Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Harmless flirtng 26/08/09

A few tables were taken inside last night because of the 40 hooligans who were partying on the terazza. So I was serving a table and noticed a guy sit at table 5 in the corner, and he was watching me. So la cameriera took the order and I checked with it to see what it was and set the table. ‘Hai preso il carpaccio di pesce spada?’ I said, ‘hai fatto bene’. (Good idea to take the swordfish carpaccio)‘Sono stato bravo?’ he said, in that coquettish male way of seeking approval. All chat about how he was an actor in Roma and what was I doing here, and languages we spoke. When he heard I was Irish he spoke in English as he had studied at acting school and his English was good. ‘I love how you speak, it is very hot,’ he tells me. I was delighted at last at someone daring to flirt and I realized he didn’t know my husband was in the vicinity.

‘Your dress is lovely too,’ he said, ‘very frufru, it matches my eyes.’ A classic Italian male vanity moment. I couldn’t help but laugh. ‘Mine too,’ I replied, and he looked up from my colourful dress to agree, but soon moved on from the banalities of eye colour. La cameriera arrived with his carpaccio, ‘Are you from Spain too?’ he asked, in a jokey way. I said, no, she’s my sister-in-law, and watched for the change in approach. But he handled it better than most: he hesitated a second, barely a second and then introduced himself to her and she went off so he said ‘So she is married to your brother?’ and I laughed again at this jester, ‘Or your sister?’ ‘Yes, she is beautiful.’ He wanted to know how we met and the background to us coming here, so I filled him in and he concluded that I was ‘pazza’ (mad). He was fully recovered when mio marito showed up, ‘Ah you are the husband?
You have a brilliant wife I suppose you know it. She can do everything – languages, human rights music and travel.’ My husband could only agree. I left them chatting as it turned out they were the same age.

Later I was checking the noisy party on the terrace and the Romeo came wandering out. ‘Do you want a job?’ I asked. We had Manuele, a new dreamy waiter who had worked at the locale a few years ago, and seemed to be enjoying his work, slow motion though he was. Romeo, his father and uncle have set up a theatre company in Rome, as I discovered when I complimented him on not closing down the conversation once he discovered I was married. ‘My job – human resources!’ he grins. He had come to see his Sicilian girlfriend only to discover this very day she had gone off camping with friends. He seemed upset under the banter. ‘You have no idea how people change when they know I am married - they physically back away. And the regulars don’t even talk to me, they might look or smile, but no men ever talk to me. Only those who don’t know, and they ask what are you doing here and I said my husband and I run it. End of conversation they don’t say another word to me.’ On his way out, he tells me, ‘You are wonderful!’ Lovely encouragement in the midst of the usual criticism and lack of empathy. I had the impression he had a sense of the difficulties here.

The guys at table 5 and 6 outside were very sweet too when they asked for more wine and beer, joking that they hadn’t liked the ones I had brought them before, since they had drunk them so quickly. The chatty one shook my hand when they were leaving and the friend kept watching me. The two playboys got lively at the bar, ‘Everything was wonderful,’ they said, ‘We loved it, but where are you from?’ ‘We are compadres, soy de Mejico,’ said the chatty one about the Spanish influence and he babbled away about the food. But then he asked what I was doing here and my habitual reply ended the chat. ‘Ah,’ he said, ‘that’s your husband on the bar, and so is this your dad.’ He started chatting in Spanish loudly with my father-in-law and mio suocero laughed, enjoying the craic. If I want to chat to customers I’ll have to make up another reason for my being here ...


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