My new neighbors, who are an Italian brother and sister in their 60's are real characters. It has only been a couple weeks, but I already have several stories I hope to write here.
As one appetizer I will say this: Cosimo*, the brother, who is short, bald and very unattractive is not fat all over his body, but does have a huge belly. His upper body is extremely hairy in the way we imagine older Italian upper bodies to be. I don't mention these attributes to make a criticism (I may very well look the same one day), but to help paint a mental picture.
I know about his copious body hair because it isn't uncommon for him to be shirtless during the 2-10 times a day he comes by to use my cell phone. (he doesn't have a phone, but makes over 10 calls a day on average. Many, but not all, on my phone) His shirtlessness isn't a big deal for me. Our building only has three units(one of which is unoccupied,), whose doors are closely spaced within a small hallway which contains the shared washer and dryer, so their is a certain degree built-in intimacy. Plus, he has a casualness about him that helps his shirtlessness not feel inappropriate.
There is a big difference in terms of feeling to being shirtless in public versus shirtless in private or semi-private.
Being shirtless in public generally feels okay within a much smaller criteria than in private. One factor is the appearance of the shirtless person, another is the function of the public space. One of the least acceptable places to be shirtless is a place used for eating.
Marissa is a waitress at a fancy Italian restaurant less than 150 feet from our apartment where Carlos eats on occasion.
Imagine yourself eating in this nice Italian restaurant. The sort whose food is supplied locally and has vegetarian/vegan and gluten free options. Now imagine seeing this man Cosimo, 60-ish,A+ short, bald, unattractive, bulging belly and covered in hair, coming into the restaurant with no shirt! (I want you to imagine this because it really happened). Knowing what I do of Cosimo, he probably didn't think anything of it and if asked, would probably have found the event too unremarkable for it to have penetrated his memory.
*I changed his name. Other names I considered were, Luigi, Calzone, Jeff, Sigmund Freud, Totino, Rodolfo
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