image   Tax situation aside, here’s some ‘lighter’ entertainment for you. This right here was my last date at the age of 26. He was out of his mind. And every time I look at this picture I still think, goddamn, what a crying shame.

Contrary to previous stories there was no social media or IPhone apps involved in our meeting. In the most old fashioned of ways he approached me with his friend while I was with my friend getting on her scooter.

Now I think most girls are programmed to go straight into bitch mode when a guy approaches them on the street because something about this tactic must equate to pig, player or psycho. But somewhere along the way my wires have been crossed.  And so the street approach doesn’t exactly make my claws come out. This ‘bitch mode’ I speak of, however, is quite common among Italian females.  Most do not take kindly to a guy approaching them at a club, trying to dance with them, offering them a drink, or just randomly trying to start a conversation.  But before you write off Italian women as unfriendly and a tad bitchy, hold up a sec.  I have a theory about this:

Being on the receiving end of this Italian male attention, I think Italian women act appropriately in response to male Italian behavior. Here’s what I mean: In America, most guys can take something called a HINT. That falls by the wayside here. An Italian will call you morning, noon and night, each time with a follow-up text message to make sure he’s covered all bases of communication. Then he’ll repeat the same the next day. Meanwhile, 47 phone calls and text messages later, and you haven’t responded because you’re not interested. Yet, the guy you met for a split second outside the bar feels so strongly that you two were meant to be together that he will not give up his quest to contact you. Even if you did decide to pick up at that point, after the 47th ignored phone call, what would you say? Oh, sorry, I was just in a coma for the past 5 days. What’s up?

You have to be a bitch. You have to say, point blank, NO. And even then, ‘no’ to Italian guys doesn’t mean ‘no’ it means ‘try harder.’ Good God. The persistance they use with which to conquer a girl in this country….you would think that they could channel that persistance into someting useful, like organizing the goddamn country.  Any ounce of kindness, even a friendly glance in the direction of the wrong overzealous Italian is an invitation to be bombarded.  Last year I engaged in what I thought was a harmless conversation with this guy at the bus stop who had just moved to Milan looking for work.  I thought I was being smart in not giving him my phone number and just exchanging facebook contacts.  At least that can be erased and blocked if need be.  I can’t tell you if the guy actually got a job because it seemed he spent every waking moment trying to get me to go out with him.  And I’m the type that once I feel the slightest bit peeved or creeped out, it’s the point of no return, my mind cannot be changed.  His messages became so desperate I couldn’t help but laugh: ‘Your smile, that beautiful smile keeps me up at night and it’s all I’ve been dreaming about.’  Well goddamn you Mom for investing so much in my orthodontics that now my teeth are mind fucking this poor guy.  So my point here: when Italian guys say the women in this country are not friendly, I’d say they act that way for a reason. Sometimes I can’t be mean though so it’s usually a dead giveaway (besides the name Heather) that I’m not Italian.

So this guy comes up to us, there’s the usual exchange, ‘where are you going tonight?’ In the meantime they hear the accents, which is followed by, ‘Where are you from?’ So on and so forth. Cutting right to the chase this guy hands me his phone and says, ‘I would like to have your phone number.’ Forward.  Shoots from the hip. I like it. He was also extremely handsome. I’ll be kicking myself a few days from now when my whats app is having a seizure from his billion messages.

I was pleasantly surprised though. He played it relatively cool. A few messages here and there then we decided to go out.

He picked me up at my place. Anybody over the age of 40 who I’ve told this story to at this point stops me and says, ‘Wait….you got in this guy’s car that you didn’t know???’  Yes, I did. But that’s not the point!!

He had gotten out of the car, and was waiting for me at the door then walked over and opened the passenger side door for me. I will give him this: He had some redeeming gentlemanly-like behavior throughout the date. His one saving grace. As soon as the car doors shut and we drove off, it got odd.  I had stepped into the twilight zone.

I kind of don’t even know where to begin. He had tendencies consistent with ADD. Either that or crack.  From the moment we drove away he just talked AT me the whole time. In a span of 5 minutes he spit out every thought running through his head; a string of incoherent ideas that were in no way connected one to the other. It went something like this:

(in Italian)

‘So I just bought this car, but it’s really big compared to my last one (turns up the radio) Do you hear this guy? He’s my cousin (starts singing), do you know him?  I’ve never been to California before, what’s it like? Oh, what?  You’re not from the West Coast? Rhode Island’s near Boston? Boston?? (high fives me) Oh my God, what was I thinking, I don’t have a passport, where do you want to go tonight? You want to dance? Do drugs? Just kidding, I don’t do drugs, lets go to the cinema, no let’s go somewhere we can talk.’

He barely came up for air.  Everything he did or said just needed to be taken down 10 notches.  And the singing. He really didn’t hold back, each time he turned up the volume he gave it something fierce, hand to his chest, eyes closed (while driving)….really just marching to the beat of his own drum. There was a part of me that thought, well, good for him. With most guys you have to wait a good 5 dates or so before the ‘crazy’ comes out. At least this guy was putting it all out in the open from date #1. Unless, I thought, this was him being on his best behavior and it actually gets crazier than this.

I sat there and let my mind register everything. Then my usual go-to first date question: So….do you have any brothers or sisters? I didn’t get an answer. Something about what I had said catapulted him into his next rant. I mentally assessed the first 10 minutes of the date: singing, high fiving, no listening (except to correct my Italian).

We went to this place in the Navigli and sat outside. He grabbed a menu and flipped through it at warp speed. ‘Oh my God, I’m so hungry! What do I want to eat? Do I want something sweet or salty? (flips frantically back and forth between two pages) Sweet? Salty? ….. (it was like the Finkle and Einhorn scene in Ace Ventura)…… Dolce? Salato? Dolce? Salato?

The waiter came to the table to take our order and my visibly agitated date, unable to decide on a snack, literally begged for 30 more seconds. Seriously as confused as I was, the waiter laughed and said, hey, I’ll give ya 30 more minutes if you need it. I wasted no time ordering a drink.

He reserved the same frenzied-approach for his eating. I tried not to look. It would just turn me off even more. Nothing’s more unattractive than a sloppy eater.  Now, at this point, I was desperately searching for any redeeming qualities, because like I said, this guy was very handsome. I reasoned that he WAS making me laugh. But I was more laughing AT him. Or laughing at the thought of what I was going to tell my friends when I got home.

After he ate he calmed down some. Then there was a moment of calm and I saw a glimmer or normalcy. He pulled his chair up to mine, crossed his leg one over the other, and looked at me, this burning question on the tip of his tongue:

‘So, how is it that a girl like you doesn’t have a boyfriend?’

Because guys like yourself don’t come with a warning label and I’m forced to waste my time on pointless dates like this?

I had to bite my tongue and just say, ‘Oh, I don’t know. Just haven’t found the right person yet.’

I opted out of another drink, saying that I had a really early start the next day. He drove me home and the same antics ensued. Here’s where it gets good though. He pulls up to my apartment and wants to ‘chat’ some more before I go. The windows were down, it was about 11PM. We were talking about something, he wasn’t listening. Mid-sentence he reaches to blast the Tiziano Ferro song on the radio and sings passionately to…oh…I don’t know…me.?  But something was missing.  Something that could have knocked this performance for via San Gregorio out of the park. So he reaches in the center console, pulls out an Aqua di Giò cologne bottle and uses it as his microphone, bringing the performance on home….

God.  So worth sticking around for……