It is safe to say that Italians are usually pretty liberal about nudity. Nudity is found everywhere, from modern TV and print ads to nude sunbathers all over its beaches to the walls of Italy’s treasured museums and villas.
Italians and Europeans in general often call Americans prudish and had quite a laugh at the scandal surrounding Janet Jackson’s brief display of nipple at the superbowl. Americans are taught that nudity is a dirty thing, while Europeans seem to think “if you have it, flaunt it”.
This is why this recent scandal caught my attention. Normally, A nude woman on a billboard would not raise attention in Italy. But when you add two slices of Prosciutto to said nude woman’s derriere, suddenly people are talking. In Capri, where the advertisement was placed, advocacy groups are fuming over this image.
Here’ s my question: Are they more concerned about the dignity of the Woman, or the Prosciutto?
Heating, at home. Not that simple here in Italy, you can’t just turn on your central heating and be warm if you live in an apartment block. As Italians feel the need to check, double check, and check everything all over again ad nauseam 25/7, systems and procedures are in place to make life hell at almost every turn. Each apartment block is controlled by an administrator, or an agency of uncontactable administrators. If your administrator lives in your block, he’s usually grumpy, rude, and difficult at best. Imagine a German Shepherd patrolling the entrance to your home every god given day, spying on your every move, who you’re with, and what you’re doing / wearing / the type of air you’re breathing. Schifo.
Block administrators decide when central heating for residents is turned on when Rome gets cold, and off, usually in March. How this works for anziani who live in the same building as people half their age, I have no idea. Why does this happen? Because the state of the Italian economy ensures that only some people can afford to pay their bills on time. There is a monthly charge which keeps said administrators in a job, and a part of what they’re paid covers the heating for the entire block in winterrr.
I remembered this one, incorrectly, as ‘Butterflies’ from Cult album ‘Dreamtime’ some time 1984. Amerindian Rock, Goth Sioux and similar namealikes never even made it into the Urban Dictionary let alone mass vocabulary, but what should have been often never was. A lyric in the link, ‘it’s funny how people stare’ prompted me to write about Italians (again…). They just can’t stop staring. I know it’s a ‘cultural thing’, but in any other country they’d run into problems (‘what the * are you looking at’ and ten million variants thereof). They stare at men, they stare at women, they stare at young women, they stare at old women, they stare at anything which remotely resembles a woman (akin to skating on extremely thin ice in this town), and when they stop staring to adjust the backscatter scanner behind their insectoid sunglasses, they’ll start all over again when the next passer-by unknowingly stimulates the field of the visually deranged. Pass the pyrethrin, if you please.
Meanwhile, it’s back to business in the business of Rome tourism – what a life :p
Italy does not work. The most recent episode of rank dysfunction was the simple matter of a power cut which blacked out my block on Friday. A full day of flickering lights in a semi-basement apartment where luce is a luxury made daily life like a night in jail. ACEA parked a white van right outside the entrance and dug a ditch tailor made for anziani. A British tourist died in one of Rome’s metro stations some years ago after falling into escalator machinery because workers didn’t make sure that (1) their work was cordoned off with warning signs, and (2) that the escalator was switched off. Little has changed. For the record, the two maintenance workers who failed to replace escalator parts were sentenced to more or less two years in prison but neither of them served any time, and directors of their employer, OCS, were also let off as first time offenders.
The overnight supply truck worked wonders. We could see, eat, wash ourselves and check Facebook, that is until the following day when the episode went into past forward. A handful of numpties in blue jumpsuits started hammering away in the magazzino next door and bulbs started to fizzle then pop. Just add TIM call centre operatives cold calling twice daily, timed to within seconds of my leaving home to work on some new fangled Vatican tours project, and it’s easy to feel somewhat cornered by lackies.
Beautiful country, but getting things done is a constant battle.