From My Tuscan Window

Chapter 62
Extra Vergine O No?

Italy is more than a land of contrasts, it is a land of opposites. While preparing the salad today at lunch and while reading the local paper Il Tirreno between courses, I noticed that the olive oil as usual was extra vergine (extra virgin). However, nearly all of the ads in the classified section of the newspaper were obviously just the opposite, at least according to the descriptions of those who advertise their services as experts in “P.R” or Pubic Relations. Oh! Sorry, I mean Public Relations.

In today’s paper published Martedi, il 20 Giugno 2006 (Tuesday, June 20, 2006), there was one listing for Immobili Vendita (houses for sale), eight Lavoro Offerte (offers to work), one Finanziamenti (offer to loan money), one Matrimoniali (marriage offer), and one Acquisiti (offer to purchase)

Under the listings for Comunicazioni Personali (personal communications), there were 201 listings. For those of you who are squeamish about such things, please feel free to skip ahead to chapters about saints, churches, pilgrimages, and first communions. For those of you who have more prurient interests, I will provide a sampling of the terms with which the “Public Relations” professionals describe themselves. I will not translate the terms for you. Most of you can figure out from the sound. Those of you who wish can improve your Italian vocabulary by consulting a dictionary.

Well here goes: “bella fisico perfetto, disponibilissima, modella tedesca, russa caldissima, biondissima, fisico mozzafiato, sexy spagnola, tutto pepe, dolcissima, senza tabu, dolce, discreta, sensuality provocante, supersexy, massima riservatezza, giochini particolari, due bellissime ragazze, specialità rumena, trasgressivi, intimissime, indimenticabile, naturale pubbliche relazioni, fondoschiena spettacolare, massaggi erotici, bisex tutti I giorni, bocca favolosa, giovanissima, stupenda sudamericana arrivata per soddisfarti, snellissima, transex, tacchi spillo, instancabilli tosti, attizzossima per uomini unici, bellezza da calendario, strepitosa, sensuale, affascinante, sensuale, esuberante, peccaminosa, raffinata, fantasiosa, elegante seduttrice, piccantissima, sensualissima, eccitazione assoluta, completissima, bravissima, deliziosa, senza limite, insaziabile, elegantissima, esaudisce desideri, fisica mozzafiato, meraviglia esperta, diavoletta, con uomini maturi molto paziente, esperte mani, calda come sole, super sexy bomba, corpo caldissimo.” And that’s just from the first 50 out of the 201 ads.

Now while all of this “Public Relations” work is going on, there are monasteries full of priests and convents full of nuns who are not supposed to even speak to each other, much less participate in any P.R. Their entire lives are to be spent in prayer and meditation, which to me seems alien to the Italian temperament. However, that’s the way it has been for nearly two thousand years, so who am I to be surprised by such contrasts? My only job as a visitor to this marvelous land of opposites is to enjoy the diversity.

The local paper excitedly publishes features about the grand opening of the newest restaurant or nightclub with all nude waitresses, or the latest in sex toys and porno happenings--right on the same page as features about the upcoming bus tour to Fatima, the latest local citizen to have an audience with the Holy Father in Rome, or the forthcoming church festival to which the entire valley is invited to attend.

One of the things that I respect about the Italians is their honesty about the real world and the lack of the kind of hypocrisy that drives me mad in East Texas. In Texas, the Bible Thumpers proclaim their hatred of all things profane and obscene, but when the arrest warrants are issued for pedophilia, child abuse, soliciting prostitution, and the like, it is often this preacher or that who has been caught with his pants down.

Viva L’Italia!

Updated December 22, 2009
Copyright 2005-2009 George H. Russell
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