Category Archives: Dating in Italy

Google Date

Google is play on the term Googol , a mathematical term coined by Milton Sirotta, for a 1 followed by 100 zeros and popularized in the book, “Mathematics and the Imagination” by Kasner and James Newman. The founders of Google use the world to reflect the company’s mission to organize the immense amount of information available on the web.  The term also seem appropriate for a single women  as sometimes she must  date 100 zeros to find her hero… that is “IF” she (not me) is looking for one.  As I am a firm believer of the law of averages aka if you kiss enough frogs  you will eventual hit a prince, unfortunately most women toss in the dating towel after only a ribbit, ribbit or two, instead of allow their “imagination” to enjoy the “mathematics” .  Google is also suitor #3

The Google story starts at Disco Room26 in the EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma) a residential and business zone in south Rome.   My friend Tammy that had moved from the United States to Rome last year had fallen in love with a wealth Sicilian during her summer vacation to Sicily and was having her last night out with the girls before moving to the island.   The plan was for all the ladies to arrive in time to take advance of the “ladies Free before 1am” entry.  Of course at 1am I am still at home.  I receive at text from Tammy to bring my “Diva a Game “because the lines to enter were long and the ladies free time was over.  The entry price is now $20.  WHAT! I do not pay to enter clubs… especially in Rome.  I immediately changed from flat boots to 5 inch heel, to impress or intimate.

During my cab ride to the club the driver watched me in the rear view mirror.  Oh boy here we go!  As I looked out the side window, he turned up his radio. GOOD he is entertaining himself, I thought to myself.

Then I heard humming that turned into full blown singing.  I said nothing and start looking for a hidden camera.   As we neared the club he asked if I knew the song “The way you look tonight”.   I replied yes, that I love the song and Frank Sinatra.   As I stepped out of the cab, he told me that I was beautiful and I made him think of that song because it was perfect for me.  I smiled and said Thank you.  Ahhh…Roma!

The lines were as Tammy texted, long and full of women.   I KNEW not to go anywhere near one of the lines, as one that is accustomed to special treatment would NEVER do such a thing.   I looked around for the bottle service/VIP entrance.   It is normally the shortest line.  I walk over like I owned the place. “Hello, I am a guest of Alessandro (there is always one on the list)” I said with major confidence.  “Alessandro Buassi”, he asks.  “Yes, has he already arrived” ” Yes, he is here, please follow me”  I walk with the doorman, planning my next move… what am I going to say to Alessandro Buassi who I have never met in my life.

The club is packed; this will work to my advantage as it will give me some time to think as we maneuver the crowd.  I am texting Tammy for her location in the room. While looking for her reply, I notice a hottie to my right.  I shoot him a smile and her smiles back.  I wave and her wave back.  Then I stop, the doorman stops also. “Oh, there is Alessandro’s friend. I’m okay, thank you” I say while walking in the direction of the waving hand.   The doorman turns and walks back towards his post.  Wow…that was a close one.  Trust me; I had a back-up plan had we made it to Alessandro.  But, for now plan B will be save for another day.

The hottie does not speak English, thank goodness as I need to keep it moving and find my friends.  Tammy and the girls are now on the dance floor gettin’ it to Donna Summers’ “Bad Girl”.  After a few dances with the girls I get bored and ask my friend Karen from London if she wanted to walk around the room to check out the stock (men).  Karen is game but wants to stop at the bar for a drink first.   While she is ordering, at least four men walk up trying to take a shot at us.  It crazy, you turn your back to one and there is another one waiting.

We are having a ball exchanging numbers but I forget to code my phone entries.  You should know that there seem to only be a few Italian first names used Italy.  The reason is most babies are named after saints. Those named after saints actual celebrate two birthdays, their actual birthday and their saint’s birthday. As heartwarming as this is, it can a major challenge when meeting new guys.  It is not unusual to meet two or three men name Marco, Luca, Carlo, Alessandro, or Francesso in one night. Last name are important, so is trying to attach the correct face with a name and telephone number, something I have not mastered.   I remember having a planned date one evening while traveling to Rome with my friend Veronica in 2009.  While getting dress for my date, she asked which one of my admires had called for the date.   I replied, “I don’t have a clue! I am just going downstairs and see who shows up first.   It is 2012 and I have not gotten any better at coding them in my phone.

The heat from the packed club becomes unbearable and we step outside for some cool air.   Right outside the door a tall (about 6’4) drink of water grabs my hand and motions for a dance.   He is so cute, I forget that I am hot and follow him back into the sweat-box.   We dance and talked, he knows a little English and is quite funny.   He says his name (which I immediately forgot … yes I have issues) and asked for my phone number right around this time Karen has found me and it is time to continue our walk around the club.

