Ryan and I were running late to meet some friends for dinner one night, so we decided to take a cab. Little did I know that one cab fare would cover so much free advice . . .
It started off innocently enough, I was talking with the cab driver (in Italian) about Italy, and the United States, and how we ended up in Rome, etc. Then the conversation quickly went off the rails:
him: So, what do you think of Italian women?
me: They’re very beautiful, and very well-dressed, very stylish.
him: How are they different from American women?
me: Well, American women aren’t so dressed up all the time. We dress up sometimes, just not all the time. We’re more casual. I’m learning though – but it’ll take some time to figure out all this amazing Italian fashion.
(At this point the cab driver turns on the internal light in the cab, and turns around to examine me.)
him: Don’t worry, there’s hope. You just need to find a good hair dresser.
(I had gotten my hair cut & highlighted that week, and was wearing down & blow-dried)
You just need to give this
(he gestures at my head)
a little more style. And maybe get some color – color is in style.
(me: nothing … but my jaw was starting to drop)
him: And instead of this ‘trenchcoat’
(also known as a hip length, fitted, sueded jacket)
you should wear something cuter.
me: stunned silence
ryan: (seeing my open mouth … is now trying to figure out what we might be talking about)
him: (gesturing at Ryan) But that’s ok – you only have to please him anyway. If he’s ok with it, you’re ok.
I filled Ryan in when we got out of the car – which explained why I recommended a small tip.
So, it’s not like I thought I was really effectively competing with the Italian women (nor do I really want to spend all my money trying) – but wow. I’m pretty sure the cab driver thought he was being helpful. I had a different opinion.
I started to feel better though, with every indignant reaction I received when I told the story. And particularly when I finally had occasion to tell the story to an Italian, and she also found the situation ridiculous. :)