Friday, December 23, 2005

Italian Dogs, What the Guidebooks Don't Tell You

Fashion is life. Italy, the great country of Gucci, Fendi, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, Armani. In every town the fashion elite parade down their own imaginary runway. But you don’t have to have lots of money to be fashionable. How to be fashionable in Italy? Wear black and grab yourself a pooch to bring everywhere.
If Italy is the land of pasta, then Italy's wealthiest region the Veneto is the land of dogs. I spent three months in Italy. I think I saw one cat. To be fair I’ll make it two. I’m sure one slipped my mind. Cats aren’t very trendy.
Italians love dogs. Dogs are as fashionable as fur, leather and black. Dogs are furry, many are black. They are the perfect fashion accessory! It makes me wonder, is it important for your pet to match your outfit? And if so, are black dogs a more desirable pet than a brown or white dog? Black dogs will clearly go with more outfits.
But don’t worry owners of brown and white dogs. Designers make bags to carry your cute little dog if he doesn’t match your outfit. En route to a winery I overhead two American girls discussing this perfect solution for the nonblack-furred dog.
“Did you just say that designers make bags for carrying dogs?” I asked.
Was I hearing this correctly? Italy's modern day Italian heroes had eased the stresses of an essential fashion accessory not matching an outfit. Bravo!
“Yeah, Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton. They all make them. And if I had a little dog I would have to get one,” she said.

Dogs should and must be brought everywhere. They are allowed everywhere. Nicely dressed women can, or maybe just pretend they can manage a stroller, a crying child and a wandering dog. But even under all that pressure they still look good!
On one occasion I saw a white dog with brown spots. He was alone. He was in a bar. It was the first night I ventured to “La Piazza” with my fellow study abroaders. I was savoring the pure flavor of a €.80 glass of wine when I noticed a man sitting by the door. He was a snooty looking fellow with long dark ponytail, my epitome of a stereotypical Italian. The chain-smoking-espresso-drinking-tight-jean-wearing Italian man. And he was reading the “Pink Paper,” Italy's major sports paper “La Gazzetta dello Sport.” (I must mention that I was tickled pick when I discovered this.) Next to the man was fat dog hanging out in the café-turned-bar. Apparently he was enjoying the Eurotechno while I imagine he waited for some of his friends to show up. They could inhale smoke, as only true Italian dogs do. And maybe they would get doggy bowls of wine. Being Italian, the dogs would probably order a higher quality wine than the tap wine I was drinking.
Becoming aware of this bizarre fashion trend, I decided what I wanted to see the most in Italy was not the Colosseum or The David, but an excessively make-uped woman dressed in the latest designer clothes and the highest heels dragging around her doggie in a matching outfit.
My dream didn’t come true. But in Florence I saw a man pushing his dog in a baby carriage. And that was good enough.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


“We have to talk about how your friends treat my friends.”

When Juan said this to his then-girlfriend—my wrestling buddy and good friend—Jackie he wasn’t kidding around. And I’ll admit that for once he was completely right. In that one night I slapped one of his fraternity brothers and Lil Bit pulled down the pants of another, grabbed his butt and declared, “I own you!” It was a bachelor’s auction. We got excited…

OK, so sometimes my hostility has been misdirected. Which reminds me of the movie “Empire Records.”

“What’s up with the hostility Warren?”

“Stop calling me Warren! My name’s not fuckin Warren!”

For instance the first week of sophomore year I bitched out Kungpow-Kicka who had come to townhouse 241 to make peace for his friend that had just shoved my amiga to the ground. This was an all-time great Bridget-moment. Freshman year I was seen as the quiet, sweet girl and this was the first time I showcased my wildly bad temper in Blacksburg, VA. While the night’s hostility may not have been directed towards Kungpow-Kicka I was going to give the next idiot with a penis a piece of my mind.

On more than one occasion through the college years Juan said to me, “You are so mean to boys.”

Unfortunately, this is not something I can deny.

Like the time I tried to punch my ex-boyfriend because he wouldn’t kiss me. Or the night I made a guy leave my party because he was hitting on my little sister.

I’m not sure when this hostility started, but I have early memories of taunting boys. In preschool we had to hold hands in line, I usually went for my b/f James, but remember getting this mean boy and squeezing his hand really hard to hurt him. (Hey! He was doing it back to me!)

