Sunday, November 18, 2012
It's Raining Men
I came back this afternoon after an overnight stay at the home of an American friend who has made her home in Italy for the past seven years. A brave woman, she sold her home on Cape Cod and packed it all in for a three hundred year old Umbrian farm house. Her house is located in a small village called Pesciano di Todi, miles into the hillside from Todi.
During our weekend together, we discussed at great lengths the present Italian culture as well as the past. I had many questions about her house, it's original owners, its current owner and her impressions of life, Italian style.
I returned to my apartment for early afternoon and took my usual afternoon passagatta. This being a Sunday, there were many more people in town, most of them I observed were Italian families.
It was time for me to personally observe "the culture" of today, first hand so I sat down on a bench on the side of the busiest of piazzas in Assisi, the Piazza del Comune, and had a look.
There were young couples with babies, fathers pushing baby carriages, not strollers. Here, babies are "babies" until they are bigger babies. Infancy is the time when a baby looks, acts, and is dressed in soft pastels, not "Baby Gap".....more like Baby Nonni. The young moms, all fit and healthy looking in their skinny jeans, make up perfect, walk alongside with Papa proudly pushing the pram. Never a peep is heard from the Bambini. Everything seems under control.
The next group I noticed were the little groups of "older" couples, out for a day trip with friends or family members. Walking, talking and shopping together. Nothing I've ever seen at the mall...., Here, it seems to be a normal event on a normal afternoon for normal people.
As I watched the constant parade, my eyes met a sight that was totally unfamiliar to me. A large group of men, backsides toward me, listening attentively to a tour guide. For the longest time, they seemed to be paying attention to every word. Not a woman in sight. From my vantage point, I noticed their uniformity....their "uniforms". All had jackets that were exactly the same length. No hats, White hair. Strong looking legs. Sturdy shoes. Interesting. The Italian man. I bet these never pushed baby carriages.
Times have changed and are changing more rapidly than ever. Italian women have become liberated. But there's something about those Italian men that I hope will never change.......
Let's hear if for the men!