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Rate Mario’s Ass… and Other Stories

February 25, 2011 in spazarific

I have new friends. I have new friends! It’s Saturday night and we have plans. We have plans. I have plans! We’re going to Gaeta for dinner and then dancing. We’re going to Gaeta for dinner and then dancing! Dinner! And! Dancing! It’s about to get real, y’all, and you don’t even know.

There are ten of us out for dinner – a small place; one woman to do all the cooking – and at least half of us go for the night’s special: fusilli with ricotta and a pesto of arugula and cherry tomatoes. We are seven Italians, one Hungarian, one French woman, and myself. Marcella, one of the Italians, asks me Have you found it easy to get adjusted here in Terracina? And, as if on cue, Katarina and Cecile answer for me: No. Giggles all around. But Marcella understands. I know, she says. I moved away for a little while, too, and when I came back all of my friends had gone. I joined gyms just to meet people but no one looked me in the eye. Here. In my own home town.

At the club we are joined by two more men – Mario and Pietro. Pietro is wearing a big purple scarf around his neck and Mario is dancing, something like between the Cabbage Patch and the Roger Rabbit. Untiss untiss untiss; untiss untiss untiss. The music is appalling – nonsense about Hello and Barbra Streisand beating a miserable tattoo through my skull. Untiss untiss untiss; untiss untiss untiss.But then Mario says: Listen, everyone. I want you to understand something. My ass? It’s amazing. It is my pride and joy. Ladies? Test it. Rate it. Squeezes commence and, around the board, we decide it’s a 6. Mario is devastated, but devastated. Stefano comforts him: Look, it’s not that bad. Just go to the gym more often. But Mario can’t be moved. A 6, he says. They gave me a 6. Shaking his head, disconsolate. I can’t believe it, he says. I just can’t believe it.

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Screw the Foreigner

February 17, 2011 in spazarific

So they play a little game here in town – quite similar to kancho, my absolute favorite thing about living in Japan. I call the game Tutti a FregĂ  la Straniera – or, Let’s All Screw the Foreigner. It’s an old game, an ancient game, but still highly popular and from what I understand, it’s popular world-wide.


  1. Find a foreigner somewhere; doesn’t even matter if they speak Italian fluently – it’s more of a challenge that way. Find them at a supermarket. The post office. A bakery. You know, some place where money will be exchanged.
  2. Ready? Set? Screw them.

Now you know why Italians are always smoking.

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