Everyone warned me to not fall in love with an Italian. My mom said I wasn’t allowed. My dad said they are notorious heart breakers. My friends said I would get “taken.”
I ignored them.
Okay, well maybe I didn’t “fall in love,” but I did have an interesting experience with a boy I met at a bar in Sorrento. As it turns out Italian boys are the same as American boys. They go to bars, they let the girls drink too much, and they try to get in their pants. The only difference is Italian boys have some remnants of manners whereas American boys don’t.
Friday night in Sorrento can be a magical place. We had finished our dinner of bread, wine, cheese, pasta, and, in my case, more wine. The food exploded on my taste buds and the wine helped me forget about my previous exhaustion. After a long day spent hiking over unearthed Pompeii, the wine not only soothed my aching stomach, but it also soothed my soul. The bottles disappeared as fast as they appeared, and I was in no mood to refuse free wine. So, I didn’t heed the warnings of my parents or professors, I didn’t stop after one glass or two, and I definitely did not eat enough to absorb the overflow of alcohol in my system. Needless to say, I felt good, I felt happy, and I felt ready to take on the Sorrento bar scene.
We ventured to the English Inn, a pub in Sorrento, original, I know. It was the same as any other bar. We got drinks and ventured around to meet new people. My brain may be a bit fuzzy, but I remember the gist of the scene. The bar was outdoors and indoors, there were people from all over the world, the music was loud, the drinks were good and that is all that mattered.
I found my friend Julia and she introduced me to a group of guys.
“This is Alex, Paige, Haleigh, Hanna, and Kat,” she said listing all the girls in our group. “All of us have boyfriends except Alex so talk to her.”
She directed me into the arms of a very cute, tall, tan Italian boy. To say I was smitten would be an understatement. A cute Italian, AKA every girl’s dream.
I asked him his name several times because I could not understand or hear him. He told me it was Fabrizio and then led me away to talk for an hour or so, but it felt like a mere five minutes.
We talked about everything and nothing. We talked about our lives. We talked about our friends. We talked about America. We talked about Italy. Unfortunately the alcohol keeps me from remembering the finite details; all I know is we talked, a lot.
Eventually Julia and Paige dragged us to the dance floor. A mosaic of songs played. They were all American songs, of course. Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Nelly sang in the background of my love story. Fabrizio and I danced a while, we giggled a lot, and we eventually kissed.
The stereotypes are true. Italian boys are good kissers.
We spent the rest of the night dancing and kissing, kissing and dancing. I didn’t care if I was in a bar, I didn’t care if everyone could see us, I didn’t care if I didn’t know him. I cared about kissing him and not stopping.
Somewhere in between our exchange of giggles and kisses I gave him my cell phone number so he could text me. I didn’t ever expect to hear from him. After all American boys usually don’t care enough the next day to send a text. So, I didn’t see the harm. I thought I would never hear from him again and he would just be “that one Italian boy I made out with in a bar that one time.”
Around two in the morning, my friends pried me out of his arms and dragged me back to our hotel. Reluctant at first, I eventually complied and followed them. My good mood could not be hindered. I had lived the dream. I had kissed an Italian boy, and I didn’t get “taken.” My life was now complete. I thought the story ended there, and I went to bed proud and happy with all my success of the evening.
I was wrong.
The next day upon waking up, I recalled the evening I spent and laughed at my encounter with Fab.. Fab.. Fab something or other. Meeting the eyes of my roommates, I burst into laughter, and we spent the next 20 minutes recalling Fabrizio, as they reminded me, and how “in love” he was with my eyes. I told my mom and thought of the amazing story I would retrieve from my night.
As the day went on I glanced at my small, black, Italian cell phone and opened the one new text message I had.
“Hey Beauty, guess who I am?” the first line read. “I tried to find you on facebook, I added 3-4 Alexandria Alford but no one was you L. If you want try to find me search as Fabrizio Caivano… goodnight and sweet dreams hope I will see your pretty (SMART) face again.”
Thus commenced my next fit of laughter. I shared with everyone, but didn’t respond. I didn’t think I would ever see him again. His text flattered me, but I didn’t really expect anything else.
I spent the day at Capri. I gawked at the crystal blue water, I stared at the image of the island in the background, and I thought about my Italian boy and smiled. The day seemed a perfect combination of beauty, laughter, reminiscing and rest. Fabrizio left my mind as more of the Capri culture and scenery entered. Soon he became a fleeting moment on my trip to Sorrento.
We began our trip back to Sorrento from Capri. Tired, sweaty, salty and hungry we were all exhausted and ready to return. I stepped off the boat, I walked toward my professors and I looked around for my friend Paige. In true Paige fashion, she made herself heard before seen.
“Alex! Alex!” she yelled. “Come look who I found!”
Exhausted and cranky after the long day, I grudgingly and slowly walked over to her, silently cursing her excitement and energy when I just wanted to grumble and sleep.
