When envisioning my sojourn in Italy, my expectations were the usual cliché stock-photos of gelato, Renaissance art, and pasta . And, of course, I envisioned myself on the back of a motorino (or more specifically a red vespa) with a new Italian man-friend. Where did I get this ridiculous idea? Let’s deconstruct the dream, shall we?
Propoganda (also known as some of my favorite movies) planted the seed. Roman Holiday, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and many other cinematographic masterpieces teach us that the most vital part of any Italian adventure is riding on the back of an Italian ragazzo’s motorino. But this just doesn’t work out in reality.
Problem 1.) Availability:
Tall, dark, and handsome- say what? The availability of eligible bachelors here is rather lacking. Most of my interactions with the opposite sex follow this pattern:
Guy on airplane sees that I am studying Italian: Studi l’Italiano? (you study Italian?)
Me, on airplane, trying to study Italian: Si. (yes.)
Guy on plane, mistaking this for an opportunity to flirt: Ti piaccioni i ragazzi italiani? (Do you like Italian guys?)
Me, still trying to study: No (no.)
(Epilogue: he then goes on to ask me why I don’t like Italian guys, to which I give an “I dunno” kind of answer. If I had a “do-over” I would answer, “Because they are like you.”
I offer this vignette not to begrudge all Italian men, but rather to emphasize that I’ve had rather slim pickings.
Problem 2.) Logistics:
I’m a classic Type A personality; I can’t help but to notice all of the hairline flaws in such a scenario: language barrier, safety (riding on a stranger’s motorino could be a bit risky), awkwardness (heads often clash quite literally in those clunky (but necessary) helmets), helmet hair, my clumsiness, the list continues. This seems to me less like an ideal date and more like a situation to avoid.
Problem 3.) Feminism:
If there were some good options, and if I didn’t think I would fall flat on my face, there is still one fundamental problem with the aforementioned dream: it turns out to be a feminist’s nightmare! Let’s be real here, if I am to go for a spin, I better be calling the shots.
I have now been on motorinos with 3 different drivers. All of them were women. Perhaps I wasn’t the driver calling the shots per se, but I was glad to see some women in charge!
Furthermore, I hope that by telling my story, I can replace the cliché dream of many a 12-year-old girl from: riding on the back of a cute Italian boy’s motorino… to: riding on the back of my new Italian mamma’s motorino… In the latter situation I’m still #livingthedream, just a different one.