TRAVEL

Ginger versus Marianne

It is 3,30 am and I am awake after an evening porchetta fest.At first, I thought I overdosed on the salt, my head was tingly before I went to bed but now I think I have a bit of indigestion.And I can’t tell if it is from the porchetta or from the evening’s dialogues.Both brought me back to Los Angeles circa 1997.

Flashback: August 1997

Our heroine has relocated and been living in Los Angeles for two months with her boyfriend, LA native of three years.Her attempts at friendships have produced:

a.renewed friendship with college roommate Paulina

b.new friendship with bowling partner and fashionista Madge

c.negated attempts at friendship by all of her boyfriend’s female friends.Attempts include invitations to play tennis (uhh, no, I’m out of town), to have coffee (uh, no, i don’t drink caffeine) and watch a film (uh, no, i don’t watch movies)

Like a naïve puppy, our heroine continues trying only to be told by Paulina that LA women are bitches and our heroine need not forge friendships with her boyfriends female friends, as they obviously don’t care.It takes three more months of failed, embarrassing attempts before Paulina’s wisdom sinks in.

Flashforward: March 2007

I’ve been dating The Professor, which on some days can mean I am Marianne, charming and naive, and on others, I’m more of Ginger, tall and resistant to the little naggings that are meant to cut.As Ginger, I would laugh everything off, and as Marianne, I find that I am annoyed by the slight patronization of the local sisterhood.My mind has found strong similarities between Roman and Los Angeles women— pretty, possessive and catty.Only differences:Los Angeles women have great hair and cheesy clothing whereas Roman women have cheesy hair and great, cheesy clothing.

Conversation 1:The Indirect Hit

The Professor: “Did you get a cigarette from Marta*? She told me you bummed a cigarette from her.”

Moi:“Oh yes, I asked her for one.She didn’t have any.Why?”

The Professor:“She said you smoked one of hers.

Moi is a bit confused. Why would Marta say Moi took a cigarettatte when she didn’t? Perhaps The Professor mistranslated.

The Professor continues:

“Marta wanted to know why Americans always ask for cigarettes but never have one.”

Beat

“It’s kind of bad manners.”

Moi:“Okay.”

Pause

“Why did she say that?”

The Professor:“I don’t know.”

*Marta, same person who told The Professor it perhaps wasn’t a good time to be involved in a relationship.Length of Friendship with The Professor:3 years.Moi’s opinion:What the Fuck.

Conversation 2:Heat-Seeking Missile

Roberta**:“So you’re the fidanzatina....”(the little girlfriend)

Moi:“Hi, I’m Moi….”

Roberta:“Ah, and you are a…. student?”

The condescension oozes out of her mouth like pus from a sty—

painful, ugly and unfriendly- as she eyeballs my fashion-sense

Moi:“No, I am a writer.”

The Professor:“She is my trophy girlfriend.”

(credit for unknowingly difusing the situation with humor)

Moi:“I’m a natural blond”

(a paltry attempt at bonding between two brunettes)

Roberta:sideways glance of disbelief combined with non-acceptance of my joke

“Don’t be jealous, I am just going to talk about work with The Professor.Don’t be jealous.”

**Roberta:napoleon complex.Has a lot of money and is not tall.Annum of Acquaintance:10 days.Moi’s opinion: Too Short to Count

As a male listener recounted, “Had she said it with different inflection, it could’ve been a joke but her deliberate stress on the words Don’t be jealous meant to be mean.”

Thank you, lovely listener.Had I not had a Marianne complex, surely, it was birthed in that exact moment.

Italian women can be very nice.They also can be just as bitchy as Los Angeles women, especially in the forum of Men (boyfriends, brothers or friends) and New Girls on the Scene. I understand the need to protect your friends from women you don’t particularly know, especially those that are dating your favorite male friends—but what ever happened to “make love, not war”?or better yet, why not give peace a chance from the very beginning? I didn’t like my friend Brian’s ex-girlfriend Wendy, but that wasn’t until after she trashed his vinyl collection.As for his new girlfriend Julie, I love her and haven’t even met her yet, simply because Brian loves her.

Am I just being naïve? Should I give in and let the new girl prove to me why she is worthy of talking to me and subsequently dating my best guy friend?Isn't that too time consuming and too high school? As I told Belle (who befriends all) this evening, perhaps I should start handing out cards saying "It's never too late to like women." They'd probably get the wrong idea.