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


Vincent said...

To help me imagine this, do you mean Italian = born in Italy? Or Italian by descent, various generations ago?

Does the restaurant not have a rudimentary dress code, allowing it to refuse admission to the shirtless?

ricky said...

Do you still get the feeling that he is lusting after you?
How did you come up with Cosimo?

libby said...

Cosimo, like from Moonstruck?

Chris Almond said...

Both his parents are Italian born, but I seem to recall him saying he was born in New York, although he's fluent in Italian and even speaks english with a slight italian accent. I have the impression his family had made and continues to make a strong effort to maintain their Italian heritage. To the point of still using the dowry system.

After several nights in a row of him coming over to talk for hours at a time I started discouraging further long visits by repeatedly emphasizing all the things I had to get done. After that he stopped coming over, so if he is lusting after me still, I can't tell and he is no longer so forward about it.

Ricky and Libby,
I found the name Cosimo by doing a google for "Italian names' and choosing the first one which caught my eye.

Chris Almond said...

I asked marissa if they didn't have a 'no shirt, no shoes, no service policy' and she said they did. Asking her why he was still served she wasn't sure. She wasn't working when it happened, but rather, told about it later, when she mentioned to her co-worker he was our neighbor. (he eats there fairly often I guess).