Within a month of starting to learn Italian, I now find myself having to break up with someone in Italian. Not the easiest task in one’s native tongue, and I’m left wondering whether the language barrier will make this process any easier or more difficult.
Sara was one of the first language exchange partners I met, and within a week we upgraded to simply partners. Actually, it was less than a week and more like 4 days. In fact, it was exactly 4 days. I know this because I remember waking up with her next to me in my bed, and thinking ‘Wait, didn’t I only meet this girl 4 days ago? …nice’. Yes, bedding Sara has been one of my greatest successes recently, and that’s not coming from some manly notches-on-the-bedpost type of place, but more because I’d specifically said to Anthony (my housemate) that the best way I could possibly learn Italian would be to get an Italian girlfriend. Then lo and behold there was an Italian girl in my bed 4 days later, which becomes all the more impressive when you consider that I hadn’t slept with anyone for the 4/5 months prior to deciding I would find one.
So how does one go about acquiring a girlfriend who’s native to the language you wish to learn? Use alcohol. But before you can do that, you need to actually find a native woman and gumtree proves an invaluable source here. I posted an advert saying ‘My English for your Italian’, then wrote a little description of myself and my plans to cycle around Italy. I’ll say now that I did this with no intention of finding a girlfriend. However, I was amazed at the number of replies I got from Italian women and of course a boy couldn’t help but then start to dream a little. And so I replied to Irene, a 23 year old from Bologna (for some reason they were all from Bologna) and cycled off the next day to meet her in Angel. Irene proved to be nice enough and we had a decent conversation where I improved my Italian quite a bit. But the whole thing didn’t really do it for me in any romantic sense, and although I hadn’t necessarily set off looking for love, I nonetheless left feeling a little dissapointed. Basically she was pretty fat. And ginger.
The second woman I met was Sara. In between Irene and Sara, I also met up with an Italian man called Emmanuelle, which I mention solely to ensure you that I was in fact doing these meetings for the sakes of linguistic and cultural learning, and not just for the fine-ass international b*tches. Also I wasn’t sure whether Emmanuelle was a boys or a girls name when he emailed me asking if I wanted to meet. Sara on the other hand did turn out to actually be a woman and quite a pretty one at that, she had a lovely smile and we laughed a lot from the moment we met. Doing a language exchange with a woman – or if you’re a woman, with a man – is definitely the way forward since you can make up for the lack of verbal communication with lots of physical contact and by being quite flirty. Sara and I really clicked in this way, we met on each of the next 3 days and I started to develop a bit of a thing for her. We grew closer with each meeting and although she was very touchy, and even came and lay on my bed one afternoon, I still reckoned she would’ve probably shyed away if I’d tried to move in for the kiss at that moment. I concluded that she still had a bit of doubt over what she wanted from me, and thus I formulated the master plan.
I knew my cousin was going out of town so I asked for the keys to his houseboat. Loveshack sorted. The next thing to consider was how to get there, and how to make sure we’d be drunk before getting there. So I arranged to meet at a pub in Camden about a mile or so from the boat, and when we arrived she asked for a specific drink, but I just got a bottle of wine in straight away instead. We sat close to each other, and every time we finished our drinks I took her to a different pub. The clock then reached two in the morning and Sara asked me how she could get home since the tube was now closed. I pointed out that ‘somehow’ (obviously I didn’t do the inverted quotes when I said it) we’d ended up right next to my cousin’s free houseboat and we could stay there. She said ok, and from there, well, when there’s a drunk boy and a drunk girl alone on a houseboat at two in the morning, we all know what kind of shit’s going to go down… you know what I’m saying?
No shit. We lay in bed and I tried to get with her, but she said no.
(to be continued)