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1.28.1873: Birth of a Bad Ass

File:SidonieGabrielleColette.jpg

Total baller
(Source: Wikipedia)

Today in 1873, the French writer Colette was born. Her greatest claim to fame is the novel Gigi, which was made into 2 films, 1 musical (which didn’t do so hot), and 1 play, which served as a springboard to success for an undiscovered Audrey Hepburn. Colette led quite the baller lifestyle, writing, acting, singing, converting her second husband’s estate into a hospital to treat the wounded of WWI, and hiding Jewish friends in WWII. She traded in husbands twice, finally sticking with a third one, but not before having multiple affairs with both men and women. Yet she found time to write 50 novels by the time she died in 1954. Evidently she wasn’t the greatest mom, as she abandoned her daughter to a British nanny and had an affair with a stepson. Can’t have it all, amirite, ladies? If you’re going to write 50 novels, a little something’s got to give. Her writing reveals her spirited approach to life (and sex). From a 1983 review of The Collected Stories of Colette comes this delightful quote, among others:

In the magnificent story ”The Kepi,” she describes the various stages by which a mild middle-aged woman is transformed by her love affair with a young officer. Two sophisticated Frenchmen comment on the woman’s transformation: ” ‘She fondly supposed that being the 46-year-old mistress of a young man of 25 was a delightful adventure.’ ‘Whereas it’s a profession,’ said the other. ‘Or rather, a highly skilled sport.’ ”

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