Russian Hands and Roman Fingers
Italians abroad are easily distinguishable by their pack mentality and loud braying voices. These vocal signals they emit serve a very useful purpose, alerting similar people to their presence and warning others away. My mother and I have noticed that when Italians describe a fun trip somewhere, the phrase "Eravamo in venticinque... abbiamo fatto un casino!" always manages to work its way into the conversation. An equivalent would be something like: "There were twenty five of us, and boy was it a riot!" but that is a far more pallid interpretation of the situation. The implication is that of a strong, united group of twenty-five GOOD BUDDIES, and they made a CASINO! A mess! The way it's said, you can just see the platters of pasta consumed, the rows of bottoms pinched, the volume of hot air spewed.
This all leads up to me saying that I made the acquaintance of the ITALIANS ABROAD here in St. Petersburg. And I do mean the only ones, the core group, because once established, all other instances of Italians daring to venture out of their fair land into the hinterlands of THE REST OF THE WORLD, even as far as-- Dare I type it? Might it shock too much?-- RUSSIA, will instantly locate this group on their secret antennae and track it down. With a vengeance.
So anyway, I heard Italians speaking at my school, and noticed particularly a particularly loud, brash, pop-eyed specimen. I was being cool and aloof just then, so I didn't approach. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do the Italian thing here, as it carries many obligations and secret handshakes. However, on running into this fine gentleman in my hallway, I said hi in Italian and conversation and making of pasta ensued from that point. An invite to go to Red Lion for free shampanska (note the shampanska, do not confuse that with Champagne... they may look the same but they are very different beasts) ensued and so I trotted obediently to my room, put on my hooker makeup and death heels so as to try and blend in with the crowd, and prepared to go out.
It was a fun evening all in all-- bad dance music (Oh so very cheesy, but oh so much fun to dance to), French sailors milling around in their cute little sailor suits, and free drinks for the little closet lush that is yours truly. Being underground made it possible to forget that it was still light outside. I met a lovely Belgian girl who would be my partner in crime had I not decided to take the route of actually wanting a liver at the end of my stay here. I left her chatting intently with a sailor. There was a delightful girl with an unfortunately Florentine profile (by which I mean with the kind of enormous nose and chin found in portraits of Renaissance gentlemen of the homeliest variety... I'm going to rot in hell for this, but it was true! True, I tell you!) and a guy who looked creepily like an even swarthier version of my ex at his skinniest and cutest.
Dancing was done, and I managed to take myself out of the clutches of Luca, my popeyed hall-mate, until i realised the time and that it was time to race home in the gypsy cab with him to beat the bridges opening to let the ships pass and hopefully get into the dorm without hammering on the window.
Once back at the dorm, he cajoled/dragged me out on to the balcony, where he proceeded to ply me with hash and his views on life, neither of which I really wanted anything to do with, so I managed to wriggle out of his clutches-- clutches indeed! He tried to give me a footrub, and then discussed in great detail how I'm better than Russian girls because I have some MEAT on my bones... BEST way to try to get into my pants. To that thought, I shrug and point out that after childbirth, they no longer look straight off the catwalks. I showed him a picture of Jura and then made some good little girl excuse and BOLTED, waking up my roommates when I struggled with the enormous door. I'm planning out methods of hiding from the whole cult of the Italian thing. We shall see.