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??”
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.