By the time we leave the party, I have given my number count to four candidates … I think!   Remember, I am a girl that believes in the law of averages.  The more people I meet, the better the odds of meeting someone interesting.

The next day, I receive a call and the name Albrecio shows on the display.   I am in a meeting can cannot take the call.  The call is followed by a text message “this is Albrecio, I just called you”.  Now my rule is “first contact” must be a phone call, a man cannot text me initially.  It is part of the training program on how to treat me.  Since Albrecio’s call was rejected, I responded to the text with a simple “hello”.

The next text in perfect English explained that we have met last night and he wanted to take me out for on a date the next day.  I had plan for the next two nights (Baby Food and The hound) and suggest Monday after work for dinner.  He agreed.

For the next two days he sent funny messages AND PICTURES of himself.  Oh this is the hottie with the crazy sense of humor, I thought to myself. He not as cute in his pictures but I am still looking forward to seeing him again. More pictures are sent by text.  Ok, this is getting a bit strange.  What man sends this many unrequested photos.  A bit crazy but I am enjoying our conversations.

The night of our date, I receive a text “I am here”.  I am dressed casual cute.  You know, hot but look like not much effort was put into it because this is how you look every date.  My effortless took an hour and a half.   I also pull out the 5 inch heels.  This is a special night.

I walk out the building and Albercio is standing across the street waving.   As he walks toward me, my eyes focus… DAMN this is the wrong guy.  He in not bad looking, just not the one I was expecting.   Maybe this is why he did not look the same in his pictures. lol  I try not to look disappointed.  Hey, it is not his fault I don’t have a good phone coding system for the men I meet. Albercio looks excited to see me and starts talking in Italian.  I smile and say “sorry, I don’t speak Italian and wait on him to reply in English.  Well not only is this NOT the right guy, he does not speak ANY English.  How can this be?  We were having amazing conversation on the WhatsApp instant messager.  I am thinking, this is a joke, come on where is the really Albercio.

As I am trying to process this turn of events, the much shorter impostor pulls out his phone and starts hitting the keys.   Okay he is calling Albercio; I am going to kill him for pulling this joke on me.  I start laughing and looking around.  Then in perfect English the impostor asked “where would you like to eat?”  My reply, “I am not sure, let’s wait for Albercio.  The looks at confused and say “non capisco inglese (I don’t understand English)”.  I laugh thinking it is a joke, then he hands me his phone.

I think, Ooooh all this is a joke and Albercio  is on the phone. I take the phone and the Google translator is open.    Now, I understand, he wants me to reply using the translator.  I type, “where is Albercio?” translator displays “Dove Albercio”,  he replies, yep you guessed it “io sono Albrecio (I am Albrecio).

Again I try not to look surprised and attempt to play my question off as a joke.  He smiles and starts typing on the phone again.  Once again he speaks in prefect English, “would you like to eat near here”.  All I could say was “si”.

We started walking down the street looking for a restaurant.  Needed someone to help me out, said Compo Di Flori which was near by and where my friend Carlo has a restaurant.   Albercio now known as Google, repeats Compo Di Flori?  Si Si, I say.   As we are walking towards Sensus, I am laugh at myself, at Albercio and the crazy date we are on.

We arrive at Sensus and Carol gives me my favorite table. Carlo and Albrecio start talking in Italian, followed by Carlo talking to me in English.  He bring us menus, one in English and one it Italian.  I start telling Carlo about the night I am having.  I am not concerned about telling it in-front of Google, because … well… he does not speak English.   For all I know, he could have done the same thing in Italian.


We order our meal and Albrecio try to start a conversation in English.  After three words, he is stuck and pulls out his phone.  He asked did I like him.  Interesting question for a first date, especially by Google translator.  The question seem a bit needy but it does explain all the texted photos.   He is seeking my approval… by Google translator.  This is going to be an interesting night.  I pull out my phone.

For the next two hours our date is by Google translator.  The only rule is we must  read the translation aloud and not simply show it to each other the translation.  This help to make the translations more personal as we interjected our personalities into the readings.  Carlo walks by a few times shaking his head.   About and hour in, it actually became fun and we did share quite a bit with each other.

We were having so much fun that I agreed to after dinner drinks at a near by pub.   After a while no translation was needed.  We were simply having fun with the few word we knew of the ether’s language and making silly faces.

The evening ending with a walk back to my place and a kiss on the cheek.   I said grazie (thank you) knowing that he knew it was for the fabulous evening.

I learned some valuable lessons that night.

3. I need a system for keeping track of the me I am meeting.

2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,  especially if it is in a different language.

1. When we let go of expectations, sometimes some special can happen.

And yes, i am planning to see Albercio again. I know have two translators loaded on my phone. :)Thank you for read! This is my last entry before returning to Rome tomorrow. Everyone one should be caught up and ready to follow me “A Black Girl in Italy” on my next adventure.