But the meanest thing I ever did to a boy was in first grade. I chased Anthony-from-Kindergarten around the playground trying to kiss him. Gross!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A New York Holiday

Over the weekend I visited rookie New Yorker Annie Superstar-ler for some laughs, shots, and good ole shopping. Arriving in the city the day after a snowfall I realized the functionality behind Ugg boots. They must really be warm because everyone from 2 year-olds to 62 year-olds strutted around in the sheepish footwear. But the fashionistas took the look to another level donning boots with fur on the outside. Yowza!

Annie missed the Rockerfeller Center tree lighting because you had to get seats a 3 p.m. for the 9 p.m. lighting. So we thought we’d go check it out. What a mistake! It was a mob scene. The road in between Rockerfeller Center the NBC studios was closed, but cars still managed to creep into the pedestrian traffic honking at the winter-revelers capturing memorable polaroids of their kids with Shrek, Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob and the Grinch.

Once we hit 5th Ave. the Saks building’s giant snowflakes that lighted in tune with the same Christmas carol over and over and over was (I assume) insaning the membrane of New York’s finest who were directing the holiday traffic.

“Look! The American Girl Doll Store! We have to go Annie!”

“You want to?”


The American Girl Dolls had been the day’s running joke ever since a mom asked us if the subway would take her to 51st and Lexington.

“That’s where the American Girl Store is, right?”

We had been analyzing the dolls and discussing how we hated the dolls-that-look-just-like-you. The AGDs teach young girls about history through the books they come with. That is the point.

We also decided Samantha is the best of the collection because we both had her. But her hair always got dusty because you couldn’t brush it.

So, we go into the store, and we were prepared for it to be a mad house, we were prepared to find new dolls of America’s past, but we were not prepared to find a new doll of the same period.

“Who’s this bitch?” I asked as I picked up a blonde doll dressed in purple standing next to Felicity.

“Oooh this one’s Elizabeth!” I hear a 10 year-old say to her mom.

The AGD Store was the highlight of Annie’s day. And I have to admit it was pretty cool.

“OK. Can you be ready by 10:30?” Annie asks me because I’m always late.

“Yeah, sure.”

“You sure?”

“I’m just always the late one because I do everything last minute because I hate waiting around for other people,” I say.

Epiphany! I am such a jerk. I hate waiting around so I make other people do it for me all the time. News year’s resolution—mental note.

I was excited for the night out to begin because we were going to go to Bed. (Yeah drunk kid thought that was pretty funny to say.) I was excited because it was in “Sex and the City.” But first we were meeting up with Annie’s friend in Alphabet City. Which is where “Rent” was set so I’m singing, “ taaake meee oooOOUUT tonight!” (Side note: the night before when I was singing that line, Hester finished it off with “I don’t wanna let you go till you see the light.”)

When you get in a taxi, you never know what kind of driver you’re going to get. Is the driver going to be talking on his phone the whole time? Does he want to talk to you? Are you going to be able to understand him? Our cab driver that night sure was into talking.

“So you guys going to get into anything good tonight?”

“Yeah cause it’s my last night here, well maybe not something good, but something bad.”

Ooooh Snap. I called that one. Short version: We go to a bar where everyone is dressed like Santa? The pirate shamelessly hits on Bethany even when she tells him Annie is her lesbian lover. Which becomes an excuse to get out of there to go to Bed, across town, almost New Jersey, but our hook up is too drunk to get in. Ludo, the bouncer lets us in, even though it’s a private Indian party. Some dudes suggest a party at the top floor of the Marriot in Time Square. We go, party doesn’t exist. Cab to go home. We see pizza, let us out here! Yum Spinach Roll. The End.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Robbers, Roofies and Victory

