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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Poolside Observations

As you can see from the photo below, we have been going to the swimming pool recently. I don’t know if the male “I don’t need sunscreen” gene is related to the male “I don’t need directions” gene but both can have disastrous consequences. Luckily it’s August and the sun’s ray have mellowed compared to July. I think Deme forgets that he is Caucasian, maybe he thinks he’s some kind of olive skinned Greek god. In fact he is adorably freckled all over and sports a Seattle fluorescent tan during most of the year. Yesterday planned to work on our tans and spend a couple of hours lying out, reading and people watching.

The pools in Italy require all patrons to wear swim caps. Usually if you don’t have one, they’ll sell one to you for 1 Euro. As with most places in Italy there is a bar at the swimming pool. In the U.S. the most you get are ice cream vending machines; here you can buy chips, ice cream, popsicles, coffee and water. We usually bring a snack or two and buy water at the pool.

As I lie on the pool deck or on the grass if all the lounge chairs are taken, I am stuck by all the super tanned bodies around me. In Italy being too tanned is never a problem, they use the word “bronzata” here and you get the feeling that being bronzed is a good thing, a very good thing. In the U.S. skin cancer is talked about all the time. I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma when she was only 12 or 13, it was removed and she lived a fine life until it came back and she died from it at 23. When I look at all the “super leathery” skin around me I worry, mostly for myself, hoping that I don’t fall into the “super bronzata” trap. I say “super leathery” because almost all the “super tanners” are smokers too; a double whammy.

Of the 200-250 people at the pool yesterday about 70% of the adults had tattoos and piercings. I have to add that I have tattoos also. Many moms had bellybutton piercings, a few granny’s had them too (this was a bit gruesome to look at). I read somewhere that Italy is a terribly visual culture. Body art, hair color, tans, clothes, pedicures, shoes, bags, hair cuts and manicures are all enormously important. There was even a 6 year old boy with a Mohawk haircut and genuine tattoos. Tan lines are bad, very bad, and so women lie around topless or with the straps to their bathing suits tucked away. Men wear the smallest Speedos they can fit into and little girls don’t wear tops until they actually have something to cover up. I sure am not in Kansas anymore.

9 Comments:

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Gia said...

Have you forgotten that WE used to run around in just undies outdoors in our neighborhood when we had nothing to hide too!?

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Yes that is true but an island setting 20+ years ago seems more suitable than a city, granted it was a public pool.

 
At 10:52 PM, Anonymous dario said...

Uhm... i have very light skin, so when i am exposed to the sun I always get burnt. After a couple of days i loose the red part of the skin and i become pink-white again. So when i go to the swimming pool - beaches i try to avoid this and use protection lotions, those kind for babies.
I like the feeling of the water caressing my hair, when i swim underwater, so i do not like swim caps, and i find them un-aesthetic on pretty girls.
I do not like tattoos, unless they are very little and hardly visible, and, even if i think that a piercing on the bellybutton is sexy on a pretty girl, i think that it is not really aestethic for not-very-pretty girls/women/grannies. I don't like small masculin swimsuits, i prefer shorts (also because i am a little overweight!). I find tan lines on girls very sexy, because, if exposed, they look like they are exposing some nudity. I don't like super-abbronzate girls, unless their skin is already naturally dark, like asians or black girls.
Look like i am slowly loosing my dangerous Italian-ness substituting it with a more helalthy-clever American behavior? Wow! :-)

 
At 3:27 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Dario,
This is a family friendly site and your words are too risque for me. Ha! Ha! Aesthetics are all subjective and I don't think you are losing your Italian-ness at all, you have to live a long time in the US to do that and even my husband, 19 years away from Italy has not lost much.

 
At 2:03 PM, Anonymous rowena said...

Yikes! We just got home from an evening out and it's already 11pm and only NOW we've checked the answering machine! Yep, it's been busy busy around here and I'm sorry you missed us yet again on Wednesday afternoon. I don't have any set time that I take the dog out for a walk... only when she starts pouting or destructing something around the apartment.

The kitchen thing is a done deal. I really don't give a hoo-ha about the whole italian aesthetic thing... I'm just looking forward to making a mess in it! :-D

 
At 2:06 PM, Anonymous rowena said...

Uhm, my husband there will never lose his italian-ness, no matter what he might think. God, if I stopped serving pasta for dinner, it would be grounds for divorce! Muahahahhahaa!

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous rowena said...

And while I'm on a roll here, with your comment box (sorry for the abuse!), swim caps are just plain ugly. And that is the reason why I don't like going to swimming pools here to swim. Only to look at the dudes. ;-) {I'll probably get in trouble for saying this...}

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Rowena,
I think your husband said more self-incriminating things that you did.

 
At 10:09 PM, Anonymous dario said...

Eheh! I guess my wife already cought me looking to the piercings on the navels of pretty girls!

 

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