The Hound

#2: The Hound.   The hound and I met on the first night of the Bella Italia 2012 tour.   My dear friend Marc and “Baby Food” (see blog/file “Baby Food) had help me plan a special first night in Rome party for the Bellas atop of  the La Griffe, a luxury 5-star hotel on via Nazzionale.

The weather could not have been more perfect for an evening under the stars.  The hotel is located in the center of ancient Rome.  From the Roof there is a breathtaking 360 degree laminated view of Rome in all her glory.   As the Bellas arrive, we are taken to our tiny (the only) reserved area in the venue.  The space was chosen due to being directly in front of the band.  The crowd is a good mix of Italians and expats from around the world, many speaking English.  The ladies start to fan out into the room partaking in cuisine and conversation.

The band was on point, thanks to Francesco (aka my Baby Food) delivering on everything promised, which started with his simply offer to just play guitar at the event as a gift to me.   Before it was over, he had agreed to put together a band, rent sound equipment, find an Italian female singer that could sing in English and a help with a special surprise.   There is only three weeks between his first offer and our arrival in Rome, it is lot to accomplish but, I am a dreamer that believes all things are possible.   With each doubtful SMS message sent Francesco, my reply is always along the tone of “you can do this” “I believe in you”.  His last reply to me “no more ideas”.  LOL

The band played magnificently as if they had been together for years.  Unknown to the Bellas, a special rehearsal had taken place earlier that evening.   About an hour into the band’s performance there was a break in the music I took the microphone and welcomed the ladies to Rome and turned to the real star of the evening. I welcomed to the stage our own Bella Keisha McLeggon, that  joined the tour from Ontario, Canada.  Keisha brought the house down with her rendition of Rihanna’s Umbrella and Sunday Morning by Maroon 5.  Later in the evening, Francesco’s friend Felicia surprised the Bellas with Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” in English and Italian.  It is the theme song for and the spirit behind all our tours.  It did not take long before the Bellas joined in and closed out the concert.  What a way to start the tour!

After the party, I tried to personally thank Francesco for all his efforts but he seemed a bit distant.  I learned later that it was because he had never seen me in work mode and the power image was a bit intimidating for him.  My poor Baby Food!   But, alas this is not his story, so on to the hound.

There is an order to an Italian night on the town.  The evening normally starts with an aperitivo for 7-9pm.  A pre-dinner drink, meant to “open” the palate and it gives you a chance to socialize, relax, and nibble as dinner approaches.  Dinner normally starts around 9pm.   Dinners are not meant to rushed, everything is cooked to order (no microwaves) and served in courses to ensure that the flavor of each dish can be savored and enjoyed on its own.  A dinner from antipasto (per meal nibbles) to after meal espresso can take two hours or more.   After dinner, around midnight nightclubs opened for dancing and merriment.

It has been a long day for the Bellas, they have been going non-stop since their early morning arrival in Rome.  This is not your grandmother’s tour!  By the time the disco at La Griffe opened, most of the ladies have taken taxis back to the hotel with the exception of 5 or 6 die-hard party girls.  I joined them on the upper party floor.  My feet are throbbing from wearing heels all night, so I take refuge near the side of the dance floor and become the keeper of the purses while the ladies mixed, mingled and danced.   Standing next to me are four men, three casually dressed and one in a suit.  The three casual dressed men take turns motioning for me to dance with them.  It seemed like a contest to see which would break me. One grabbed my hand and tried to twirl me but only to end up twirling himself.  Another dance his way in front of me only to have me turn my back to him.  I am not trying to be mean but dang, MY FEET HURT.

As I turn away, my eyes catch a glimpse of the “suited” one smiling at me in amusement. I first take notice of his white teeth, a sign that he is probably not a cigarette smoker or heavy coffee drinker as many Italians are.  I feel the need to mention that in Italy, yellow or crooked teeth are not necessarily considered ‘bad’ teeth.  The Italian National Health Care system deals with teeth from a purely medical and not cosmetic perspective.  People here also seem less obsessed with perfection as Americans.  The general attitude is if it’s not broke (all the time), don’t fix it. This also explains the amazing landscape where building dating back to 200 BC still stands unaltered.

Mr. Suit looks about 45, which mean his actual age is more around 40 in Italian years. He is tall and very distinguished looking. His skin is deeply tanned and wavy hair immaculately cut.  To me, there is nothing like a well-dressed man, lord help me if he also smells good.  I return his smile as the “dance of the fools” is also somewhat amusing to me.  I always give Italians a little more cultural slack, for what is downright dorky in the states is… well…just “being Italian” when in Italy.

