"Ada" Moment's Notice, Anything Can Happen
There's a cliche saying that states, "when life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade". But what happens when the lemons are women, and the lemonade you make out of them tastes more like old bar mix that's turned because you left it out for too long? In an odd and somewhat tragic way, (bear with me, I know the analogy's a stretch) this seems to some up my luck with women in Rome. Out here I am the "Cooler". I'm the black cat that crosses the road, the spilled salt, the shattered mirror. You get the point.
Now I'm not beating myself up, as much as it sounds like I am. On the contrary, my luck with women here is so bad that I find it funny. I'm even smiling and laughing while writing this article. I think it's karma because I've been so lucky with everything else here so far: two jobs, lots of friends, good roommate, great apartment. Women however, are another story. Lauren and Ada are the only two stories worth actually telling. I'll skip Lauren for now, and I'll just go straight to Ada.
If you had read my previous post "Nothing is Ever as it Seems", you'd know that Ada is the southern Italian girl who works at the hot dog stand near my pub. For weeks now we've been chatting with each other in a mixture of broken English and my white-boy version of sloppy street Italian. Each time we would talk, we seemed to get closer and closer. Finally I ponied-up and asked her out via e-mail. I used a webpage to translate text from English to Italian to make it easier. After a day or so, she agreed to go out to dinner and dancing with me and my friend Jason. Hallelujah, my first successful attempt at courting an Italian woman!!!
We agreed to meet on Friday night in Piazza Risorgimento at 8:30, and then walk to small Italian restaurant in my neighborhood. I met up with Jason at 7:00, got dressed up, and walked with him down to the Piazza, 5 minutes late for our agreed upon time. We took a seat on a nearby bench and began to wait. First it was 10 minutes, 20, 30, and eventually 45...no Ada. Just as we were ready to throw in the towel she sent me a text message. "Ciao Andy, I'm Ada....I'm have an problem so no dinner...I come to your house with a friend....and then for dance...ONE BIG KISS".
Jackpot baby, jackpot. Jason and I met up with another friend, grabbed some Egyptian food at "Mr. Kebab", and went home to drink some "Vodka Lemons" before the girls arrived. She got to my house shortly after with her roommate, a beautiful Roman girl named Emmanuella. We flirted, drank, played music, and practiced our respective new languages. Then it was off to the club. As we walked down the street Jason was flirting with Emmanuella and I was singing "Temptations" songs to Ada as she mumbled what she thought were the lyrics to "My Girl". Oh irony, how sweet you are. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Next stop, the "Cantina Messicana" salsa club.
Dancing was a lot of fun. Ada and Emmanuella both study dance at La Sapienza University, and previously attended Italy's National Dance Academy for high school. Those girls could really move. Jason and I weren't humble either, we're both avid dancers, and I think the girls were impressed by our confidence. Yet again, same pairing as earlier. Emmanuella-Jason, Ada-Andy. We took pictures of the four of us and decided to leave around 1:30. Emmanuella told us she had to wake up at 7 and abruptly decided to go home, much to Jason's dissapointment. The rest of us were going to "The Groove", a late-night hip hop spot that's almost as infamous as it is popular. Ada was willing to ditch her friend and go with two Joe Shmo Americans to an after-hours hip hop club that was a 15 minute cab ride away. We kept hugging and flirted like adolescents do; first funny faces, then tickling, pinching, nose grabbing, and noogies.
I was in like Flynn backpackers. Jason knew it, and he acknowledged me with a wink and a smile. When we hit "The Groove" we headed straight for the coat room, Ada's hand in mine, Jason not far behind. Then disaster struck. On our way to the coat room we ran into two girls from Los Angeles who had been drinking at the bar I work at the night before. "Andy Andy..." they shouted drunkenly, "....we're so glad to see you. What are you doing here?". Then one at a time, they leaned over to me and planted a drunken sloppy wet kiss right on my lips. Both of them. This was followed immediately with, "come back home with us, we're leaving right now." We had just jumped from a category 3 to a category 5 disaster, and I could see that Ada's face was not smiling.
I politely declined their request (it takes a brave man to decline that kind of request) and we hung up our coats without much discussion of the incident. Luckily for me, Ada didn't speak enough English to understand what they were saying. Jason split and Ada and I sat and chatted, then danced, then chatted some more. In the smoking room I went in for the kill, I tried to kiss her. She pulled back immediately and in her best English said "NO...you kiss every girls here before me. Why you do that?". The eye of the storm had passed and we were back to a category 5.
"No no no," I said almost desperately, "I'm not like that". Panicking, I grabbed my Cuban friend Ony who could speak Italian fluently. "Dude, I'm in trouble. You have to explain to her that I only want to kiss her, the other girls were just joking". It took him 10 minutes, but Ony got the job done. She was back to smiling and looking at me with widened eyes. Then I tried to kiss her again. "NO Andy, I can't. I can't kiss you" she said again. Now I began to speak Italian with her. "Why, what's the problem, I thought you liked me". "I do.....but I can't, I just can't," she said. Forget a category 5, the next words out of her mouth were like Hiroshima. In the next four words I saw our whole night vaporize before my very eyes. "I have a fiancee," she said, "so I can't kiss you". It was 3:30 in the morning.
The only word which could have been worse than that would have been husband. My face turned pink with embarassment. She apologized repeatedly and said that she still thought I was a great guy. She knew exactly how I felt and it showed. I think she was embarassed too. Apparently he's from her home town in Puglia and he studies economics in Milan. She showed me a picture of them kissing with a heart drawn around it and the words "Ti Amo" or "I Love You" written on it in black ink.
The next few minutes were really awkward. We took a shot of Jaegermeister and hit the dance floor again. We were both trying to pretend like none of that just happened. I began to scour the room for the girls from LA, no luck. That ship had sailed.
After a good dance to ease the tension we went to Dog-Out with my friend Ty who I saw at the bar. She gave us free beers and hot dogs. We said goodbye as if nothing had happened, and Ty and I split a cab home. I was exhausted, it was 6:00am at this point. I smiled, laughed to myself, and grabbed some pretzels from my kitchen. So ends another day in the eternal city. At least I had a fun night. I started out with a lemon, and in the end, this was my lemonade.