But it made me reflect on the glory days of Italy, where random men (simple and smart) would tell me how beautiful I was every day! And whether or not they were creepy, the compliments were very welcome! So here are some of the more comical compliments that I or my companions received during my stay in Italy, in chronological order.
On a Bus in Florence
My memory on this one is sketchy since Florence was my first city and my Italian was also sketchy. My trainer was Italian. Two guys approach us on the bus and start telling her how beautiful they think we are. She says, "That's great. We're missionaries!" They ask what missionaries are. She says, "Like nuns" and smiles an icey smile at them. Conversation quickly dies and they find seats on a bus that was previously too crowded for them to have found seats on.
On a Street in Rome
One of my companions (there were three of us) says as we pass a car, Bella macchina (beautiful car). The driver says, Bella tu. We keep on walking, but the driver calls us back. He has a creepy voice but a really nice car.
--Hai sentito? Ho detto, "Bella tu."
--Did you hear? I said, "Beautiful you."
--Si. Ho sentito.
--Yes. I heard.
--Quanti anni hai?
--How many years do you have? (How old are you?)
--Quando torni in America?
--When do you go back to America?
--Quando i miei genitori vengono a portarmi via.
--Until my parents come to take me away.
At this point, we leave.
At Trevi Fountain in Rome
A foreign man is trying to sell roses. He chases my companion with a rose, calling her beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I say, "If she's so beautiful, why does she have to buy her own roses? Shouldn't a man buy roses for her?" He turns to me and says, "I wasn't talking to you, ugly."
On a Boat from Sardinia to Rome
A guy is talking to my companion and me. He thinks my companion is beautiful. He goes on and on and on about how beautiful she is. Then he turns to me:
--Pure tu sei bella. Pero.
--Also you are beautiful. But.
And he shrugs his shoulders.
On a Train in Sardinia
My greenie comes up to me after having used the train's restroom:
--What does Sei bellissima! mean?
--What did you say to the person who said Sei bellissima! to you?
--I said, Si! because I thought he was asking if the restroom was free.
(Sei bellissima! means "You are very beautiful!" Si! means "Yes!")
At a Blind Woman's House. The Blind Woman Has Been Receiving Help from Sister Missionaries for Eight Years.
--Voi siete tutte belle! Tutte belle! Tutte belle e magre!
--You are all beautiful! All beautiful! All beautiful and thin!
There are three of us visiting her. She walks over to the thinnest of us and squeezes her arms. Magra! she cries. She comes to me and squeezes my arms. Magra! she cries. She goes to the third sister, who is hardly larger than me at all. She squeezes her arms. She hesitates.
--Tu, pero. Tu sei un po cicia.
--You, however. You are a little chubby.
On the Subway in Rome, Knowing that I Am Wearing a Perfectly Matched Outfit
--You are the most beautiful woman on the metro right now and all eyes are on you. (This was in English.)
On the Subway in Rome, Sitting Across from Two Drunk Guys
--Io sono bello. Pure tu sei bella. Io sono inamorato di te. Io ti amo.
--I am handsome. You are also beautiful. I am in love with you. I love you.