should be.

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