my sordid affair a lunch date with The Hot Italian, I had three days to learn as much of the Italian language as I could. There’s no better motivation to study than the fear of awkward date silences, amiright?
Seventy-two hours (and having studied quite a few verb conjugations) later, we met again. And hot damn. I may have been nervous because I’m awkward in English much less in a different country and the thought what was I doing thinking I could spend an entire hour with someone who speaks a different language than I do may have ran through my head, but then he smiled and I thought welp…worth a shot. We got coffee, and found out we had a common interest in sports. I didn’t know the names of half the things he was saying, so our conversation consisted of one-third Italian, one-third English, and one-third Charades (“ummm…pushups! No? Umm…that means weights, right? OHH bench press!” *nods enthusiastically*). After our conversation about sports went swimmingly (hehe) and I was glistening gently from literally acting out every other word, we decided to go for a walk around Roman aqueducts that are one of Acqui Terme’s few claims to fame. We were actually communicating at a few points in the conversation, and the pauses were becoming more comfortable and less awkward. However, there were a few things kind of off about the date. Being a list maker, I had them organized very neatly in my head: A.) It was very, very, very cold outside. Like hypothermia-inducing. And I was wearing tights and a dress because ya gotta sacrifice some comfort for lookin’ good sometimes. B.) When I was ten I thought kicking boys in the shins would get them to like me. Strange, right? Now I just abuse them mentally. Unfortunately, it turns out sarcasm and gentle teasing don’t really translate that well. C.) He was a Leo. D.) He did say my bag was beautiful. That was a definite plus. E.) Remember that whole “gotta make some sacrifices to look good” thing from Point A? Yeah. By the time we had finished walking the four kilometers around the aqueducts, I was deeply regretting not wearing a sweater (or five) under my jacket. It was like being in the middle of Antartica in the middle of winter in the middle of a lake. A frozen lake. Okay, so I’m being dramatic. But between turning into a human popsicle and having to think about what to say and more importantly, how to say it in Italian, I kiiiiind of just wanted to go home and get warm and like, nap. “Do you want to get tea?” he asked hopefully. “No, I have to get back,” I said, which was true because I had a gym date with my host sister. Was it true that I had to get back at five instead of six? …maybe. And so it went, and then with two (lingering) kisses on the cheek, he left me in the school parking lot like an awkward middle school date. I walked home feeling somewhat triumphant that I had successfully gone on my first date in a different country and even kind of enjoyed myself, despite the whole not speaking each others’ languages thing. But between the coldness (and lack of wardrobe preparation), the general lack of spark, and the giant leaping Grand-Canyon sized language barrier, I was much happier to be at home with a giant mug of tea than pantomiming bench press.