I will fake it until I make it!

All about the escapades and thoughts of a girl who thinks WAY too much for her own good!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Desire

I try to stay away because too much of you is dangerous. But sometimes I can’t control myself and my body actually longs for you; to take you in my mouth; to feel you on my tongue.

Sometimes my mind drifts back to the first time I had you. I think about how surprised I was at how different you were from what I had imagined. I remember how you made me feel; how in my entire life I had never experienced anything like you. Even now, your taste lingers in my mouth.

And, as the spring draws near, my resolve is weakening. I’m finding it harder to maintain my will power and stay away. But how can I be expected to stay away? How can I continue with this self-inflicted abstinence? I don't think I can hold out much longer... Oh gelato you are my vice and my muse!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Little Things

When I first moved to Rome in October of 2009 I was scared to death to get on the bus. But in Rome you NEED the bus to navigate the city. It’s too far to walk everywhere; taking a taxi is way too expensive; and the metro doesn’t get you to enough places. But I didn’t understand how the bus system worked and I was intimidated to even buy a ticket even though I had memorized how to ask for one in Italian. There were just a lot of unknowns in this area, so the whole bus thing was very intimidating to me.

I remember the first time I got on the bus on the correct side of the street and exited the bus at the proper stop. I was filled with self satisfaction. “Yeah, that’s right,” I thought to myself, “I just took the bus by myself… in Rome… without any help!”

When I managed the Roman subway system, AND a bus transfer, AND a walk to the Ikea located in the suburbs of Rome, I really thought I had accomplished something noteworthy. And on the rare occasion when I actually manage to put together a sentence in Italian without any help, I feel like a complete rock star! “I just used the past tense of “to have” in a sentence in Italian! Who wants to touch me?!”

Yes, these are quite the accomplishments for a woman of 39 years! I mean, could you imagine the reaction of your friends in your home country if you announced at a dinner party that you were proud of yourself because that day you rode a bus to the supermarket and you managed, all by yourself, to buy some cheese and vegetables! I dunno, I think my friends in Washington, DC would look at me like I was on crack!

But not here; not when you’re a foreigner living in Italy. Here your fellow ex-pats understand these small victories. They know firsthand the challenges of finding your way in a foreign country. They understand that these little things matter. This, I have to say, is one of the things I absolutely love about my friends here in Florence. There is nothing like having a table full of people shout, “BRAVA, BRAVA” while giving you a round of applause because you’ve managed to piece together the most basic of Italian sentences.

And so, this has been a large part of my life here over the last 5 months; managing the things that seemed so small when I lived in a world I knew; riding a bus, buying a pineapple, learning a new language, making new friends.  But these things, these little things are in no way small. They have taught me immeasurable lessons in humility, in survival, in patience, and in appreciation. And these lessons, no matter how hard to take sometimes are a large part of why I came here in the first place.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

95% of All Italian Men Cheat!

Yep, 95%! At least that’s what I’ve been told REPEATEDLY by Italian men. The first time I heard it, I blew it off with my usual, “yeah, right” response. By the fifth time I heard it I was mumbling, “What, what, wha…” in high-pitched confusion, like my Aunt J from Bean Town.

How could this possibly be true? NINTY-FIVE PERCENT of the Italian male population cheats? I was astounded. The Italian guys sharing this statistic were also astounded… astounded that I actually thought the rate was not that high in the U.S. “No, it’s the same everywhere,” they would say, “You just don't know about it.”

A quiet and defeated “ugh,” came from the back of my throat. Could this possibly be true?

“It’s a good thing,” these Italian men try to convince me. “How? How could a 95% cheating rate possibly be a good thing?” I ask, almost begging for enlightenment.

The compilation of answers is actually interesting. But before I get to sharing them with you, there are some things you need to understand about Italian men first.

In many ways, Italian men are in NO WAYS like men from the U.S. For instance, even with a casual hook up Italian men will treat the women like they are seriously dating. They will “make love” to them on the first night, spouting lines and making moves that rival the best movie scenes ever filmed. They will ask them to sleep over, to snuggle all night, to walk the dog with them in the morning, and they’ll spend the entire next day with them. When you hair is ragged and your makeup is a memory of what it was the night before an Italian man will make you feel like you are the most beautiful woman in the world. But what you have to remember is they will do the exact same thing with the next random girl they hook up with the very next night. Italian men believe in “taking care” of their women; even the hookups or the ones on the side.

Okay so back to the noted reasons why; I don't know how else to share these with you other than in a bulleted list, so I have ranked them in order of my favorites, the first one being my absolute favorite reason.

• It’s just what we do. It’s expected of Italian men.

• It keeps us interested in sex with our own partners.

• It keeps things fresh because you’re not having the same old sex all the time. (Same as before just said a little differently)

• As long as we are treating our wives and families properly (and they dont know about it) where’s the harm?

• If we had kids I would stop cheating for a while until they grew up.

• My wife and I are only staying together for the children. Don’t I deserve to have some happiness in my life?

The thing is I believe these guys actually believe this stuff. And maybe it’s because of the different culture here, but these reasons are starting to make sense to me too. Oh my god! I’m going to have to turn in my girl card soon! I mean, I still don't wish it upon anyone, but it was becoming more and more difficult for me to have an intellectual argument against this, you know, other than blurting out, “it’s just WRONG!”

