The OGs In African American Female Group Travel Experiences
Encouraging black women since 2006
It has only been 5 days since the ladies of Bella BootCamp departed Rome and I am free to Roam Rome on my own. In the past 5 days, I have had been on 6 dates/interviews with 4 suitors. Not a personal record but an honorable number for “A Black Girl in Italy”. I prefer to think of them as interviews than dates. An idea I came up with when thinking about people gives more thought and consideration to whom they hire for a job or loan money to than they will for giving away their heart. I am not one of them.
At the present time, I am not hiring for the boyfriend position, only taking applications (telephone numbers) and conducting preliminary interviews (short dates). The position is currently unfilled due to a hiring freeze by the CEO (myself). This decision is based on a few things. #3: I travel too much to sustain a healthy relationship. Yes, this is a cop-out but It is the reason given to men. It is an answer that most of them can understand and do not question. Of course, that answer always has a slight hint of “until the right person comes along” to give them hope. Something I learned from my male friends. #2: A serious relationship is a direct conflict with my current career path. My job is to take Black women around the world which includes culture and partying. I don’t want to be encumbered with thinking about what a boyfriend or husband will think about my actions when showing my clients a good time. #1: I enjoy being single! Until someone comes along that can make me feel better than I do now, I will remain singular and happy.
Back to the green pants! I made a promise to myself that each day will be sent with at least 3 hours exploring Rome. Monday afternoon I met Karen, my new friend from London near Termini (main train station) so she could collect her personal items left in my purse while partying Saturday night. After some girlfriend time sitting on the step of Palazzo delle Esposizioni we departed ways. After allowing three packed #34 buses pass by, I decided to walk to Piazza Venezia for lunch at Cin Cin, my favorite place in Rome for pollo al limone (lemon chicken). On the way to the square my plan charged and I try continuing my walk to Largo di Torre Argentina, stopping along the way to take pictures.
While in Paris in May, I took a photography class with my dear friend Kyra from Northern California. The class taught me how to look at my surroundings differently and find beauty in the simple things. We also learned how to wait for a photo-worthy moment to happen. While standing in front of La Feltrinelli bookstore looking out at the Cat Square, I waited for such a moment.
Out the corner of my eye, I caught the movement of a dance I know so well. I call it Abitato Italiano, the Italian built-up! The first step is he stops and watch you, trying to build up the confidence to speak. This is made more difficult by my facial features not giving a clear indication of my nationality. So he much wait a little longer to figure out the approach. To confirm that the dance has begun, I normally move a few feet. This also gives me the opportunity to get a good look at him which pretending to look elsewhere. If he is doing the “abitato Italiano”, my movement will be matched. In most cases the shy ones will wait for some sign that it is okay to approach. The hounds will go for the kill and be shot down with a firm NO and my stare that could freeze fire. Ahhh, but if I am interested in a shy guy, all that is need is a slight smile of approval and the dance continues.
On this day, the “abitato Italiano” ended with Roberto, a tall Italian with salt and pepper hair asking about my choice of photo subjects. He had watched me long enough to know that I was not focused on the normal sites in the square. He seems sincerely interested and asked to see the photos. Nice move!
As we reviewed each photo he asked in perfect English why each subject was chosen. He also told me what he liked about each. I found his conversation intriguing, the application was taken (gave him my phone number) and the interview was set (date) for drinks later in the day.
Around 4pm there was a text tone on my phone. It was from Roberto. My rule is first contact MUST be a call. I don’t date by text. In the words of Destiny Child, you must pick up the phone and “Say my name”. After ½ hour the call came. Roberto requested that we meet in front of the bookstore. He wanted to show me the Jewish Ghetto section of Rome. The time 6:30 pm as I had plans to attend a friend’s event at 8:30 pm.
Unlike in the States, my Italian dates always arrive ON TIME, something that it is taking me a while to adjust to. With this in mind, I arrive back at the book store at 6:25pm and sent the customary “I am here” text. After waiting for 5 mins, I checked the phone for a reply. While looking at the phone, I heard among the street noise, “you are here, where are you?” in a playful tone. I looked up and precisely at 6:30pm stood Roberto wearing a big smile and BRIGHT GREEN PANTS. Thank God he is also handsome.
