I will admit it. I forgot.
Upon waking this Monday morning, I had only two thoughts: one, call April and wish her a happy birthday; and two, finish my blog entry for yesterday. I completely forgot that today happens to be Valentine’s Day. As I mentioned in my very first post, I am usually late… and apparently, not just with time.
So, it was that I received excellent electronic reminders that today was indeed the day to run out and get your beloved all sorts of treats and flowers galore! And I thought, “Wonderful! I am in this city that is supposedly filled with romance. I am bound to find red and pink heart-shaped decorations, chocolate fountains, and dozens of roses just littering shop windows and even the streets!”
I actually threw on a pair of jeans and sneakers (and for those of you who have been around me more recently, the fact that I am not wearing heels is perhaps amazing), and ran out the door, ready to be greeted by amore and strains of “‘O Sole Mio.”
What I got, however, was this (image on the right).
Life in Rome was simply going along as though the day had no particular significance. I couldn’t believe it!
I decided that I must be in the wrong section of town, and walked back over towards Campo dei Fiori, where I was certain I would find evidence of Valentine’s Day! Or, at the very least, some tourists showing excessive amounts of PDA.
Campo dei Fiori did not disappoint me! Although sadly, in comparison with the commercialization of Valentine’s Day (V-Day) in the U.S., the V-Day efforts of Campo dei Fiori seemed quite mediocre, if that.
I was pleased to see the evidence of V-Day celebration being displayed by some of the vendors in the marketplace and also by some of the stores (well, one store).
One woman, in particular, was really in the V-Day mood as she made her way throughout the marketplace. Another woman was selling flowers (or hoping to) with a beautiful array of roses amongst other equally attractive flowers. A male vendor sold carnivale masques and some V-Day theme items. (Although I am still not sure what they were… I just saw the sign.) All in all, Campo dei Fiori had a pretty good and promising vibe for V-Day, especially as the weather was bright, fairly warm and sunny.
The experience at Campo dei Fiori left me feeling very hopeful. Thus, I made a mad dash towards Largo di Torre Argentina, camera in hand and at the ready to snap pictures of V-Day in the making.
Well… to cut a very short story even shorter. There was nada, or niente (for the sake of adding an Italian flare). I did, however, discover that there were expressions of love for other things… like Birkenstocks (I think Germany will be happy to know this on V-Day.)
Oh! And I almost forgot! There was also the random couple that actually showed some potential acknowledgement of V-Day…
Side note: Yesterday, Giuseppe told me that “love is the most important aspect of [Roman] life. After all, Roma spelled backwards is ‘Amor,’ which means love.” Really? You could have fooled me.
I eat alone. Therefore, I am a feminist!
After my long and emotionally taxing (Yes, it is quite emotionally draining to search for love – You and I both know it’s true!) morning spent walking around the apparently anti-Valentine’s Day city of Rome, I decided to head back to my neighbourhood of Campo dei Fiori for lunch. Recently (as in, last night), I discovered a wonderfully inexpensive, but quite good, bar/cafe very close to my home. It was to this cafe that brought my tired self to enjoy a little V-Day lunch before heading home.
I had been thinking much about yesterday’s demonstration by the women of Rome, and wanted to find a way to talk with some Italian women about their experience of gender roles in Rome. Luckily, the night before I had met a young woman named Janet, who works at the cafe. She also happened to be working today. I decided to ask Janet if I could make a time to speak with her about her experiences.
At the conclusion of our very brief conversation to exchange contact information, one of the male servers asked Janet a simple question in Italian. Unfortunately for him, he assumed that because I spoke in English that I could not understand Italian.
He asked: “Lei è femminista?” (Is she a feminist?)
I answered him, “Sì. Io sono femminista. Perché?” (Yes. I am a feminist. Why?)
In English, he responded, “Because only a feminist would eat alone.”
And so there you have it… If you do not want to be seen as a feminist in Rome (per this Italian man), best not eat alone. As for me, eating alone is equally as comfortable and appreciated as eating in the company of others.
I wonder what he would think if he knew that my grand plan for this evening is to watch the movie “Gladiator” and to write?
In Rome on Valentine’s Day
Love I will not write
The cold of my heart like snow
Words of my mind – death