The “dance of the fools” continues for another song, only it is more intense since my smile exchange with the “suited one”.   Now, the three are trying to impress the alpha male.  The alpha male is always easy to identify, for he will be the coolest and most collected one in the group.  He is also normally the most arrogant.   Mr. Suit is no different.

Based on the thread count on his suit ( yes, I can do a thread count  from 50 yards away), this is a man of means.  This “Abitato Italiano (see Pantaloni Verdi)” will be a bit different… on the surface.   Mr. Suit is the Alpha male and cannot risk being rejected in front of his underlings ESPECIALLY after they too have been vying for my attention.  His approach will be much smoother and ambiguous with plausible deniability in cased the desired response is not received.  I stand and wait.

With my back turned to Mr. Suit, he cannot see that I am flirting with others across the room.  I deliberately choose men that Mr. Suit will see as his equal/competitors.   It is not long before one response to my flirtation and starts walking in my direction.  He is very stylish, with tight Italian jeans, a crisp white shirt and a long scarf tossed effortlessly around his neck.   As he moves closer, I smile and tilt my head giving him the once over, from toe to head with my eyes.   The head tilt, is also to let Mr. Suit (standing behind me) know that his competitor has gotten my attention.

By the time the LONG scarf reaches me, I am sincerely interested in its owner and Mr. Suit has fallen into 2nd place for the evening.   You are one of the Americans, he asked.  Yes, how did you know, I replied.  There were many here tonight with your type of skin, this is not something we see often here in Italy, he said with a smile.  Well, I am trying to change that, I say with a coy smile.  This is good, he nods.  We both smile!  “My name is Marco.”  “My name is Fleace.”  We chat briefly and start to dance; Mr. Suit is now a distant memory.    Everything about Marco drips of sex appeal.  I know instinctively to keep distance between our bodies.   There will be no slow dancing for us or I will lose the high ground.   He is very playful, occasionally testing the waters by being suggestive about his desires. Beware of playful men with boyish charm, for they can laugh you right out of your underwear.  Knowing  this, I spin around in dance and add a little more space between us.  Without missing a beat, Marco closes the gap and I am once again in trouble.  I giggle nervously while gently yet seriously pushing him away.

Mr. Suit seem to appear from nowhere, he walks close to me in passing and says “be careful of this one”.  I laugh and nodded in agreement.  Marco looks at me perplexed. You know Mr. Moretti, he asked.

Damn, they know each other, I think to myself.   Not only do they know each other but, the fact the Marco referred to the “suited one” as “Mr.” means he respects him as a person of authority, Italian social etiquette 101. Double damn!  Marco’s demeanor changes and now we are dancing like sister and brother.  The song ends and so does our interaction. What just happen, did I miss the ”do not touch signal” between Marco and Mr. Moretti? How could those 5 spoken words be so powerful that I am now standing alone?

From behind me I hear, “what happen to your friend”?   As I turned around, I knew it would be the Suited One aka Mr. Moretti.   I was right! You scared him away, I replied with a smile.  He seemed surprised, but not really, for he knew exactly what he had done.  My name is Massimo as he extends his well-manicured hand.  I reply giving my name.  In his broken English, he asked how long I will be Italy.  I give my customary answer “three months” only this time adding “to study Italian”.

I always say three months even if it is only two days for the number of days there can have a direct correlation with the method of pursuit.   If the time is too short, those sincerely interested may not move forward as the time is too short for anything to develop.  If he is a hound, the short time frame means he must act fast before you get away neither scenario serves me, so I simply say “three months” to see what can happen, even in two days.

Massimo suggest that he can help with my desire to master the Italian language. He has many friends and some of them teach Italian.  He hands me his business card and ask that I call him.  I take the card and place it into my pocket and as quickly as he had appeared, Massimo was gone.  As I looked over my shoulder, I could see people swarming around him.   Who is this man, I wondered.   His card gave no clue, as it only had his name and telephone number.

The following night was the night of the Bellas Vespa tour of Rome.  The bikers arrive a block from the hotel to prevent the ladies in their excitement from interfering with the staging (preparation).   I get the call that most of the bikes have arrived.  Dressed in a thigh pink 50s inspired dress, I walk the long block like a runway model, I am working it as all the drivers watch me approach.   All eyes are focused on me.  I thank them all for coming and asked are they ready to show my girls Rome.   They yell back, YES with such energy that it could be heard for blocks.

