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The Proposition

When I was about 35 and my mother about 53, we went together on a European tour of the three necessary cities: London, Paris, and Rome. It was a great trip and many funny things happened to us during our three weeks abroad. But this incident stands out in every telling of our trip

Before we went to Rome we had heard all the stories about how Italian men are pretty brazen in their "appreciation" of women with loud comments, whistles and even some fanny pinching. However, we heard only a couple of whistles while we were in Rome. Were we disappointed? Maybe or not!

We had gotten over worrying about Italian male behavior when we decided to fly to Florence to see that wonderful city and all the art there, especially works by Michelangelo.

It was lightly raining when we left the Academia after marveling over the David and other statuary on display there. We had no rain gear or umbrellas, but just kept walking towards our hotel anyway. Suddenly I became aware that my mother was being separated from me by a rather pushy woman about her age. She kept gesturing that my mom should join her under the umbrella she proffered. The woman spoke no English and my mother no Italian, but the woman was very insistent even though mother kept gesturing to me indicating that she was with her daughter.

The lady (maybe that is the wrong term) kept trying to whisper in her ear all the while tugging at her to walk faster, while pulling her into her side. My mother was not a naïve person and it quickly became clear to her despite the language barrier that this person was propositioning her to join in some sort of tete-a-tete.

Laughing, my mother then was able to let the woman know she was totally uninterested in such a liaison. The would be "seducer" shrugged and left mother alone. But we both laughed uproariously over our belief that it would be Italian men who were eager for some sort of "connection" with female tourists.

I had attracted no attention from either men or women while my mother had definitely gotten the attention of the "Lady from Florence."

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