Apr 14, 2009

Cheeky ragazzo at the bus stop

Italian men are funny. In many cases totally immature and unwilling to take on responsibilities, but they're so charming, romantic and witty sometimes (and in some cases, irresistible) one is willing to forgive their defects, and love them nonetheless.

Photo © Owen Franken/CORBIS

I was 7 months pregnant and my bump looked particularly huge that day. Perhaps because it was. I was waiting at the bus stop by the traffic light on an unexpectedly hot autumn day, late for my prenatal yoga class.

E was dancing the conga in my belly, and I felt unusually serene despite the bus was nowhere in sight (I usually hate being late).

I was wearing a strappy premaman dress, a pair of comfy UGGS and I had draped my raincoat over my arm. The warm breeze twirled my gestational mane of long chestnut hair and billowed my skirt exposing tanned legs. I stood there emanating the trademark motherly glow, waiting. I didn't know it then, but I must've been beautiful in that suspended moment of quotidian bliss.

I say this now only because of that young man, not more than 19 years old. He drove up to the traffic light on his vespa, wearing his helmet unbuckled and pushed back, like James Dean's cowboy hat. As he waited for the light to turn green, he looked me over, giving me a full x-ray type up and down glance and–after a long meditative pause––he leaned in with a smirk, as the connoisseur of such matters, said Hai scopato, eh!?––which roughly translates to, "You fooled around, didn't you?"

The light turned green, he winked and dashed off, riding the back wheel.

I climbed on the bus laughing aloud, flattered and amused. As I said, Italian men can be so funny.


  1. LOL! Oh that is a classic! And yes, you're right, Italian men can be very funny - and charming and romantic - and sometimes downright irritating! ;-) But they do know how to make a girl smile!
    And you, my dear Lola, I'm sure must have looked like a total treasure that morning. Blooming.

  2. That's a lovely anecdote Lola. (I called called Lolo somewhere today sorry...)
    I used to think that too sometimes when I was pregnant - that people would look at me with that same question in their minds... so funny really, how else did the lump get there?

    Now I am going to make Lola's minestrone for dinner. I am going to have to go back and read all your old posts later too.
    Happy Days

  3. Bella Lola thanks for passing by on my blog!
    i once had a experience while walking the streets in pisa that I will never forget..it was not funny let's put it gently that way!

    pss. you where wright about Dingo looking like a vampire in the photo.

    Bone petite!

  4. I'm sure you looked gorgeous! Lovely story.. and the Pasquetta post & Renoir - stunning, too. I learn so much from your blog!

  5. This story's a keeper, for certain!

    Loved these lines: Italian men are funny. In many cases totally immature and unwilling to take on responsibilities, but they're so charming, romantic and witty sometimes (and in some cases, irresistible) one is willing to forgive their defects, and love them nonetheless. Honestly,l they could describe most of the men I've ever fallen in love with.

  6. Thank you for your sweet comments, grazie!

  7. Lola, great post! Last summer, aka The Big Bump, I was checked out more than I am when walking through FCO bullet-proof plastic C terminal.

    I couldn't decide if the men were nodding because they knew I had been "shtupping" or if I looked as beatified as I often told the Professor.

    Great post.

  8. What a great story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Wonderful story, Lola!

    My first love was a cheeky Italian ragazzo. ooh wee,baby!

  10. Ciao Lola, I have noticed when in Italy, some of the men do have a little growing up to do!! But I must say I do like the motherly glow in a women!

  11. Ha! I was with Moscerina on a few of those occasions and it was a trip. The men weren't even trying to be discreet.

  12. Sweet, funny story. Well told, Lola. You are a wonderful raconteur.

    When I first visited Italy in the 70s, the men (in Roma) would stand in large groups outside the hotel waiting for American women to come out.

    I gave in to the charm of a handsome young man named Cesare who took me to his soccer game. When I asked him why they staked out hotels, he answered that Italian women where always chaperoned while American ladies were thought to be an easy target.

    When I returned to Rome about 15 years later, I eagerly stepped out of my hotel, my ego in need of men beckoning to me. Alas, times had changed. It seems Italian women now dated freely and us easy Americans were no longer in demand.

    Fortunately, a sweet man/boy in Sorrento saw the longing in my eye and took me for a ride on his scooter up and down the hills of the Amalfi coast. Exhilarating.

    Cesare, Francesco -- thanks for the memories. Where are you today?

  13. So funny, Lola! So glad you appreciated it! These moments stick with us, don`t they?

  14. Moscerina - Thank you for visiting my blog. I think the Bump Factor with men is chemical. Overabundance of hormones must trigger a reversed primal mating call. Something to which the male is unusually attracted, responding with wolf howls every time he's faced with a gravid female. Piero Angela, reporting here...

    Food Hunter - Thank you!

    Natalie - ...so you know what I mean!

    Chuck - You're the one to ask: why is that, then?

    Arlene - Discreet is not a given on this side of the Big Puddle...

    Patrizia - Those boys are still here, still dazzled by the freedom and sexual nonchalance of American women. It's those feisty Italian broads that always reel them in however...

  15. Oh my! How charming is that?! Dontcha just love it? :)
    (your torta=beautiful)

  16. Well, yah! Very funny...sounds like he was/is quite the character.

  17. OH, I believe it. You were radiant gorgeous. I swear, I can see you there waiting. Nice.

  18. I'm sipping the wine and enjoying a grand story of the quintessential arrogant Italian male who still makes you smile.

  19. Wonderful story and what a way to make your day!

  20. Here from C. Michael Cox's. Funny story and reminds me of French men also!

  21. Bella Lola, you made me laugh out loud! of course you were so beautiful he had to say something, however it sounded.
    You are a wonderful writer, really and truly gifted. And yes, please publish the book darling, i have to keep going back to your old posts to find your recipes! :) :) :)
    ♥ lori

  22. Lovely exchange,wouldn't get such flirting from british men!!

  23. Now who could resist the beautiful madonna standing at the bus stop, all long-limbed and tawny gold in her resplendent glowing, growing motherhood. I think even a cool Englishman would have given her a lingering and longing glance!

    PS. There are some roses on my blog for you, Lola. C'on over and collect them sometime!

  24. Lola,
    You could retell anything, and it will be special because of your style and sense of humor. Your descriptions are delightfully informative.

    p.s. Keep posting recipes, please. Italian food is loved everywhere; there is a lot of love and attention in each dish.

    You do Us proud!

  25. Lola,
    just reading back and I think you have something there about pregnant women attracting men. I really think that is is an evolutionary safeguard that men gravitate to fertile women...for the continuation of the species.

    A friend of mine could not fall pregnant and when having IVF was told that she had a rare condition where she would only be fertile in time of drought and lack of food - again some mechanism for the survival of the species...

  26. Maryann - Thank you, bella Marianna.

    Michael - He really played the shtupp-detector expert...

    Erin - It's been a downfall ever since. Now I look 800 years old. And still fat.

    Claudia - Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em...

    Linnea - Thank you so much!

    Things... - Mais oui!

    Lori ann - I'm here waiting for good news from my agent... Keep all fingers and toes crossed.

    Fire Byrd - that's funny! Are British men really that "frigid?" (I love british men, they're so sexy)

    Tessa - I did come and collect, did you read my formal acceptance speech over at the Armadillo?

    Rosaria - Grazie mia grande e saggia maestra. There'll be enough food posts coming to feed the proverbial army, no worries.

    Delwyn - what a fascinating fact, I had not thought of the survival of the species aspect. That kinda gives the boys some depth! Kidding, guys.