While turning around to walk back to the hotel, I hear someone call out “Felicia” (more about that later), my eyes dart around the group looking for the source.   There sitting on a silver BMW K 1300 S motorcycle is Massimo (yes, I also know my bikes).   I am confused!  How can this be! Rome is small but it can’t be THIS dang small.   I walk (no slink) toward him fully aware that everyone is watching. I keep a respectable distance between us and ask if he is with the group.   He replies, no.  He was doing business in the area and had parked his bike there only to return and find it surrounded by 70 scooters.   He had been told by the drivers that they were waiting for a large group of Black American women and somehow he knew I was involved, so he waited.  Why haven’t you called me, he asked.  I turn and look in the direction of all the bikes and say “as you can see, I have been busy but, I promise to call you soon”.  As I move to walk away, he starts his bike.  The mire power of the powerful BMW motor excites me.  I walk away to the beat of the idling motor fully aware that he and everyone else is watching me.  The bike speeds off, and I make a mental note not to call him too soon.

It is 12 days before I call Massimo.  Our Bella Italia tour has ended and I am in Barcelona on MY own vacation. We speak briefly and agree on a day for dinner once I return to Rome. He asked that I call him on Monday to confirm my return.

The night of our date Massimo meets me at my door and we take a short walk to his car, a Black Mercedes Benz S-class Sedan, something you don’t see often on the streets of Rome due to the price of the car and gas being almost $10 a gallon.  He walks to the driver side door and gets in; I stand outside the passenger door waiting for him to get the hint.   He looks through the car window and I wave at him.  He immediately steps out of the car to walk around to open my door.  “Mi dispiace (I’m sorry)!  I forgot you are American” he says while closing the door.   As we are driving down the street, Massimo asked very matter of factually, will I be coming home with him after dinner.  I say “NO, what type of question is that to ask!”  He responses unapologetically “Italian girls normally go home with me”.   I reply, “I am NOT Italian” in a way that clearly says END OF TOPIC.  It seems that Mr. Suit/Mr. Moretti/ Massimo is actually Mr. Hound.  Let the game begin!

We arrive in Trastevere, on the west bank of the Tiber River. Trastevere which translates literally to “across the Tiber,” is one of the most charming areas in Rome with amazing restaurants, shops and churches along its maze like medieval lanes. Parking can be a challenge in Rome and even more so along the tiny streets of Trastevere.  This problem is compounded by driving a large sedan.   The closes parking is about 5 blocks from the restaurant.   Did I mention that most streets in Rome are cobblestone and I am wearing 5 inch heels?   As I am wobbling down the street, Massimo/the Hound offers to hold me around my waist for support.  How nice and convenient!  As his hand rest on my hip, I take note of the size of his hands, large for an Italian.  Hey, I’m human, don’t judge me. lol

We arrive at the restaurant on a hidden little street.  The owners welcome us (him) as old friends.  We are given special seating outside under the stars.   Something is in the air and I know this will be another one of those wonderful Italian nights even with the hound factor.

The waiter asked for our wine selection.  I asked Massimo for his preference.  “I do not drink, so order what you like” he replies.  He shared that his drinking of alcohol stopped 8 years ago.   I  explain that am still new to Italian wines and need assistance with the selections.  The hound offers to help.  He ordered una bottiglia (a bottle) of white wine… just for ME.  “Do I really look that easy?”  “OMG… this wine is amazing!”

While we are waiting on our meals, romantic music starts playing in the distance.  I pause to listen with my eyes closed.   This is one of many reasons that Italy can be so magical, music is everywhere.  I comment on the music and Massimo agrees that it part of the magic of his country.

The hound speaks English but is not fluently which is hampering his game.  He struggles to flirt with me and mention how much easier things would be if I spoke Italian.  I laugh and say “yes, you would be a lot smoother and I would probably be undressed by now.”  We both laugh.

The dinner is divine, one of best I have had in Italy.  Too bad this place is owned by Massimo’s friends because it would be a good date restaurant for me.  Oh well, there are others in Rome.  During the meal “the hound” makes many awkward attempts at seduction with his broken English.   I playfully laugh at him in order not to bruise his male ego.  Despite being a hound, I find him quite charming.   I don’t blame him for trying to bed me, for in the end ALL MEN are trying to do the same.  As my father would says, it is the man’s job to try to bed you and your job to stop him.  I never take it personally unless I am disrespected.  The hound has not crossed that line.

During dessert, I notice a short older man standing in a doorway of a building with musical symbol.  It is l’Arciliuto. The L’Arciliuto theatre is situated inside Palazzo Chiovenda, an old residence in Piazza di Montevecchio, dating from the fifteenth century. The building rests on the ancient walls of a Roman villa from the II century BC whose remains are still visible underground.

