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11 November 2010 @ 11:37 am
2010 travels of Brammers part 3  
Whenever my ego is feeling a little bruised around the edges, I shall, in future, hie me hence to somewhere frequented by Italian men, so that I can enjoy the twin joys of basking in their admiration and seething with righteous feminist indignation at the objectification. While doing a bit of 'Phwoar, that one's a bit fit!' myself.

Italy is all about beauty. Towns are preserved to highlight aesthetic merit (now ... previously it was because there was little money left after the plague, and the wars that followed). Fashion is eclectic but omnipresent -- nowhere else could a woman make a kid-skin top to her coat work with a cable-knitted bottom, especially when matched with purple heels, but here, she looked divine, and was at least 60.

It is enormously acceptable to tell someone they look good, or are a beautiful woman (slightly less so to tell a man he is a hottie, but the appreciative glance is met with a knowing smile and half-bow), and there is a certain niceness to that. Particularly because there is a broad range of what is considered lovely. One of the young girls I met at the conference was concerned about her size and bewailing on the street the fact she would find no fashion to fit, a passing man in his mid-thirties paused to tell her she was divinely lovely as she was and that fashion houses were too cheap to make clothes with appropriate amounts of material. My Chinese-Australian and African-American friends were both regularly chatted up, too, so it is not solely a matter of colour, either. I believe breasts are the only real requirement.

Which is all a preamble to why I was accidentally appallingly rude this evening after stealing out for un piccolo coppette of straciatella*, when, as I fiddled with my slightly broken umbrella, a passing chap paused, smiled, and said, 'Come stai?'

If you have ever watched Friends, this is the exact Italian equivalent of Joey saying, 'How you doing?'

Bless his heart, he was not discouraged, and even persisted after I mentioned both my advanced age and the fact that I am married (or as good as). 'Is he here?' was his only response. I ran out of Italian and told him he would have to go to confession for that, and looked not enough like either Mr Brammers or David Tennant to stand a chance. He cheerfully went on his way to find someone less fussy, and I suspect he will not confess his sins, which are doubtless many.

Up until then I had been having such a well-mannered day! At lunch I helped the Nicest Parisian Family Ever who sat next to me in the trattoria and had Italian even worse than mine -- they had two lovely kids and were kind enough to take the large amount of spinach and beans I had left over -- trattoria Marione on via della Spada has sides the size of your head for half the price of most other places in town.

ARGH! I have just lost 1000 words of this post! Right, it is a sign. Off to bed. London tomorrow night, and I need to get to Pisa and the plane between now and then. Adventures with the delightful kareina in Siena will have to wait, plus the Tale of the Weirdest Coincidence Ever and A Short List of My Fave Shops and Food Places. Oh, and Viterbo, where I will one day run a cat's home. I was going to add a few pics, but my connection keeps shutting down, so next time!

* The Greatest Gelato In The World, available at Crom on the corner of via del Campanile -- thick creamy vanilla with huge chunks of dark chocolate. I know it is hot chocolate weather, but I had to have one!
Shezanshezan on November 11th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
You're in Italy! You love Italians! YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!!!!
boodiedharawal on November 11th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
That is brilliant, I just read that out to my friend and he nodded knowingly, apparently if you have boobs, and a pulse you'll be fine 8-)

Which means I should hie myself to Italy ASAP!
It's a Deensedeensey on November 11th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
Oh the gelato sounds divine! And that guy HILARIOUS.
ineffably_roma on November 11th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Thank you Brammers for sharing this. Damn I felt like I was right next to you enjoying these moments. Italy is high on the list. I maybe of advanced age, but I do have the boobs. Ha ha ha!!! Gelato! Yum yum yum. Enjoy the rest of your trip and confession is good for the soul or something like that. Confession remains one of the good things I liked being Catholic. *nods*
bonfoi: calvinbonfoi on November 11th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
I live vicariously through you! Although, good gelato is never out of season.

Can't wait to get to Croatia next year. Thank goodness I get to eat free...so many relatives, so many good things to eat from coast to coast.
dylansbuzzdylansbuzz on November 11th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC)
I love reading about your travel adventures, and this account only reinforces my belief that I need to live in Italy where my 'assets' will be appreciated. :D
jamafantajamafanta on November 11th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
That makes me think of "An American Girl in Italy", by Ruth Orkin. Sounds like you're having a fantastic time! I join the ranks vacationing vicariously.
An American Girl in Italy
snottygrrl on November 11th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
sounds divine. i adore italy, but then again i have a heap of cousins there, so it's only natural!

have a safe journey to london, sweets.
Brissygirlbrissygirl on November 11th, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
Sounds like you're having a fabulous time!

I'm jealous of all the lovely places you've been and are going to. *pouts* I'll have to lose enough weight to be able to go one day and you can be my tour guide. ;)
mama_pyjamamama_pyjama on November 11th, 2010 07:43 am (UTC)
Sounds infinitely better than London, in just about every way. It is about 4oC and blowing a gales (literally) here this morning.

I found your journal through your fic and have enjoyed your travel diary. Do you mind if I friend you?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 11th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
That sounds delightful. And OF COURSE it is horrible November weather, I am coming over. I was in London last December, too. I am well armed with warm things! (Which makes flying out to Sydney, where a heatwave will doubtless replace the cold and wet late spring for my return, particularly hideous ;-))
Hueyphoenixacid on November 11th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
Wow, I wish I could travel to so many wonderful places like you do!
jolinar_rosha: prettiest one herejolinar_rosha on November 11th, 2010 10:12 am (UTC)
I am extremely and utterly envious just now. I've only been to Rome once, but I do plan to visit again (and again), as well as other parts of Italy. Ye gods but that city was so BEAUTIFUL!! (and I'm an ancient civilizations and art geek too, so I was basically in the depths of heaven :P)

and heh, yeah the Italians are like that. Love their style... :P
auntpurl: knitting is hotauntpurl on November 11th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
Sounds fantastic. I love the Italian men (except when they actually start grabbing things. I don't enjoy that AT ALL). It's a nice shot in the arm!

Am I still getting to see you next week? *hopes fervently*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 11th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
YES! Tuesday, V&A tearoom? I knitted you something!
auntpurl: knitting is hotauntpurl on November 11th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
YES! What time? I'm free all day until 7:00 that evening when I have a student, so I'll work around your schedule! :)

blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 11th, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
Let's say lunch, but I need to sit down when I get to London late tonight and sort myself out. OK, off for a few last hours of Firenze! *MWAH!*
ecosopherecosopher on November 11th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
The "Come sta?"/"How you doing?" had me laughing out loud. Sounds fantastic and just fertilises further this germ of a plan we have to move to Europe soon... enjoy the rest of your trip.
theodoraleft on November 12th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
I realise I should have gone to Florence WITHOUT my husband to have had the most fun; and yes, whilst Italian men are un-reconstituted sexists, at least they are not ageist or sizeist sexists as they deem all women potentially lovely and worthy of their charm! It's getting late and I think I may have invented some new words, or at least new spellings in the last sentence, so goodnight and bon voyage: See you in Bath next week?
lokifanlokifan on November 15th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
Ahahahahaha. 'Is he here?' is such a fantastically shameless response. ♥ Oh Italy. I went when I was fourteen for a few days, and while I wasn't precocious enough to get up to much I did enjoy the flattery.