Our last day in Italy I pulled out the dress, the gorgeous, sexy dress and I wore it…to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, shopping and gelato, house red wine and pasta. That dress did Rome and finally, finally I got some attention from the Italian men.
I am a person who wants to be young, who works with young people, who is young inside, and who, I hope, looks younger than her true age. I avoid the thought of being old. I don’t spend hours with creams or avoid the sun but I on Facebook, I dye my hair, I don’t wear my shirt tucked in with a belt, and I listen to the music and the you-tubes the teens tell me to. I, in the words of my dad, shall not age gracefully but shall fight it every step of the way.
On my trip to Italy, I was confronted face-on, undeniably, with my age, my true age, middle-aged and on the downhill side to OLD. I took a group of students to Italy, one of whom was my 19-year-old daughter Kayla. My young gorgeous Italian-featured daughter: long brown naturally wavy thick hair, flashing green eyes, and olive skin and let’s not even discuss her body. Where did she get all that anyway? She attracted attention wherever she went. To put the following “conversations” in context, during most of the following encounters, we were with the entire tour group of 49 people.
In Venice at the glass-blowing demonstration: “Hi Barbie. My name is Ken,” from a male my age if he was a day.
In Florence at the souvenir stand: “I will trade you those 7 postcards if you will just leave your daughter here with me,” from a younger Italian male as he held on to her for dear life.
In Sorrento at the artisan wood factory: As he was showing the tour group of 49 people who did he speak to, who did he look at as he described the $2500 poker table ….mmmm hmmm, Kayla. Before she left the shop he told her, "You come back to Sorrento so I can see your beautiful eyes again."
In Assisi: The tour guide did the double-cheek kiss with Kayla, only Kayla, and he was GAY.
In Rome: She got “the look” from the gorgeous Italian men everywhere we went.
Everywhere we went: “Ciao Bella!” Hello Beautiful!
I tell you this was tough for me on so many levels. Not only was I smacked in the face with my old self but also I was seeing these older men fall all over themselves to talk to my young, so young, daughter.
How did I cope? Our last day in Italy I pulled out the dress, my sexy new sundress, hoping for some male attention, simply to feel vibrant and full of life, not dead and passe’. And I got it: the man sitting by the ancient Egyptian obelisk who stared me down and seemed to be hoping the breeze would give him a view as I walked by, the taxi driver who leaned halfway out of his window to watch me bend over in the street to pick up something I dropped, the twenty-something male who approached me saying something along the lines of “Ciao Bella” with a huge grin that made me uncomfortable so I turned my back on him.
My favorite encounter was with a man just doing his job but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of his attention. Rome had these gorgeous men who stand on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant encouraging people to come in and eat. What is it with these Italian guys? Why are they so cute? As our tour group walked by, I was straggling at the back not ready to leave Rome or Italy or any of it. He caught my eye and crooned, “Bella, come sit. Come eat.”
“I’m sorry. We already ate dinner,” I said looking him in the eye, playing his game. He dropped his chin and gave me “the look.” The look I had wanted to see. The look that said I still have the elusive “it.” I don’t have one foot in the grave. I am still alive and wily. The look that made my heart skip a little beat to reinforce all these points. He gave me “the look,” lowered his voice, caressed me with his dark eyes and sexily said, “You come back tomorrow night, okay?”
I grinned weakly, pretended that the look was real, and breathlessly said, “Ohhhhh-kay,” knowing, but not wanting to explain, that I would be on a plane back to Misery, I mean, Missouri, the next day.
Author Kim Blevins
Writing has been important to me since I started listing how to spend the $5 I made picking blackberries as a child. At the top of that list was a large fuzzy foot rug I never got. In high school I wrote of the boys I loved, the important decisions I had to make, the homework I dreaded, and which family member had annoyed me the most that day. I lost writing for a few years, then got paid to write, lost it again for many years then being a part of the National Writing Project took my hand and led me to it again. I turned my back on it one more time chasing a love that didn't work out to then find this fierce obsessive love that will always be a part of my life, the love of words, of stories, of musings and mullings. Thanks for reading.