Wanting to learn more about l’Arciliuto first hand, I asked Massimo if he minded us stopping by after dinner.  It was a courtesy ask as I knew that he would not mind… after all he is still trying to get into my pants.  The man in the doorway, Enzo Samaritani is warm and kind.  He tells us that the venue will not reopen until the following Saturday.   Sensing my disappointment, he invites us in for a visit.  The interior is like must things in Rome, old.  Walking through the rooms was like stepping back in time.  In the first room was a tiny bar with a couple of bar stools which lead to a larger music room.  The music room had tattered chairs and 3 or 4 sofas.  In the middle of the floor was an old piano.  Enzo motioned for us to be seated in front of the piano.   He picked up a guitar and started playing a song.  The song had a familiar melody which made me happy.  By the time it ended, I was on the edge of my seat lost in the moment.

Enzo started talking to us about life, about love and loss then he started playing the song again, this time while telling its history.  The song is “Aura Lee” written in 1861.  It was a song of love. The lyrics are not that moving by today’s standards but, I connected to them and the passion in which it is being sung started to cry.  This is yet another one of those moments in Rome, the type we hear in fairytales.  Only this is no fairytale, it is truly happening and I allow myself to be swept away and lost in time.  Later Enzo explains that the melody of the song was commercialized in 1956 and became Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender”.  Ahhh…my soul  knew!

Enzo seemed moved by my tears of joy and mentioned that only those who truly live will allow themselves to cry.  I took his statement as a confirmation that despite the disappointments in my life, I am still ALIVE and hopeful, for it is when hope is lost that we begin to die.

Enzo starts speaking to Massimo in Italian. I found myself wondering why, but obviously this is a private conversation, not meant for my ears.   Massimo listened intensely to every word with the fingers of his hands interlace and touching his face as if in prayer, a sign that he is in deep thought about what is being said.  Then Enzo turns his attention again to me, and asked what do I know about eyes.  I reply, “They are the window to the soul”.  Okay, I know it is a bit cliché but it is also true.  Enzo asked my name and I tell him Fleace.  Ahhh… Fleace, happy in Italian this is an appropriate name for you, he says smiling.  He slowly tells me what he sees in my eyes and once again I brought to tears.  How can this man know so much about me?  By now, tears are steaming down my face and Enzo ask Massimo for permission to sing a song about me. Yes, another song about me (see my “Baby Food” post) Oh God, I am going to lose it if he … and before the my though was complete the permission had been granted and the song began.

Every mention of my name was followed by small details that only my closes friends know.  How can he know all of this???  Is he a telepath, is this a joke, am I that easy to read, all these thoughts are running thought my head.   Then Enzo gave me a knowing smile and I surrender, allowing the moment to just be without questioning.   Massimo grab my hand and kissed it gently and I know in that moment my life would never be the same.  We thanked Enzo for an incredible experience and I give him a long heartfelt hug goodbye while promising to return with friends.  He walked us to the door and I gave him a kiss on the cheek and said thank you again. My heart is full!

Massimo and I walk back to his car, he mentions something about how everyone notices me as we walked by.  I do not reply, as my thoughts are still back at l’Arciliuto. Within minutes we are back at his car and I waiting to get in.  Yep, you guessed it; I am standing outside the car again.  He will learn in time!  He is laughing while walking around an open the door, I am not sure if it is at me or himself.  During the ride home he asked, “will there be a 2nd date”.   I think about it and give a coy “maybe…I will tell you when you call me again”.  Hey!  Remember, he’s a hound!

The car stops in front of my door. The tiny street is dark and with the moonlight glistening on his shiny car.   I thank him for a wonderful evening.  Then like a bear, he grabs my arm and tries to pull me closer.  I pull my arm away with force and say firmly say DO NOT EVER touch me like that again. He apologizes and asks gently for a kiss. Okay, that’s better, I’m thinking.   I lean in to kiss him on the cheek and out pops his tongue like a Jack in a Box.  Yuck!  I push his face away and say NO! He retreats and apologizes again.   It is the end of the night, and obviously he is on auto-pilot but, there will be no landing on this strip.  I am not Italian; I am a SMART Black Girl in Italy.   I thank him again for the evening and get out of the car.   As I am walking away, I noticed that his car engine has not started.  Awww… he is waiting for me to enter the building safely, how sweet.  When I reach my door, I turn to wave good-bye.  To my surprise he is not waiting for me to enter safely but checking his phone, I suspect for confirmations on other possible open “landing strips” for the evening.  I smile and walk into the house.

He has since called twice for a 2nd date.  As he is a hound and I can seem overly eager, I will wait for the 3rd call.  It will come, they always do.

Baby Food

After posting my entry about Pantaloni Verdi (Green Pants), I have received a few emails requesting information on the other 3 suitors.   Since I am currently in the United States on business, it seems the perfect time for the stories.

