Before we begin, I will admit something right now. Please remember that I am only human, and however sickened you may be by my revelation, you will continue reading and give me a chance. I *pause for effect* am a hopeless romantic. I know, it’s ridiculous, in this day and age, you don’t have to tell me! I can’t help it. However, I am not what you would call your typical romantic. I believe life is full of romantic moments, and the more romantic partners you have, then the more you are likely to experience these moments. Now that clears things up, and we’re all on the same page. So first of all I would like to start by telling you a story about a time I had in one of the most romantic countries in the world; Italy.
The first thing you should know about Italy is that Italian tinder is the place to be. Well, for me it was at least. When I moved to Naples, Italian tinder was a gold mine, a never ending circus of beautiful men with gorgeous accents who either enjoyed cooking, salsa, or both! I have always loved darker complexions, so with the line up of man after man with dark hair, dark eyes and dark skin, I was in heaven. Admittedly, I was somewhat of a rarity in Naples too. I am very pale with bright blonde hair and blue eyes, so men tended to be at least curious to speak to me.
After a few right swipes and failed attempts at stimulating conversation (one guy never even asked me out but spent weeks telling me how his plants were growing while I feigned interest), I ended up going out on a date with a guy who I had accidentally swiped right on. There was nothing wrong with his profile, his pictures just weren’t what I thought of as attractive. However, we got to talking and he was very worldly and funny, he had travelled a lot and seemed genuinely interested in a friendship more than anything. So I agreed to meet him in the hope of at least making a new friend in a new city.
We agreed to meet at 6pm (early for an Italian) at Piazza Vanvitelli, near where he worked. The Piazza is a busy roundabout full of little bars perfect for first dates and aperitifs. As I sat reading, and worrying that my date would turn out to be a psycho murderer as I always do, I spotted a gorgeous, athletic man eyeing me strangely and texting on his phone. At that moment my phone buzzed with a message from my date.
Are you reading a book?
It was him.
Now, a normal woman would think ‘great, he’s a lot better looking than in pictures’, but MY first reaction was ‘fuck…he’s handsome.’ I was almost disappointed that my date was a beautiful man who I would no doubt be attracted to, rather than someone who I could just hang out with as friends. I just wasn’t prepared. Damn you terrible lighting and unphotogenic face shapes!
He sat down and gave me a flirtatious grin, introducing himself even though I already knew his name, and for the first 30 minutes I talked incessantly about my favourite books and drank 2 glasses of wine. His eyes were penetrating and as we chatted I sensed a mutual attraction that made me regret wearing my least sexy “sexy” underwear. However, I was speaking a mile a minute and by now slightly slurring my words. This guy was friendly and talkative, interesting as well as beautiful, and after an hour he asked me if I wanted to move on. I had to catch a train within the hour to get home, and I wasn’t prepared to sleep with him on the first date (mostly because I had work the next day) so he offered to take me home in his car later on. I was anxious as I do like to be extra careful in these situations and told him that he could take me to the train station if he really felt like it. He agreed and told me to keep his offer in mind.
We moved on to the next bar. A fantastic thing about all Italians is that they always seem to know where to go to get good wine and food, and this guy was no exception. We walked into a cosy bar full to the brim with people, where the aperitifs were big enough to tide you over without a full meal. He offered to order me something he thought I would like and the waiter brought over a beautiful red wine that I now keep stocked in my cupboard at all times. As we continued talking I couldn’t help but be bowled over by his charming smile, his shy laugh and the strange confidence he exuded that was, as I would later find out, completely justified. He was successful, well travelled and intelligent, but also silly and brutally honest. The last two are qualities I find very attractive in a man. However, he didn’t seem all that interested in me sexually. I continued to try and make myself seem more appealing, even removing a layer of clothing to reveal some major cleavage. He didn’t even flinch, he kept his distance and maintained eye contact the entire time. I wasn’t about to try flogging a dead horse so I accepted that what I had felt earlier on might have just been my own attraction for him bleeding over into denial.
Nevertheless, the night continued and he offered me a ride again. At this point it was past the last train, so I really had no choice. Walking to his car, he still didn’t make any sort of move, even as we traversed the romantic cobbled streets and bumped arms several times (talk about a guy who can’t take a hint?!). Getting into his car I warned him that if I felt at any point he would try to murder/kidnap me then I would open the car door and roll out onto the motorway, putting my life into gods hands. He replied by suggesting that I myself could be a murderer and ‘how were either of us to know?’, to which I laughed and swiftly messaged my housemate with my location.
Suddenly, my date/friend (it was hard to tell at this point) said something that sobered me right up. He calmly told me “I want to take you somewhere else before you go home”. I immediately thought about how stupid I had been, mentally punishing myself for being so naive and getting ready to call my housemate and jump out at the next red light. However, I was prematurely panicking, as we pulled over in front of an almost empty bar with a crowd gathering outside it. “This guy does the best cocktail in all of Naples” my murderer said.
As I got out of the car I wasn’t drawn to the bar but to the other side of the road. I crossed over only to find a panoramic view of the city of Naples, complete with the harbour, the lights and Vesuvio in the distance. It was spectacular. My date joined me with drinks already in hand and we sat on the wall overlooking the view for our nightcaps.
By this point my date had taken me for drinks, for dinner and to the most romantic place in the city. This was third date territory in the space of an evening, and yet he was still sitting at least a metre away from me. Were all Italian men just naturally this romantic without even trying? Or was it the city itself and I was just lost in a daydream that he thought of as everyday life? One thing was for sure, the cleavage hadn’t phased him. Or so I thought…
After a while I decided it was time for me to leave and asked him to take me home, feeling more relaxed now after my first near death experience. I jumped down from the wall and started walking in the direction of the car, when suddenly he was in front of me and his lips were on mine. A fumbling of hands was my first, awkward reaction but it didn’t take long before we were both pressed against the wall where we had just been sitting and his hands were in my hair. We kissed passionately for a long time, even attracting the wolf whistles of strangers, until he smiled and asked me if that was ‘what I had expected?’. I told him; “it took you long enough”.
Needless to say, we saw each other again.
So for anyone thinking about taking that trip to Italy, my advice to you is this; don’t trust the tinder profile photographs, just go on the date and let the city do the work.
Now I am on my own again and travelling the world, looking for more romantic moments in every new country I visit and with every new man I meet (well…not every man, a girl has standards). If you want to stay up to date with my most recent moments then please subscribe with your email.
If you have had a less than romantic experience in a typically romantic country then let me know by commenting below! For now, Ciao Belle!