27 July 2002

The dating game

Jumping back into the dating pool is not without hazards. Jumping back into the dating pool in Roma - Ack.

I've never been fond of dating. Maybe because I was a goody-two shoes ballet geek growing up (well, for the most part; there were those late night games of strip Twister and the occasional make out session). I didn't go out on many dates in high school. In a way it was a relief; you know the movie "Meet the Parents" (I think that was the title in English. Ti presento i miei)? That's my dad, minus the spy thing. Even to this day, an ocean away, Dad will give me the third degree about any male I casually mention in conversation. Doesn't matter if I tell him "Dad, he's a friend". What's his name, how old is he, what does he do, how long have you known him... It's a daddy thing to do. At least he doesn't ask me about my sex life (that's Mom's speciality.)

Dates make me nervous. Dressing up is not something I do on a regular basis. I'm not the world's greatest conversationalist, so the prospect of an evening trying to make polite chit-chat gives me the heebee-jeebees. And when I'm nervous, I'm a klutz. Which in turn makes me even more nervous as I hate making an idiot out of myself. Nice little cycle of nerves I create for myself.

So I'm a dating-challenged dork. In the middle of Roma. Latin boys aren't at all shy about trying to get your number, but I've never seen the point of picking up in clubs. It's not like you can have a conversation over a throbbing bass beat, so it's pretty safe assumption that these guys are just looking for a little nookie (OK, what guy isn't). And what better target than a loose American girl. Too bad for them I don't fit that stereotype.

I've gone out on a few dates with Italian boys. My Italian is fairly fluent, so at least trying to make conversation in a foreign language isn't as difficult as it used to be. I've learned to curb my swearing for at least the first go-round, as it's not a culturally acceptable thing for females to outdo a sailor in terms of salty language. And I've learned a couple questions to ask these potential Italian suitors:

"What do you do?"
As in work. Some don't have jobs and are subsidized by their families. Not an uncommon thing here, as unemployment levels are high. Which leads to the most important question:

"Where do you live?"
Do you have any idea how hard it is to find an Italian male under the age of 35 who doesn't still live with their parents? Damn near impossible. Once again, it's part of the culture. Aside from the unemployment levels, housing here is expensive and scarce. And family is very important here. But holy shit do I get weird looks sometimes when I tell them I moved out on my own at the age of 19 (20? I don't remember the exact year). I have to wonder what these guys do when they pick up a chick. Take them home and shag them while mamma e papa are in the next room? Find a dark place to park the car? (Come to think of it, making out in cars is an Italian national pastime...) Whatever it is, I sure as hell don't want to date someone who still lives with Mom and Dad and Sis and Bro and Cousin Alessio and... You get the idea. Not to mention the fact that, if a relationship does begin, I sure as hell don't want them over at my place every night. Been there, done that, got shit from the flatmates. No thanks.

I'm picky. I'm a dating-challenged klutz. I'm a foreign girl, an unknown quantity in a way. And I have a date on Monday. To eat fish out by Castel Gandolfo and the lake. Knowing my luck I'll choke on a fishbone and have to have the Heimlich performed. Or I'll trip in my heels on the cobblestones. Or make a joke about mafia and the Calabrese only to find out his family is originally from there. Or I'll have a huge zit on the end of my nose. Or it'll be horrendously boring conversation as I try to get him to talk to my face instead of my tits. Or he'll just be trying to get in my pants. or he'll have massive personality issues. Ack. Ack. Ack. I'm calm. Really. It's just that...

Date is a four letter word. I'd rather have my bikini line waxed one hair at a time. Why in god's holy asshole did I say yes?

Oh yeah. He's cute, with at least half of a brain. And he smells yummy.


Excuse me while I go slap myself in the forehead. Repeatedly.

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