Then, I saw him. Fabrizio. In his entirety. Looking way more attractive than last night. Smiling. At me. In all my entirety. Sweaty. Salty. Sunburnt. Hair in a bun. Make up smeared. My stomach dropped.
I walked over to him cautiously, and gave him an awkward side hug while asking why he came here. My embarrassment consumed me. I anxiously looked around for my professors, hoping they were not witnessing any of this. I anxiously looked to paige for guidance hoping she could tell me what to say. I anxiously looked at Fabrizio hoping he would make this less awkward and embarrassing.
“I remember last night you said you would be here,” he explained. “I wanted to see you and ask what you were doing tonight and if you were going to watch the Italia game.”
I explained to him I had dinner plans with my classmates, but afterward we were definitely going to watch the game somewhere. He told me to text him, and I promised I would. Before he drove away on his moped he gave me a fleeting hug and kiss on the cheek. My face turned as red as my sunburnt chest, and I began my journey home half elated at his romantic gesture and half annoyed because I now had to shower and look presentable for the evening.
Dinner came and went, the whole time Fabrizio stayed on my mind. He became my romantic ideal, my Italian dream, my father’s worst nightmare. Yet, we didn’t really know each other yet. I couldn’t wait to see him again and continue whatever we had. In hindsight, I wish it had stopped there. I wish it had remained a mystery. I wish I had seen him again.
Because, just like boys in America, Fabrizio knew just how to take my infatuation and turn it into annoyance.
Back at the English Inn I found my Fabrizio again. Only this time I had a better head on my shoulders. My passions did not get the best of me, and I paid close attention to all of my surroundings. I didn’t want Fabrizio to get the best of me.
We immediately found one another; we got drinks and began to watch the Italia vs. England soccer game. The game enticed him a lot more than it did me. He would scream, sing, and excitedly jump. I would stand, watch, and clap when I thought I should. Healso never took his hands off me. They were on my back, my arms, my neck, and my face. His hands never left me. He also yelled in my ear. A lot. He yelled for Italy, he told me I was beautiful and he yelled for Italy some more. I could barely move with his hands on me. I could barely hear with his voice constantly surrounding me. I felt suffocated and needed to breathe. To give myself a break from his incessant yells, I let him kiss me. Kissing on and off throughout the game made it more bearable, I did all in my power to keep him occupied and to keep him from yelling in my ear.
After awhile I looked around for my friends. They were watching the game close by, so I ventured over. We began talking and I subtly scooted away from Fabrizio. He scooted closer. Paige gave me a knowing look so she began talking to him. However, she could not stand his patriotism for long, and she left me with my overly patriotic, overly enthusiastic, and overly infatuated Italian boy.
Becoming increasingly suffocated, I thanked God when Fabrizio went to get another whisky and coke. I immediately looked around for other people to talk to. I noticed two older gentlemen speaking English, so I walked over to them. They seemed safe enough. They were in their late 50s, gray haired, youthful expressioned, and were in Italy to celebrate one of their sons wedding. I quickly started a conversation with them, old men always intrigue me; they always seem to have extraordinary lives. My instincts proved me right. They were charming and funny. They had been friends for almost thirty years. They travel together, live near each other in Hastings, England, and they raised their families in the same neighborhood.
Enthralled by their story, I failed to notice Fabrizio and his jealous glare from across the room. He sauntered away and watched the game casting dirty glances my way.
Finally noticing him, I walked over to pick up our conversation and kisses. Mainly kisses. However, he didn’t waste any time in chastising me for “flirting with the old men.” I laughed and told him we were just talking, but he didn’t seem convinced.
*Insert red flag in my head.
A little creeped out, but mostly still wanting to kiss him, I stayed around a little while longer. All seemed well until he told me he wanted to go talk to a friend.
“Don’t go flirting with any other men,” he told me before he left.
I laughed a little, shook my head in disbelief and then laughed a lot. Refusing to let any boy tell me what to do, I walked right up to the gentlemen I talked to earlier and began a conversation. In my head Fabrizio crossed the line. He just met me, he didn’t know me, and he did not have the right to tell me what to do. My instincts told me to avoid him the rest of the night.
I knew he saw me. I knew he was glaring, and I knew he sulked in the corner. However this time I didn’t care. He could act dejected all he wanted. But, at the end of the day we met in a bar, we met while I studied abroad and we met after I drank way too much.
Friends gathered around me and asked why he started to act so weird. I told them the story. Thankfully, they helped me spend the rest of the night avoiding my Italian boy.
What started out as passion and infatuation soon turned into awkwardness and avoidance. Frustrated, I watched the rest of the game, I watched Italy win, and I watched Fabrizio glare at me.
When the game ended in Italian victory, I walked back to the hostel chuckling to myself along the way. I realized some things never change. Mainly, boys never change. They might live in a different country, they might have attractive accents, and they might kiss very passionately; however, all boys get jealous, all boys act immature, and all boys expect way more from girls than we are willing to give.
I learned my lesson. Italian boys are no different than American boys. At the end of the day, they are still boys. Guess I will wait and hold out for a man.