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!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reflections Upon My Time in the Women’s Locker Room: The Differences Between Italian and American Women

One of the biggest cultural differences of note since I arrived in Italy is… well… hmmm, how do I say this? Okay, let’s just say the personal grooming habits of American women versus Italian women; which is to say that American women actually have personal grooming habits, and Italian women seem to be a bit more “tribal” when it comes to this particular area.

Actually I find this very interesting because Italian women are exceptionally concerned with their appearance. In fact, plastic surgery is quite common among Italian women. Apparently, however, no plastic surgeon has ever consulted with them on the wonders of a Brazilian Bikini Wax or laser hair removal, ‘cuz honey if you walk into any women’s locker room in Italy you’ll think you just entered the African jungle with women who have never seen a razor or a pair of scissors in their entire life!

I know this because Italian women walk around naked as a jay bird in the women’s locker room. This naked locker room stuff may sound normal to American men, but here’s a news flash; American women don’t like to do this. In fact, we hate it! We know that every woman in that locker room is checking us out when we’re not looking (because we do it too) so we’ll do everything we can to make it look like we’re okay with changing in front of women, but to avoid it at all costs.

Not Italian women; no sir!  Italian women will chat away with their friends while standing buck naked in the middle of the locker room. Of course it’s almost impossible not to steal a look at them, which is how I know they don't shave or have any cellulite. Seriously! Even the few and far between big girls don't have cellulite. They are just thick. I really don’t understand how this is possible with the massive amount of pasta consumed in this country!

I don't think I’ve seen a pair of full coverage cotton undies since I’ve been here. These ladies love their g-strings; and since even the grandmas here don't have cellulite, I guess they have no need for “granny panties!”

Oh, and try to walk out of that locker room without taking a shower after class and you’ll get looks like you just said the Pope wasn’t Catholic.

The last observation that makes me want to fall to my knees, hold my head in my hands, and scream out, “IT’S JUST NOT FAIR” is that Italian women don't sweat. I’m not joking about this. They just don't. Keep in mind I work out 5 to 6 times a week, often 1 to 2 hours every session. My point is, I am a reasonably fit woman; but I’ll walk out of a fitness class drenched in sweat, while the Italian women (who seemed to have worked just as hard as I) have only a light glimmer of dew upon their brow. This baffles me so much I’ve asked the other sweaty American women who go to my gym if they’ve noticed the same thing. They all concur; Italian women don't sweat! Seriously, it’s bizarre and soooo unfair!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Putting Yourself First

Before I left for Italy my sister told me that she did not want to be my friend anymore. She explained that although she loved me very much, she needed to change our relationship due to many deep and personal reasons having to do with her childhood. My sister and I had always been very, very close. We supported each other through the roughest of times (and believe me there were some very rough times growing up in my family) and the happiest times of our lives.

Hearing my sister say she did not want to be my friend anymore was crushing. Truly it was like someone sucked all of the air out of the room and my lungs were struggling to function. Anytime I thought about what she said I would cry.

Why didn’t she like me anymore? Was I so terrible of a person or a friend? What had I done? How could I change to make her like me again? All of these questions cycled through my head as I tried to figure out why she felt the way she did. I cried for weeks and weeks until I could get my head around what she said and why she said it.

The fact is her decision had little to do with me. It was a decision my sister made to ensure that she followed the path she needed to follow so that she could live the life she wanted to live. Justified or not, I reminded her of her painful childhood and nothing I could do or change about myself would make her feel any differently. She needed to separate me from her life so that she could move away from her past and continue to mold herself into the person she wanted to be, not the person her family had determined she was when she was growing up. Again, it took me a few months to look at this with some perspective as I was hurt, angry, and confused.  

Now I understand how much strength it took for my sister to do this; to look out for her well being above another’s well being. To ensure she was making the right decisions for her even if these decisions caused pain for someone else. This is not such an easy thing to do. As women, I believe we have a natural tendency toward nurturing and putting other’s needs before our own. In the religion in which we were raised we were taught to do for others before doing for ourselves. Of course one cannot be so self-centered as to be oblivious to others and their feelings, but she was not doing that. She was taking care of her own needs so that she could be a happy and complete person which would allow her to be giving and kind to others in a more balanced way.

Recently I needed to make some decisions that were not as serious but in the same vein; best for me but most likely would hurt or confuse others. This was not easy to do. I struggled with putting my needs first and then being honest and upfront rather than making excuses or telling little white lies. In the end I hope these people also realize my decision to put myself first had very little to do with them and almost everything to do with me.  I hope they can forgive my selfishness.  I hope they understand that a large part of this trip has been about finding balance, understanding and loving who I am, and making the most of the time I have on this planet.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Italian Men Do Not Like My Blog!

I find this pretty interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, how do they even know about this blog? No, no, I know who you are and I know how you know about my blog.

Actually, I have only met two Italian men who speak English and seem to understand American culture well enough to really understand what I am saying in my blogs. That does not mean all Italians can’t speak English well or don't understand my American sense of humor. I just haven’t met too many of them yet.

Of course Italian men don't like my blog! Putting the language and cultural barrier aside, look at the stories I have written: The Thing about Italian Men; Italians Have no Awareness of Spacial Relationships; Welcome to 1950; The Phenomenon of Blonde Women in Italy; 95% of Italian Men Cheat. And now add to the list a little ditty named, “Italian Men Do Not Like My Blog!” and I am sure I’m not scoring any additional points with the fine Italian Uomo (men) in this country!

The fact is the blogs I write about Italian culture are full of overgeneralizations and clich├ęs. They are written tongue in cheek on purpose (that means not seriously for any Italian man who may be reading this blog and not understand the term). They are written from my point of view only which is unapologetically sarcastic. They are written with the intended purpose of seeing things from different or non-glamorized point of view.

Of course I have no idea if 95% of Italian Men Cheat! Of course not all Italian men gawk at Blonde women. Of course not all Italian men dislike my blog… well, that may actually be true. But the point is these blogs aren’t written to please the audience. They are written as therapy for me, and used as my creative outlet.

I write when I am feeling lonely or intimidated, when I feel inspired, or when I find humor or irony in a situation. I don't write much about how much I love living in Italy, or how I love Italian food, or how I love the passion Italians have for life because I don't seem to have anything interesting to say when it comes to these topics.

The fact is if I did not like being here, or if I disliked Italians I would leave. Yes, sometimes it is hard for me to be away from home, but Florence is a special place. In most ways it is still unspoiled by American culture (there is not a Starbucks in sight!); it is still very old world. I absolutely love most parts of living here; but still, you won’t find me writing too much about that. This general state of happiness doesn’t inspire me to write, it inspires me to go out and experience more happiness. And that’s what I think I will do right now.