I mean, take a piffling molehill of an issue, add two Italians and a pinch of balmy weather, and watch the sparks fly. Shaken fists and waspish expressions soon crescendo through beetling eyebrows, unquenchable scuttling and white-hot yelps. I’d put it down to a lack of tea, myself.
Underscoring this over-excited Latin beefing, however, is a complex array of coded hand signals. Whereas a Brit may airily float a finger or two to emphasise a point, the Italians could conceivably converse meaningfully without opening their mouths at all. A Utopian notion, I know, but you’ve got about as much chance of halting an intransigent Italian in his tracks as you have of bump-starting an eighteen-wheeler uphill. But let’s look at what the hands are “saying”.
Reading from left to right, Marco – the man women want, and men want to be – is toughly conveying that he’s going to break somebody’s arse. In the middle position is Alphonso, who, perhaps tiring of this photo shoot, has come up with nothing more inventive than simply saying ‘Fuck off.’
Emiliano, meanwhile, has played a blinder. He is indicating that I am a cornuto, that yes, I am here, but my wife is at home sleeping with somebody else. [N.B. This is extremely offensive in Italy, but worth remembering next time you’re feeling aggrieved down there. Try it on a taxi driver?]
Well, that’s the gilt-edged gist of the boys’ messages. Now let’s turn to the ladies, buoying the tone by indicating that they’ve collectively knitted socks for a nephew, prepared a tiramisu and pruned the San Giovese vines? I’m afraid not.
Antonella, coyly covering her face, given that she’s an architect rather than a wastrel like the rest of them, is mimicking putting some paper into a box. ‘Succhiotto,’ she explains, as clear as mud, ‘it means a blowjob. I take your head and bring it down to my cock.’ Isn’t this an odd gesture for a woman to make, then? It reminds me of that old favourite: waking up in a Bangkok hotel room to find last night’s girl avariciously eyeing your knob. ‘Aah,’ I miss mine,’ she says, sorrowfully, her Adam’s apple bobbing rakishly.
Next up is the inimitable Lucia, deviating from character not a jot in also offering a blowjob. And then Marina is saying something like, ‘This is yummy. Come and get it.’ Incidentally, Marina has an array of tantalising symbols at the base of her spine – an ancient script that reads as though instructions, imploring the viewer to heartily investigate further, lower, deeper and harder. Unfortunately, however, what I’d deliberately misinterpreted as ‘Insert Here’ or ‘Bon Appetit’, does in fact read, ‘You have to live every single moment of your life.’ Lovely girl, but upset her and it’s advisable to start ducking as hurled crockery and poisoned darts wend their way through the Roman air.
Quickly rounding off – I’ve exceeded my preferred word count – Lorella is saying, ‘Skedaddle, you rotter,’ or, if you’d prefer a literal translation, ‘fuck off.’ And, last but not least, the radiant, pregnant Ramona is asking, ‘Are you crazy?’ Well, yes, I probably am, given the afternoon I’ve endured with these hussies..