So, me and the missus are on our honeymoon in Europe, and our travels take us to Florence. My wife, an Under the Tuscan Sun (book) tragic, wants to retrace her steps from the last time she was in town, through San Gimignano, Siena, Orvieto (in deepest darkest Umbria), and Cortona.
Actually, Orvieto was my idea, mainly coz it wasn’t in fricking Tuscany, and it had a shiny cathedral.
To make our way through the Stations of the Frances Mayes would have been straightforward, had we gotten our own wheels while in Europe. This, however, was not going to happen: I am a nervous driver at the best of times, and I persuaded my better half that for the two or three times on our trip that we could not rely on European rail, we could prevail on local drivers. So we procured the services of a Florentine driver on TripAdvisor.
Ah yes. The Florentine driver on TripAdvisor. He had excellent ratings from American tourists; and my sharp, ebullient, incisive life partner had failed to notice that all these ratings happened to have come from single female tourists, who were also retracing the Stations of the Frances Mayes.
So as we set off of a sunny winter morning from the Renaissance and Leather Emporium that is Florence, our driver (let’s call him Ordelafo, because I’m currently reading Venetian history, and why not anyway) regales us of tales of the construction of the bridges of Florence. As we left the bridges behind us, he then took up tales of his pickup successes over the years—first as an undercover cop spending entirely too much time in bars, and then as a driver ferrying American Frances Mayes acolytes up and down Tuscany.
As part of his recitation, and after enumerating the single digit number of US states he had not made a romantic conquest from, Signor Ordelafo outlined his three criteria for a desirable female companion.
- Not, eh, Italian. (Because Italian women would not put up with his palaver.)
- Not to wear the too much, eh, makeup.
- And eh, how you say, eh, chesty.
I looked across at my pulchritudinous, effervescent, Armenian, cosmetics-eschewing, buxom life partner, mentally ticked off Ordelafo’s criteria, rifled though the bits of Italian I had picked up on the streets of Melbourne, and arched my eyebrow as I said to him:
Ma questa è già sposata.
The missus was quite curious about why Ordelafo did not say a word to us from the outskirts of San Gimignano, up until our return to Florence nine hours later.
What I had said was, simply enough:
But this one’s already married.