Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Italy, Virginity, and Trevi Fountain – Part 2


Continued from part 1…….

“No, no,” he said “You have to put your back to the fountain and throw the coin in over your shoulder.”  With that he positioned me with my back to the fountain and I chucked my coin in over my shoulder.  Did my friend get a picture of this?  Of course not.  Because this man…this gorgeous man…had a friend with him and he was moving in on my friend. 

We stood talking for a few minutes.  He asked me my name and I told him.  The thing is, I’m not sure they use short versions of names in Europe, but I wasn’t sure.  My given name is Pamela and I have hated it all my life.  I’ve always been called Pam, and many people even call me Pammy.  Some people even call me Pat, but that’s a story for another day (and it still confuses me).  But, I’ve always been firm on not being called, Pamela. 

So when this Adonis-of-a-man asked my name and I told him, he seemed a little confused.  A little light went off in his head and he said, “Ohhh, Pam-eh-lah.”  Nobody had ever said my name that way.  If they called me that at home I would have gone by my full given name.  But at home the name is just flat and boring.  In Italian, it flowed off the tongue.  All I could think of at that moment was oh yes! My name is Pam-eh-lah”

We stood and talked for a while. 

“Is this your first time in Italy, he asked?

“Yes.” (Can you pinch me, please?)

“Where are you from?”

“New York.” (Can you pinch me, now!)

“Are you enjoying your time here?”

Yes.” (For the love of goodness, can you PINCH MY ASS, PLEASE!)

Our conversation continued with some small talk, and I glanced over to my friend to see that her companion was not as well versed in the English language as mine was.  Their conversation was not flowing as smoothly.  Too bad, that was her problem. 

I learned that his name was Carlo.  I have no idea how old he was, but I knew he had long left his teen years.  He never did ask how old I was, but I knew the way we were dressed, my friend and I looked older than sixteen. Way more mature, we probably looked more like…eighteen.  It made me wonder what the age for jail bait was in Europe, because back home in New York I would definitely have been jail bait to this man.   

Well, our conversation progressed and he asked when I was going home.  We had one full day left in Rome and then we were leaving Italy for good.  He asked me to have breakfast with him the next morning, and that was when it finally clicked.  See I was dazed through much of this conversation.  We didn’t have men like this at home that were so smooth in the way they spoke to you.  Oh they exist, but at sixteen I had never met any, so this was a new experience for me.  It took me a moment to realize that his request was not that I “meet” up with him in the morning for breakfast.  Oh, no.  Carlo had other thoughts in mind.  Having breakfast with him meant spending the night with him and than going to breakfast.  Funny, in the States I think it’s customary for a guy to take you to dinner than expect something in return.  In Italy I guess they get the goods first, and than feed you.

I was a little flabbergasted and didn’t know how to respond.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I was remembering the advice given to me…the one about yelling NO.  But here I was tongue-tied.  Oh sure, I was all Hot-To-Trot at the open market earlier, spewing forth for all men within hearing distance about my non-virginal status.  But here, confronted by this man, I couldn’t find my wits about me to speak.

As it turned out I wouldn’t need to worry about that.  Coming up behind me was the tour guide from our bus.  The bus my parents were sitting on waiting for us to return.  Apparently as my friend and I exited the bus to see Trevi Fountain, and my parents decided to wait for us, they had also told the tour guide to keep a good watch over us.  This guy was taking that responsibility very seriously.  He came up behind me and said that the bus was leaving and we needed to head back.  Then he said something in Italian to Carlo and while I have no idea what it was, I’m sure it was something like;

“Take a hike and go find someone more your own age!”

I bid Carlo farewell and that ended my first – and only – suave, charming, continental, Italian romance. 

On our way back to the bus I asked my friend;

“Did you get pinched??”

“No!  You?”

“No.  Dammit!”

Later that night in our room I came up with a theory that would maybe help heal our wounded egos.

“You know, maybe our jeans are so tight that our butts have gone numb.  Maybe we have been getting pinched all week-long, but we just haven’t felt it?”

“Yeah.  Well, we weren’t wearing jeans tonight, Pam.”

It was worth a shot.

The next day was our last day in Rome.  The day after we would board a flight returning to boring New York.  It was bittersweet.  We were looking forward to coming home, seeing our friends, getting our pictures developed, and telling everyone about our exciting trip.  But at the same time we were having so much fun the thought of going back home and returning to school was a little lacklustre.

We spent our last day in Rome shopping, eating more ice cream, and visiting the Spanish Steps.  While my parents were in a shop nearby, my friend and I decided to hang out on the steps, take pictures, and people watch.  It was filled with tourists and young people just relaxing and enjoying the sunny day.  We sat there for a while, reminisced about our week, what we would do when we got back home, and then got up to head off to meet my parents. 

It was then that I felt it.  So quick.  So fast and subtle, but it happened.  Someone, and I don’t even know which someone it was, but someone had finally took pity on me and pinched me. 