#1 is Baby Food! The order of stories are chronological not by any importance in my life but “Baby Food” could be a major contender if the boyfriend position ever opens.   I call him Baby Food because he is years younger than me. Like baby food he is soft (to the touch), mushy (sentimental) and easy to digest (uncomplicated).  We meet in July at a “Black Music” party, and open air venue on the banks of the Tiber River beneath Ponte San Angelo (the bridge of Angels).  The location of the party has always been one of my favorites as it is also the same spot the famous river party scene in Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday.  A movie everyone should watch before visiting the eternal city.  The movie was shot in 1953 and not much has changed in the city.  Come to think of it, not much has changed in Rome in 100s of years. One of the reason I love it so dearly! Rome has survived devastating floods, the plague and numerous invasions and yet she still stands proudly.   The word “Rome” actually means strength and vigor, which seems appropriate for a city and culture that has withstood the test of time with only minor changes.

The night of the Baby food meeting, I was hanging out with my girlfriends from Finland and Sweden.  The night had started at the Draft bar in Campo dei Fiori, a small lively medieval square in the middle of Rome, filled with bars and restaurants.   I had not seen Miira, a bubbly blond from Espop, Finland in 2 years.  We sat for hours informing each other of our life events over the last 24 months. I talked of my travels and growth of and Miira of her courtship and recent engagement to the love of her life.  Yes, an Italian.

My plan was to only come out for a couple of drinks and head back to the hotel but, Miira was not having it.  She insisted that the night continue.  How can I say no to such a warm smile.   Her friends Hana and Charlotte, two stunning tall Swedes join us and off we go to the “Black Music Party”.

The party is packed and all heads turn to get a peek at the unusual sight of three blondes (two over 5’9””) and a tall ( and striking I must say)Black girl together.   Minutes after arrival we are whisked away to a private bottle service area where I am introduced (presented) to the alpha male.   The introduction went along the lines of “This is Giuseppe blah blah blah (in my head) and he is an important man in Rome. My reply “I am Fleace, an important woman from Los Angeles”.  My arrogant humor was lost on Mr. Blah Blah Blah and his attention turned to the blondes.  Within seconds the underlings of Mr. Blah Blah Blah (like hounds waiting in pecking order)are trying to make their move.   Bored with the entire scene, I step outside the bottle service area, Miira follows while Hanna and Charlotte remain to sip champagne.

The music is pumping and I start dancing while talking to Miira.  Knowing that I have an audience; a little extra is added to my normal moves.   Miira is watching the party from over my shoulders.  She leans in and whisper that I have admirers.  I whisper…”I know”.   My next dance move required a 360 degree turn that allows me to survey the onlookers.  One in particular caught my eye.  Not because he was good looking (which he was) but it was something about the excitement in his eyes as he watched me.   I paused briefly to make eye contact (see” abitato Italiano” in the Pantaloni Verdi story) and he smiled so sincerely that there as a twinkle in his eyes.  I completed my turn and waited.  The next song played and he moved in closer waiting for another signal.  I turned to look at the bar, actually to look for him and now he is directly behind me. Our eyes meet again, this time I smile.  He seemed shocked yet excited by my approval.  He steps closer and starts speaking Italian.  Mi dispiace, non parlo italiano (I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian), I reply.  Americana? Si!   “I am Francesco, you are very beautiful.”   Grazie, mio nome è Fleace (Thank you, my name is Fleace).   Would you like to dance, I ask.  This is a sign to the other admirers that a choice has been made… for now.   We dance and he ask my age, I say 34 (HEY, I am in Rome… don’t judge me lol), he says he is 32.   Age to me is on a “need to know” basics.   I am ageless and not bounded by time or numbers on a calendar. I am whatever I need  to be at this moment in time. As I am not looking for a boyfriend, husband or plan to birth any ones babies, my age is not required information at this time.  I am free to be whatever I choose to be…tonight its 34 ! 😉

Francesco’s admiration excites me.  It is a combination of teenage innocents and unfiltered magnetism.  I am drawn to him like a moth to fire.  How can this be, in Italian years, he is still a child.  Ahhh… but I am NOT Italian… I am “A Black Women in Italy”, where any and everything is possible.   Under the stars of a warm Roman night, I allow myself to reconnect with a part of me that has been hidden away for years.  I am innocent and non-judgmental.  I have no past in which to analyze this moment against.  I know nothing of heartbreak and stand free to enjoy these moments for what they are … pure joy.

We dance and talk until the party ends at 5am.  With a hint of a new day on the horizon, I am walked up the stairs to Castel SantAngelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) to hail a taxi.  Castel SantAngelo was built in 135 AD – 139 AD as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian. It is one of the most popular and recognizable landmarks in Rome.   It is said that a vision of the archangel Michael appeared at the castle announcing the end of the Plague in Rome.  Today atop of the Castel Sant’Angelo, Michael stands mighty and proud, sheathing his sword.


