So upon further reflection, perhaps this post should have been entitled, “how not to dress like an Italian.” On this specific topic, I am most certainly an expert.
Una bella figura
It was 2008, during my fourth trip to Italy, and I was sitting at a pub in Bologna with an Italian friend. We were ready for some more drinks, so I offered to go get them from the bar. I popped out of my seat and walked confidently up to the bartender, anxious to try out the three or four phrases of Italian that I had memorized for precisely such occasions. Just as I was about to open my mouth to speak, he asked me in English, “What can I get for you?”
I was taken aback, my whole script thrown out of sequence in the blink of an eye. I tried to quickly recover, to mentally fast forward to my next line, but I was too flustered. Instead I hung my head and uttered meekly, “Two beers, please.”
Damn it! I really wanted to try out my Italian. I shuffled back towards my friend, dejected, carrying the two sweaty bottles of Peroni.