Ladies, you’re on vacation so live a little. Let your hair down. Get in touch with you inner teenager and flirt again. Too many of us are wrapped up in the day to day existence of work, friends, family and more work. Too many of us are stuck in that mindset that if a man is interested he will approach me. Too many of you who think like that are sitting home alone and flying solo. Vacation is the perfect time to test your flirting skills.
I remember Mark in Scotland; Brandon in Ireland, Mick in London and last but not least – Domenico, the deranged veterinarian, in Rome. That is where I will begin this bit of advice. Flirt but keep your guard up.
Flirting before and after 911 has taken on a new edge for me. The blinders have come off when traveling solo abroad and the radar detectors have been turned on. Many of us will often do things while on vacation that we would never think of doing at home. Now, post 911, it’s a good idea to breath deep and think twice before getting into a strange man’s car.
It was a sunny, beautiful day in Rome and I pride myself in navigating the public transportation systems of most foreign capitals. However, while all buses may lead to and stop at Rome’s “Wedding Cake,” otherwise known as the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a united Italy, finding the bus you need is another story.
I speak sufficient Italian to ask for directions but even the bus drivers couldn’t tell me how to get to the Villa Borghese. Now you should know that if you want to visit this wonderful Villa you’ll need to buy a timed ticket………get the picture, the clock is ticking and I can’t find a way to get there. I was not going to leave Rome this time without seeing Canova’s sculpture of a reclining Pauline Bonaparte.
Enter Domenico – a charming Italian man of about 50, salt and pepper hair with bright blue eyes who sees my quizzical expression as I gazed down the Via della Teatro Marcello for the bus that was never coming. He naturally offers his car to assist me on my journey and I hesitate as any woman in her right mind in a major city would and should do. I say to myself, “Lisa, no one knows where you are. Is this a smart idea?” But I answer just as rapidly, thinking in a flash, “What are the chances, really, that this nice man parked his rental car at this bus stop just to stalk tourists?”
Off we go. He is a pleasant companion, engaging in conversation, forcing me to speak Italian but understanding my English as well. This is Good Friday, and as a good Italian boy he invites me to spend Easter with Mama in Florence. I graciously decline and we go off to visit Pauline. It was enjoyable and he was crazy, funny.
By the end of our museum visit I am now tired of Domenico and his possessive nature but further continue this adventure by grabbing an espresso and car ride, presumably to visit Castello Gandolfo. It should’ve been a short 20 minute ride but when everyone in Rome is making the great, “Good Friday” escape to the hills, we would never get there by closing time. Domenico insisted I go to Florence for the weekend and when I again rejected him, he went insane. The tension in the car was so thick it made my skin crawl and I began looking for signposts in case I had to jump out of the car. That never came to pass and he dropped me back in Rome but I learned my lesson and share it with you here. If you hesitate in accepting an invite at all there must be reason. My radar was turned on but I just didn’t listen to it.
That didn’t stop me from traveling again and flirting again and meeting several other men throughout Italy who were perfect gentlemen. Next time, however, I met them at the cafe bar.