This one is for Churlita.
My well-traveled friend, Killer, had warned me before I left that I would be accosted by Italian men. I was excited about this and packed plenty of perfume and wet wipes in anticipation. (Okay- although those two items could relate, they are simply just things I packed). On the plane ride to Italy, I was seated next to Luca. I thought, "Ummm hum. THIS is where it all begins!" It was a long plane ride, Luca was a cutie and he was an insomniac. This meant we had lots of fun with his lap top and his English to Italian program translating dirty sentences to each other. I figured that 9 and 1/2 hours in the air with Luca was the equivalent to 2-3 dates, so I was ready for whatever might come. The mile high club? Breakfast when we land? Snuggling under the Delta blanket? What ever. I'm on vacation.
About 5 hours into the flight, most people were sleeping. Luca got up, wearing his blanket as a cape, and wandered around the plane. His sleep mask was firmly gripped to his forehead. His 5 o'clock shadow was spotty and his skin oily. He looked like the Bollywood Batman. He strolled aimlessly around for half an hour, got booted out of first class and came back to his seat. It was like he had transformed. Instead of being this cute Italian guy, he was some wayward homeless man with poor communication skills, clinging to the discarded items of first class patrons. I was disenchanted.
Kim's sister, who traveled with us, is very pretty. Note to self: Don't travel with very pretty women. Stick with women who are at your level or below. Name the group "The 5-6 Rangers", even if it's just the two of you. No 8's or 9's allowed! 7's welcomed if they don't wear makeup. Even she only got looks, no groping as promised.
I found that in Italy, your attractiveness depends on the situation. Usually, I was just another tourist in the crowd until I was shopping at the street markets. There, I was beautiful! "Oh! Bella! You are so lovely! This green leather handbag would accentuate the green sparkle in your eyes! Please, just try it on so I can watch you hold it. Please, pose like a statue. You look like a Goddess. You are Athena! You are so pretty, but with the handbag, you are unstoppable!" At first, it was fun, then it felt greasy and finally disgusting. "You like this statue of David, hee? He looka like your boyfriend back in America, doesn't he? No? Your boyfriend does not look like the David? But you are so beautiful! You should take the David home with you! It is what you deserve. I charge 12 Euros. For you, because you are so pretty, I give him to you for 10." The lesson form this? Euros are HOT.
Kim got felt up. We were on a train from Naples- which, from everything I read and heard, is a nasty, dirty, crime-ridden town. All I saw was the bus terminal. It was nasty, dirty, and crime-ridden. I saw the guys get on the train. I was watching the one in my car scan the passengers. He never made eye contact, he only looked at people's belongings. Kim was standing in the car ahead. The second pickpocket brushed his hand against her shorts front pocket 3 times before finally giving up. Before the train stopped, she had called me in there with her. She was guarding all of our luggage and felt like my back pack was in danger of being snatched. Hell, at that point, I would have gladly handed it over. My arms were shaky from carrying around a combined total of 95 pounds worth of crap! I knew why she was calling me in there and I was prepared to kick some nads if I had to. It's funny how I really honestly believe I could take on a professional criminal.
Other than staying in the hostile, which I am misspelling, by the way, the only other time I felt like I was being targeted.... let me rephrase.... that I was AWARE of being targeted, was also on a train. Kim and I had separated from her dad and sister. I've told you before that Kim is kind and thoughtful. Being kind and thoughtful, she was helping an older Indian woman load her extremely heavy and overstuffed luggage onto the train. That's stressful, trust me. In doing so, the wheel of the luggage got caught on the bottom of the train and damn it, the wheel came off of the bag! It would be impossible to carry this duffel around. It was the size, weight and shape of Danny Devito.
We did a lot of riding in the "taint" of the rail cars. I'm referring to that area where passengers load and unload on and off of the train. Usually, this was because of my enormous luggage, combined with sometimes overly full cars. So, here is Kim, trying to mail tape this lady's wheel back on her bag, it's 100 degrees in the taint, we have a long ride ahead of us, I'm not sure I had my Cappuccino that morning, and I'll be damned if 3 punks didn't get into the taint with us and start planning. Kim and I made eye contact. The two little ones wouldn't be a problem, but the big one, he was muscular and, you could tell, strong as an ox. They positioned themselves. So did we. Kim and I have instincts. I looked for alarms and started flexing my ankle for nad kicking. She mentally went over the karate moves she had learned from Ralph Machio. We weren't going down without a fight, and they weren't taking Granny down either.
Punks. One with a Mohawk mullet that looked permed in the back. He wore silver shoes and looked like he was born with water on the brain. Giant forehead, eyes wide apart. Fortunately, we intimidated them and they moved to another car at the next stop. They knew better.
So, in summary, I saw some very beautiful men over there, but none that made me look more than 3 times. I will say that most Italian men under 45 seem to be in very good physical condition. I think it's like New York, where you walk so much and there is so much fresh produce around, you exercise a lot and it's easy to choose to eat well. This is a concept I understand, but don't live by. I sometimes drive to get my mail on the way to Chick-Fil-a. Most people are very kind and very patient with Americans. I was impressed with the Italians and could certainly see myself going back for another extended vacation. Next time, maybe, with a group of hideously ugly women, so that I can bring back better stories.