After so many years abroad I don’t remember how things used to be in Germany, but I have noticed that in Tuscany it is pretty difficult to get in touch with Italian women. Not that they are divided from the world by wearing a burqa, or that they are not permitted to speak with other people. It must have to do with their values, I suppose, or better yet, the value Italian society is willing to give them. Many have been, and still are, raised with a unique goal: find a husband. This means that they must look beautiful, they should cook decently, know how to keep the house clean and look after the (possibly male) children. No independent life or brilliant career can compete with a man at your side!
Consequently, any creature wearing a skirt turns into a potential risk. For this reason, the “gentle sex” here it Italy has developed highly sensitive radar skills. Is the lady in front of me a rival? Has she got a cute, small nose? Are there sexy freckles on it? Does the small toe of her left foot look better than mine? Is she attractive enough to catch my husband’s eye? Italian women are terrible judges and there is no mercy, no solidarity, no understanding whatsoever. Fortunately they can’t kill you, but, if you look pleasant, they will do anything to get rid of you.
The only place where I risk to approach Italian women safely is …the supermarket. If I ask their help, they choose the most tender piece of meat, they tell me how to best cook seafood, give me advice on the preparation of artichokes, eggplants and all the other vegetables I do not know from my homeland. They are open, friendly and caring and it is a real pleasure to exchange recipes with them. Yesterday, for example, a nice Tuscan lady explained to me how to bake “branzino (sea bass) in salt crust” in the oven, which turned out to be delicious!
Once the shopping is done and everything is paid, the magic fades away and daily life repossess the female population, their feelings and thoughts. I have returned into a potentially dangerous hand grenade. They, into the usual nasty beasts. But every now and then, one or the other catches me from the corner of her eye, sending me a smile, even outside our peaceful island, and I dare smile back. Could be a good sign…
Anneliese Rabl …. finding a life in Tuscany