After a brief moment of me adjusting my thinking and judgment to Italian, he grabs my hand off we ran across the busy street. I knew immediately this would be a special night. We walked to the tiny streets of the ancient Jewish ghetto, which once was a walled-in town. The ghetto, like most of Rome it seemed unchanged for hundreds of years.
Our first stop was Teatro di Mercello (Theater of Marcellus) which predates the Colosseum. With the knowledge of a historian, Roberto explained the significance of the site. I am getting turn on as he speaks! I LOVE an intelligent man, even one in bright green pants. As we continue our walk, oh I forgot to mention that I am wearing 5 inch heels while walking on cobblestone. I am impressed by his pace as most people think I walk fast, but this time it was ME trying to keep up. Then again, maybe it was the heels that gave him the advantage.
The next stop was a charming square with a beautiful fountain. My well-informed date told me that the fountain was a gift by a wealthy lover to a woman that once lived in the square. How romantic! I pulled out my camera to take photos. After each snap, Roberto asked to see the image captured. I was having trouble adjusting the camera for the lighting in the square. It was suggested that I zoom in on details instead of trying to capture the entire fountain. The result was a beautiful night shot of the fountain and reflecting light on the surrounding cobblestone. What does this man NOT know???
We enter a nearby bar. It is bright and eclectic, the perfect place for bright green pants. We order wine and share the details of our lives. The DJ plays Dean Martin’s Mambo Italiano and Roberto asked if I know how to Mambo. Ahhh...that would be a NO as I am rhythmically challenged. I am a great dancer ONLY if not required to follow steps. This is unfortunate, as I would love to learn the Tango. Yep, you guessed it! He knows how to Tango and wants to teach me. The comedy begins! Move to the left, keep your body straight, don’t move your hips, STOP stepping on my toes. This was just the first two minutes. Lol Then I was told to close my eyes and connect with his body and flow with the movement.
Don’t think, just follow he whispered in my ear and for a brief moment, I was doing the Tango. Then he tried to dip me and my body stiffen. “You Americans have such problems with releasing control” he said softly. I replied, “you are right, that is why I have moved to Rome. To learn how to be free.” We continued the lesson and I continued stepping on his toes but the dips got much better.
Barry White’s “Let the Music Play” came on and I started doing the “Fleace” a mix of Beyonce and Jed Clampett. We laughed and returned to our drinks and conversation. We talked about Italian food. I learn that Mr. Green pants family owns a winery and grows olives. He explains the process for making olive oil and I learn that the oil comes from the seeds. We talk about Italian food and spices. As it turns out he also LOVES to cook. Can this man be real!! I bring up American Soul food. At last, a topic he knows nothing about. I tell him the history of the cuisine and ingredients of some dishes. He asked if I knew how to cook this soul food. Ahhh... that would also be a NO! I don’t cook!! I eat! “Maybe you can learn” he replied. Hmmm...maybe we should change the topic. ;-)
Roberto lived for a brief time in Northern California, this explains his command of the English/American language. He talks about the large Chinese population in the San Francisco. I bet him that there are more African-Americans that Chinese in the city. The loser must cook a meal of the winners' choice.
It is now 1 am in the morning, our two-hour date turned into 7 hours. I totally missed my friend's event. Me and the green pants are now walking hand in hand down the streets of Rome. The most direct route to my place would be the main road but Roberto would rather take the smaller more interesting back streets. As we walk he stops to point things of interest like an office building that has the face of a Black woman on the seal. Note to self, return in the daytime for a picture.
We reach my doorway and sit on the step. We tease each other about who will win the bet. I am certain it will be me. After an innocent kiss on the lips, we parted ways and Mr. Green Pants disappeared into the night.
The evening was magical and I know have a new fondness for the color green or maybe I am just color blind. ;-)
Free you mind and magic could happen!
Btw.. I lost the bet! Looks like I will be cooking soul food in Rome.
PS: Sorry for typo, I am a lover not a writer! LOL
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