That is, until I started assuming the same rules applied to women. I mean, it’s that whole goose and gander thing, right? As a woman shouldn’t I be able to keep things “fresh” in the bedroom too? Don't I “deserve” happiness as well?

And that’s when I think every Italian man in the country stopped what they were doing, raised a quick ear to the wind and let out their own quiet huff of disgust in response to my clearly American supposition that women had these same cheating privileges. “What? Women don't need to cheat on Italian men,” I’m told in response, “And if they do it’s rare and not really acceptable.”

“Ahhhhh… of course not,” I say feeling like I’m back on solid ground again. And then I think, God bless America (and Canada too… love you N). Let the arguments begin!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The phenomenon of blonde women in Italy.

Italian men are obsessed with blonde women! I had heard the stories over the years about Italian men approaching blonde women on the street, touching them as if they were some sort of freak of nature; calling them names or just circling around them like a pack of hyenas moving in for the kill. You’ve probably heard these stories too, but you think they’re clich├ęs, so you don't pay much attention... right?

Personally, I’ve never been attracted to those with blonde hair. I like my boys tall, dark, and handsome (in a pinch, normal height, dark, and handsome will do. And, don't get me started on my fascination with red heads or salt and pepper colored hair!). Anyway, as a lifelong brunette I’ve never really understood the fascination with blonde hair. What’s the big deal?

But in Italy, OH MY GOD it is insane!

You can’t help but notice the difference in the way blonde women are treated here. Men of all socio-economic levels will literally stop what they’re doing and stare. But not just any stare. This is a long, deep, and dirty stare. The kind that sorta makes you feel uncomfortable after you’ve witnessed it! Italian men will run up to an unsuspecting blonde, flip her hair with their hands and keep running. They’ll yell out, “Hello Barbie” with those gorgeous Italian accents. They’ll slow down on their motorcycles and lick their lips while getting a better look. It’s truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Italian woman HATE the blonde girls. ALL blonde girls: skinny, not skinny, tall, short, young or not young. It doesn’t matter. They’ll shoot them death stares for seemingly no reason; ignore them while working behind a counter; and make their boyfriends change seats with them at a restaurant so the boyfriend can’t make eyes at the pretty blonde across the room. All of these things I have witnessed firsthand. And I have to say, I still don't really get it… it’s just blonde hair!

You might think this is incentive enough to go a little darker on top. Ah, but let’s not forget the upside to this phenomenon. You’re smiled at by men all the time. You get into clubs for free. Men hold the door for you and grant you the right of way most of the time and you’re always the first to be approached while in a group of women.  These are some nice perks eh?

Still, don't fret about me, we brunettes (who blend in nicely with the locals) get our share of attention too.


Monday, February 1, 2010

WOW!

I've received quite a few emails and comments on my last posting, Growing Pains. It’s been both interesting and encouraging to hear people’s responses to that entry. Some people focused on the finding a guy part, some focused on the control freak part, some wanted to know why I thought I would be a failure if I came home, and some just didn’t want me to be sad. One friend (you know who you are!) asked if I was allowed to use profanity in a blog.

Let me start by stating that I am feeling better now. I’m not 100% of myself yet, but I’ll get there. I have a tendency to give myself deadlines for when I should feel better or be over things (whether I’m ready to be or not) and, along with growth in other areas I’m trying to break this habit. As much as I like to think I’m Superwoman the reality is I am not.  And, although I am strong, and I do believe in myself, and I really do like who I am, I have insecurities. I have low points. And I do get scared.  This time I’m letting myself feel this sadness and loneliness because it’s normal and I know it’s necessary.

As some of you know, I’d like to be an author. I love to write, but after college I stopped writing for pleasure. Several years ago I started keeping a journal to help me manage the myriad things going on in my head (it’s a scary place up there!).  Writing is therapy for me.  It gives me the opportunity to explore and admit how I am truly feeling.

I wrote in my blog that I want to stick it out and not come home yet for many reasons, but the primary reason is because I know if I come home now I will throw myself into work, give up on my dream of being a writer, and settle into a life that I don't want. That equals failure to me. If I try to write a book and I cannot find the words, or if I write a book and then cannot sell the idea to an agent or a publisher, I would consider myself successful. Not believing in me and not having the courage to at least try to make this happen is failure. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It really only matters how I feel about this.

Writing in my blog has given me the chance to try out my writing style on a varied audience. It’s given me the opportunity to see how comfortable I am with putting my raw feelings out there. It’s given me a forum to understand how I handle both criticism and praise.

The feedback and comments I have received on my blog have given me the confidence to know I have a point of view people are interested in. I’m gaining more confidence in my writing style. I’m not letting my grammar mistakes get in the way of sharing my feelings or my point of view. Writing this blog has given me the confidence I need to start my own book. But, if I were not in Italy I would not be writing the blog. I would not have the time to write. If I were home I would work and maybe see my friends for dinner one night a week. That’s all I could ever manage to do in my life. Again, this is not a bad life at all. That life is not a failure; it’s just not the life I want right now.

Life is full of highs and lows. As is said, life is the ultimate journey. I just wanted to slow things down and actually experience this journey. That includes the messy stuff too. I certainly got what I wished for. Now I want to have the courage to be the real me, accept the real me, and move myself toward the life that I want. Being here is a big step toward that life. I know I can do it. I will stumble at times, but as a new friend says, “that which is for you, will not pass by you.”

Thank you for your interest and please keep the comments and the feedback coming (the good, the bad and the ugly).  It's helping me get to the life I want.