As we stood in the orange light of the castle, Francesco tells me he is a musician and feels inspired to write a song about me and this night.  I am speechless and fill with girlie giddiness.   He offers his telephone number and make me promise to call him.  I promise with a kiss on his cheek and rode off into the dawn.   In the taxi ride reality comes crashing in as I start thinking about our age difference.  I sink into the leather seat closing my eyes to reliving the evening.   By the time the taxi arrives at my destination, only one thought was in my mind.   No matter how this story ends, I will always have the memories of this night.

Sometimes we must allow ourselves to have the innocents of a baby to truly enjoy the “Baby Food” of life.  I kept my promise to call Francesco, a decision I have not come regret.  The passion between us is undeniable!   I can never allow myself to be along with this man as one of us may be raped and it will not be me. :)

Pantaloni Verdi (Green Pants)

It has only been 5 day 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 give more thought and consideration to who 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 have 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 promised 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 item 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 simply 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 began,  I normally move a few feet . This also give me the opportunity to get a good look at him which pretending to look else where.   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 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 watch me long enough to know that I was not focused on the normal sites in the square.  He seem sincerely interested and asked to see the photos.  Nice move!

As we reviewed each photo her 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 6:30pm as I had plans to attend a friend’s event at 8:30pm.

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 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 Reberto wearing a big smile and BRIGHT GREEN PANTS.   Thank God he is also handsome.

I had to fake taking a picture of his unusual key to get a shot
of his green pants.  lol

After a brief moment of me adjusting my thinking and judgment to Italian, he grab 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 an historian,  Roberto explained the significant of the site.  I am getting turn on as he speaks! I LOVE a intelligent man, even one in bright green pants.  As we continue our walk, oh I forgot to mention that I am wear 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.

Next stop was a charming square with a beauty fountain.  My well informed date told me that the fountain was a gift by a wealth lover to a women 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 shoot 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 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 American English 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 1am in the morning, our two hour date turned into 7 hours.  I totally missed my friends 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 official building that has the face of a Black women 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

The back story!

This journey really started six years ago while sitting in a park in Los Angeles talking with a group of Black women about life. As with most discussions, the topic to turned men and the lack of good ones in the City of Angles.  Woman after woman shared her story (and tears) about not having a date for months in a few cases years.  These were attractive, well-educated and professionally women.  Most of the women were between the ages of 30 and 45 but some as young as 23 and old as 55 year of age.  While listening to their stories, I wondered why experience had not been the same.  Why was I dating more than women 10 years my junior?  I am not a beauty queen or the prettiest girl on the block. In high school I was teased and called Big Bird due to my tall height and long nose.   My boyfriend in college thought it was a compliment to call me an afghan, an elegant long-haired “dog”  with a long nose.   Sorry, I’ve digressed, back to the park.

After a series of question and hearing one time to many “there are no good Black men”, I hypothesized that the reason for the so called “male shortage” was due to their self-imposed limitations also known as “ only dating Black men”.  They all were trying to quench their thirst for happiness in the same small watering hole.   For various reasons most of them out of some sense of loyalty and/or devotion preferred drinking muddy water from a shallow water hole than moving on to springs of interracial dating.   Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE  a tall pieces of dark chocolate but, there is nothing wrong with adding a vanilla swirl into the mix.  My favorite swirl is Italian.  The rich favor of chocolate with half the calories (heartbreak), more about that in later postings.

My heart broke while listening to the ladies tales of woe, especially knowing that they had other options.  What was answer, how could I get them to consider “freeing their minds” from an out dated method of thinking and viewing the world?   The world!  That is the answers… get them out into world, get them to travel internationally.

International travel can be quite liberating.  As we learn how other cultures live, we start questioning our person beliefs and cultural norms.  In this questioning, we gain insight to our own true nature without the burden of conceding to the thoughts and expectations of others at the sacrifice of our own happiness.

Knowing that travel was the answer, the next question was “where to?”.   Ahhh…. Italia!  The decision was maded, take them to Italy, a country rich in history, culture and beautiful Italian men.   The First Bella Italia tour was born.  The tag line was “Italy, the Black women Brazil”.    It is impossible to travel to Italy and return unchanged for the better.   It is a country that has won my heart.  My life is much fuller on Italian soil. Everywhere you look there is beauty.  Nothing in the United States can compare to sipping a cup of coffee in front of the Pantheon or walking across Ponte San Angelo ( the bridge of Angels) at sunset.  The added bonus is Italian men.  Mama Mia!  The love for darker skin is something every Black American female should experience once in her life.

Starting this month, I am on a one year personal quest to learn Italian, more about Italian culture and new thing to add to our tours at  I invite you to follow me for the good, the bad and maybe even the ugly.

As always, I will keep it REAL while sharing what it is REALLY like living as “A Black Girl in Italy”.