I quickly looked behind me as we walked away but there were so many people near us I had no idea who it was.  It could have been another woman for all I knew. 

Excitedly, I turned to my friend and said; “Oh my God!  Someone just pinched me!!!”

“What?  Are you kidding me???”

“No,” I said.  “I swear, someone just pinched me!”  And they did.  I promise you it was no lie!

Finally, yes finally it had happened.  It was glorious.  It was wonderful.  I could return home and tell everyone I had been pinched.  I could embellish it and say “Oh sure.  We got pinched all week by every man who passed us.”  All was right with the world.  For me at least.  For my friend, not so much. 

The next day we flew home.  We left our hearts in Italy on that trip.  It was a fantastic experience for us.  And yes we returned home with our virginal status still in place.  A fact I’m sure both our parents, and my friends Aunt, were extremely happy about.

I’ve never returned to Italy.  I blame that fact on one person.  Carlo.  That suave little Casanova distracted me and I never made my wish when I threw my coin over my shoulder.  Jerk.

Twenty-five years later, my parents have been back to Italy too many times to count since that trip they took me and my friend on.  And to this day, they love to remind me of our trip to the open market and us yelling out to everyone that we were not Virgins.  My mother will usually say something like; “Oh Pam, remember when we were in Italy and those men were asking you girls if you were virgins?”  Which always follows with her laughing her head off at our reaction to their questions. 

“Yes, Mom.  I hadn’t thought about that mortifying moment for a while, but thanks for reminding me.”

And by the way, if you and Dad are reading this, could you please take me back to Italy with you next time you go?  I promise, this time I’m much more wordly and know how to handle myself.  I don’t care about being pinched.  I don’t care about getting picked up at Trevi Fountain.  I just want to eat.

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6 responses to “Italy, Virginity, and Trevi Fountain – Part 2

  1. cavemancooking December 19, 2009 at 3:03 AM

    That is so funny about the name thing because my step-sister’s name is also Pamela Though, she insists on being called by her proper name. You should have seen the stink-eye I got the first (and only) time I called her “Pam”. :O Perhaps, I should try “Pat”! 😉
    BTW, if you return to Italy, I think you should go back to that market to loudly and proudly declare your virginity. Now THAT would be funny! 🙂

  2. You make me smile. December 19, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    Pam ah lahhhh,

    Hi! That was fantastic story. You know I live in Italy so it’s ALWAYS funny for me to see another perspective of what it is like when you come here. When I first moved here I had hundreds of stories to tell and now it just all seems fairly normal. I should try to remember some of the good ones though and get them on my blog. Aren’t you having fun blogging? I’m on my second month and I am finding that the blog community is super supportive.

    I asked my husband if it is true that Italians pinch butts and he said maybe in the south 20 years ago. I told him what you wrote. We started talking about differences. He’s has a day spa and he assures me that ALL his clients shave under their arms. Funny how cultures are different. When I moved here I got a lot of stereo typing and asking why Americans are over weight. They have us pegged in a certain manner. I try to avoid stereotyping in my class room.

    You’re story was great. It was well written and funny. I love stories about language learning and communication errors.

    How’s your Italian doing! You really must visit again. We love visitors. I had a lot of travel anxieties to get over that included prices, times, reasons not to do go. I found that I prayed a lot for an answer as if God wanted me to live here and my entire life story played out in a 10 minute discussion with my boss in the entertainment industry in 1995 when she asked what if I wanted a 10 percent raise and I said no thanks. She asked, “What do you want to do?” and I told her I’m moving to Italy.

    Within two months I had sold my car, quit my job, given away my poor poor cat, sublet my apartment and bought a one way ticket to Europe and a mac portable computer so I could write. I’m not advocating by any means that you move to Italy. What I’m advocating is a two week trip with your family in the spring.

    By the way, I’m waiting for your add in facebook! I want to get to know you better.

    Julie Angelos

  3. boredcook December 19, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Julie I would LOVE nothing more than to visit again. But, it will be awhile before we are ready for that. I’m firm about returning one day though, and I would love for my husband to see it.

    The pinching thing sounds about right. It was 25 years ago when I was there. And in the recent years my parents have visited my mother has never been pinched. I’m glad at least it was a “thing” back when I was visiting! LOL

    I don’t have a facebook page. Maybe one day. But that would be another addiction for me to visit everyday! LOL

    • boredcook December 19, 2009 at 5:48 PM

      BTW, my Italian you ask? It’s about as good today as it was 25 years ago. Which would mean, horrible!

      • You make me smile. December 20, 2009 at 8:22 AM

        Funny you don’t have a facebook page! I think you are one of the few who don’t. I’m looking forward to your next recipe. Your writing style is fun. Have you checked out my Dr. friend’s blog? I like how he writes too. You’ll enjoy his country voice.

        Have a great day. Julie

  4. Souffle Bombay December 20, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    I love it!! AAAH those were the days…young and no responsibility. The only worries boys, make up and what we were going to wear lol!
    Thanks for sharing!!

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