Wednesday, 16 February 2011

the things we do for money

Not love? Nah, not today. Living in today's Italy makes one wonder about love. And beauty. And youth. Did you see the half million women marching last Sunday for women's dignity? Scrappy housewives, young militants, women in boots, scarves, jeans, kids on shoulders?

And have you seen the women who have driven them to protest? The veline on television - bums patted by 70 year old presenters - shaking their fake assets? I reckon there is a lull of thirty seconds before one comes out again to revive the male audience.

It's tiring, seeing our leader crump his jaw again. It's tiring, seeing the sleek bad-girl Ruby you can be sure a good share of the country is lolling about.

I'm tired of arrogance, of the loveless sheen of perfectly dressed people.

Here is a funny part from my book:Vanessa, my narrator's London-raised daughter, is visiting her mother in Milano. Federico is her mother's young boyfriend. Do laugh some.

Vanessa was glued to the television frowning. ‘I just can’t believe a woman would do this. Did you see her?’

‘Oh yes,’ said Federico, and I was very embarrassed about what might be coming next.

‘She get undressed on television so husbands at home have something to think of when they make love to fat wife. You know, like pornography. Then women can relax and tidy kitchen while men watch television.’

Vanessa’s eyes widened and she looked over to me. ‘You mean women don’t mind parading around like that?’

I was worried they were going to seriously clash and didn’t know whether to change topic or wait for the fall out.

‘No, I don’t think. Look at,’ He started zapping around all the channels. It was mid- evening and the quiz shows were in full swing as people sat around their dinner tables supplying answers. On each channel there was a booby female holding up a card with a letter or spinning a wheel. On one channel two girls were doing a go-go dance.

‘You see? It is always like this.’ Then he switched to a news channel with an older woman announcer. Her skin had been stretched across her face and her lips were fat and shiny. ‘And then they get them like this.’ He shook his head, glancing for a split second in my direction. ‘But this is awful. This woman she no know who she is anymore. She is like carnevale mask, very scary. But this is Italy now, everyone afraid to get old except short bald man, you see him?’

He was pointing back to game show announcer, a flaccid bald man with a paunch, who was pointing to the girl in the hot pants and reading from his cue card. Then Fede turned off the television and said, ‘Basta! My new Australian family will think Italy crazy place! Tonight I take you out to trattoria!’

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