Ciao Bella!

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall



I am vain. I obsessively check out my reflection before I leave the house. I think most people do. And just like you, I take note of how I look in glistening shop windows. I sneak a peek in car mirrors, usually parked, though I have noticed an incessant need to sit in the front of taxi cabs for full control of the passenger side mirror (pull-down or side-view are both fine). I enjoy empty Roman elevators, with the requisite mirror so that I can practice my headshot. (Note: I am not an actress nor do I require a headshot). I become annoyed when my passengers share my elevator space, particularly A, whose vanity slightly surpasses mine as he takes up all the space and has been known to comment on how hot he looks prior to kissing me on the cheek.

I have always known that La Bella Figura is important, whether getting a cup of coffee or procuring documents from the fist-type municipality called The Anagrafe. (Mean sounding name). My latent vain streak only reared a few times between 4th grade (Mick Jagger hair cut, I rocked it) and college. Even the timid acknowledgement of "ugly duckling years" can be considered a subtle salute to my vanity, blossoming from the marriage of art school hip (all art students are superficial) and Los Angeles tragically hip (everything in Los Angeles is superficial) . My style has always been casual cool-- no matter what you wear, wear the right shoes.

According to Julia, there has been a distinct change in how I dress since I have moved to Italy. Not in a difference in style, but a change in the thought process. A mixture of preparation and planning. More effort. Where are we going and how well pressed am I? These questions, she said blatantly run through my head—as if I was trying to solve a philosophical fashion question.

She’s absolutely right. I create a certain persona that I want to appear whether I am going out, giving a tour (nerd girl) or sitting in front of my computer. Many of my friends have been subjected to my drunken Hollywood has-been “writing” costume. They claim the heavy green eye make-up and trashy lingerie are just another facet of procrastination. I disagree-- making thick black smears under my eyes is inspiration for hundreds of words.

Where I draw the line (I think) at obsessing over my looks is after any athletic activity -- I already know that I am pale, sweating and look like I might throw up or die--- any walk through the Ancient Rome in July, and finally the beach. Yes, I have created the "bikini bitch" persona, but that is pre-beach. While I am on the beach, I don't care. Especially since I am prone to being stung by jelly fish or having plastic bags stick to me.