I’d like to pay tribute in this post to a Milanese Legend whom I’ve dubbed Signora YOLO.

Now, I get I’m a little outdated using this term, as it is something that has come and gone by US pop culture standards. In fact, every summer I come home, there’s some new ridiculous term that people have worked into their vocabulary. Two years ago it was ratchett. Last year it was thot. I live it Italy, I’m way behind. So i’m gonna go ahead and re-circulate YOLO for this occasion, because it’s so fitting.

This woman is named Rosa. She is about 80 years old (give or take) and about any night of the week, you can find her at this bar called 35 in Porta Venezia, either nestled between two guys young enough to be her grandsons or just engaging in some ridiculous conversation with the entire bar.

She shows up no earlier than 10PM. She’s always decked out in the senior citizen equivalent of a real smokin Saturday night outfit. She’s always got her fire engine red lipstick on and she has no filter. She is my hero.

The first time I saw her was last year. She showed up a little earlier than her normal hour, dressed in a house coat and was shooting the shit with everyone at the bar. I fell instantly in love. Anyone who can show up in a house coat during Happy Hour and break balls like they own the place is more than good in my book.

She is also rumored to have a boyfriend 15 years her junior. I can feel the affection increasing by the second. Other than that, I don’t quite know the whole story. But here, I thought, is a woman with balls.

When I saw her a couple weeks ago, I just thought, that woman is the poster child for YOLO. She is Signora YOLO.

For the Americans reading this, you know what YOLO means. For the Italians reading, or those who have lived abroad for too long to know what the “kids are saying these days,” YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. I don’t know what rapper kickstarted this craze circa 2013, but it became the thing young people said before they would do something stupid. “I’m gonna stay out all night and roll straight to work in the AM…YOLO” You never actually heard someone say, “I’m gonna invest all my money in a house or a business….YOLO.” It’s really silly. And from what I’ve heard, it’s a phrase that has been retired.

I realize I may be slightly going off the deep end here idolizing an elderly woman who’s carousing bars by herself at 85.

But it may just be me some day.

Yesterday I went to a polo match. Yes, polo in Milan. A veritable hunting ground for a rich husband. And who do I end up cruising? The military guy working the detail at this thing.

My friend put it perfectly: What are you allergic to wealth?

Well if wealth means the sea of tight khakis and polo shirts I found myself drowning in yesterday, then yes, I’m quite allergic. Just not my type, though I wish it was. No, I like the blue collar workers who live with mom and dad and still complain that life is complicated…as if they were performing open heart surgery for a living. But that’s neither here nor there. It always makes me laugh when people at home say so matter of fact: “Soooooo, you must have met an Italian boy by now!”

Yes, I’ve met many. And they’ve all got the same problems. They don’t just magically shed their commitment phobias and overwhelming urges to stick it in whoever because they’re Italian. Same shit, different language! And I won’t settle.

I am by no means aiming to be out at bars alone well into my senior years. Jesus, If I’m still writing this blog past the age of 35, somebody put me out of my misery or sell me to the
highest bidder. But there’s something to be said about enjoying life solo. After all, sometimes you’re all you’ve got, you better be able to enjoy a little you time. And if that means glossing up those lips and dragging your ass down to have a drink, then so be it.

And that being said. Here’s to you Signora YOLO. Rock on girl.

Joan Rivers