Once swim team was over and I was faced with the reality of hunting for a full-time job I ran away to Boston and took Sable with me. Granted at the end of the trip I was going to go on an interview in Taunton “armpit” Massachusetts.
Boston College graduate D. Leebs suggested we drink brew at the Purple Shamrock next to historic Faneuil Hall. He also said there were loads of bars in the area.
We took Boston’s fine metro line, the “T” downtown and walked the block looking for the most crowded bar. It was a Monday night in August, students weren’t back in town yet, but on an unhappening night we planned on going to the most happening bar.
Bell in Hand, oldest tavern in America, situated in a triangular building on the corner was the most alived. A band played at the tip of the triangle while the crowd was occupied themselve with the Red Sox game. I chose what I thought was a Boston brewed Killian’s Irish Red, the word Irish should have tipped me off.
While I pondered whether this was the actual location of the oldest tavern in America touristy Sable who likes to try new things in new places asked the bar tender, “What do you recommend?”
“Ever had a U.F.O.?”
“Get that.”
We sat at a table next to the windows that began 2 feet from the ground and attracted Sox fans to stop in our personal space to check the score of the game.
“I’m not sure where to put my purse. Normally I’d move it to the side of the table away from the crowd but a passerby could just snatch it with these open windows, ” I said.
Haha. Yeah.
We readjusted our bags and continued chatting and a man picked up something off the table.
-I don’t remember him putting something on the table when he walked by before.
Sable jumped out the window.
-Oh Shit.
-That guy took Sable’s purse.
-Well Sable is fast she doesn’t run five miles a day slow. She’s my most athletic friend. She’ll catch him.
I popped my head out the window and looked in both directions. (Even though I knew which way they went.)
-Yes, I should stay here and make sure no one puts roofies in our drinks.
-But if she doesn’t catch him we’re not going to be drinking these beers.
I popped my head of the window again, both directions.
-Humph. Goodbye tall glasses of ice-cold beer.
And then I jumped out of the window too.
A Middle Eastern man on the street asks me if a man took my friend’s wallet.
An old couple wondering why I just jumped out the window looked at me in shock. The lady points to her friend, an old guy with white hair, “He’s with us! He didn’t do it!”
No, really? Ah, but he is walking by…Sable’s flip-flops!
While I was pondering roofies and chatting with nutjobs, Sable had freaked out the moment she realized a man took off with life-—cash, credit cards, cell phone—she jumped out of the window, kicked off her flip flops at the corner and begged the man to stop.
City strollers stopped and stared at the beautiful athletic girl with long blonde hair chasing a dude screaming, “Stop! Please! Please Sir! Stop!”
Robberman wasn’t about to stop. Sable wasn’t going to catch him. New tactic: “He stole my purse, He stole my purse!”
Big man grabs Robberman's shoulders.
“Give her back her purse man.”
“Some guy told me to take it.”
“Please sir! Please give it back to me!”
“I said, give her back her fucking purse.”
Robberman handed it over to very distraught Sable who turned around to collect her flip-flops, which I already had and as a very bad friend I was already laughing.
“Girl, you were smart to yell that he stole your purse! Good thinking!” said some tourist lady.
While Sable is telling me her side of the story, two guys who had been in Bell in Hand run up to us.
“We saw you guys go out the window. Did someone steal your purse?”
“Yeah, but I got it back.”
“Wow. I’m sorry. Good thing you got it back. Victory beers on me,” said light pink shorts dude.
Needless to say, the bouncer gave us a hard time about jumping out the window until we told him what happened. Then he wanted a description. Whatever I’m sure that happens all the time at that bar.
Sable and I sat back down at our table. And before we started another round of laughter girl with “victory beer” guys said, “Don’t worry. I watched your drinks. Nobody put anything in them.”
“Sable let me tell you why I didn’t run after you right away…”

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Boogie All Night

My family is crazy in the loud-obnoxious-fun way. My mom is the youngest of three Irish sisters. Being one of the youngest cousins I've met lots of boyfriends and girlfriends over the years and I've always felt sorry for them being thrown into the company of a bunch of hyena-laughing women. Yowzers! To this day my cousin Josh has yet to bring around a girl, and he's in his 30s, even to his brother's wedding this past weekend.

Randy married Charlotte who is gorgeous and has three awesome kids. Of course my aunt, The Queen, has been spoiling the kids for months. And now I understand why...5 year-old Willem was dancing with me until he had to run off, but told me he'd be back in a minute. When Willem returned, he had put on his jacket and was his fastening his buttons. What a gentleman! I'll boogie to that!

Swim Trunks

My favorite years in school were eighth grade and freshman year of college. College wins. But eighth grade was pretty sweet. The majority of the class had known each other since kindergaten or first grade. We had done the schools plays (I was a Christmas tree, shepherd, and fairy), the standardized tests, field trips (including a dominos break-in), we played soccer together at recess (I never scored, but had one sweet assist) and we (boys and girls included) cried at graduation.

Part of graduation was a party at a classmate's bay house. Of course this was the coolest thing since my girlfriend punched a boy from another school who was hassling us at a dance in 7th grade—boy/girl party, swimming, knee boarding, jumping off docks, sunburns. Flippin' sweet. Only one much as those boys were our friends, we girls didn't want the boys checking out our we covered up with shorts over our racing suits.

It must have been that Catholic school modesty.

But I'm proud to say we weren't covering up because we thought we were fat...we thought we were hot. And in a society with eating disorders and poor body images—a round of applause for a little conceited modesty.