His speech was slurred and mixed with profanities, and Lucy smelled liquor on his breath.
She kept asking for the directions she needed, but he kept delaying. He was a professore from India who took care of disabled children.
Anybody seriously interested in Italian culture has probably seen Ruth Orkin’s famous photo “American Girl in Italy,” which probably did more to ingrain the image of the aggressive Latin lover into the public's consciousness than any other symbol.
Often the girls would go out with their bilingual Italian friend Erica, who pretended that she too was a foreign student who spoke only English.
The girls would share a coffee or tea with a group of boys they had just met while the boys would try out their limited English on the girls.
Paul and Lucy Spadoni periodically live in Tuscany to explore Paul’s Italian roots, practice their Italian and enjoy “la dolce vita.” All work is copyrighted and may not be reprinted without written permission from the author, who can be contacted at I began going to Italy regularly, I wondered about the reputation of Italian men as aggressive, flirting Casanovas.
Was that a misconception, or did I need to worry about bringing my daughters to Italy?
But the boys would also talk among themselves in Italian, not realizing that Erica could understand everything and translate any interesting comments about the girls into English for Suzye and Lindsey.
Lucy had her own experience with an aggressive male in Bassano de Grappa.
He loved his children and would do anything for them.
Lucy looked pleadingly at the bakery employee, who seemed sympathetic and a bit exasperated.
The first sentence was usually in Italian, but when that drew a blank, the pursuers would say, “You speak French? However, the boys usually knew limited English and the conversations never progressed very far, so the girls quickly grew tired of the game and learned how to avoid being approached.
Then Suzye struck on a different idea, asking for the boys’ phone numbers instead.
This dad had watched long enough—I stood and spoke loudly and firmly, “Basta! ” I wanted to say more, but my language skills were too limited.