Napoli is 88 percent Catholic. Though I am a devout pagan, I have started going to confession every morning. There is a young priest who lives in my building and we have become friends. Sometimes I confess to him at the church and sometimes, he takes it in the elevator. Tuesday night, over dinner at my place, he confessed to me that he is not gay. I taught him the NSA Principle of WAW- We All Win. I think he would be angry with me about what I did last night, so I will confess to you instead….
Last night, I went to an outdoor trattoria for dinner, alone. I order a glass of wine and, out of the corner of my eye, I notice a tall, rough looking man standing against the wall across the narrow street, drinking a beer and staring at me.
He’s the kind of man that you know, just by his eyes, that you should stay far away from him. Not because he’s a “bad boy” who will fuck you and never call you again, but because he is an uneducated and psychotic criminal who will rape you, snap your neck and leave your naked, bloody body by a dumpster in Scampia.
He keeps staring at me with lethal contempt, as though I am to blame for every bad thing that ever happened to him in his life. It scares the shit out of me. And I always say, you should face your fear, head on. So, I look him in the eye, smile at him and shout, “Ciao! Vorresti unirti a me per una bella cena?”
He looks stunned for a second. Then he throws his beer to the ground and starts taking giant steps towards me, reaching into his pocket for his knife to slit my stupid American throat.
It’s a comb. He stops abrubtly in front of my table and starts coming his hair, while staring straight ahead at absolutely nothing. Then, he looks down at me, and his whole face changes. He smiles nervously, his eyes light up and I see a glimpse of the innocent little scugnizzo he used to be.
It’s really weird and awkward at first. He doesn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much Italian. His nails are filthy. But then, with a lot of alcohol and a little GoogleTranslate, we start communicating. He tells me his name is Gennaro and that he was one of 7 children (3 of which are now dead- 2 from murder, 1 from overdose) that he never knew his father, and that his mother died when he was 14. He also tells me he is an out of work plumber and I try to make a joke in Italian about “snaking my drain.” He laughs. We move our chairs a little closer together. We talk and eat and drink for hours, laughing and being affectionately friendly and getting quite drunk. When the bill comes, I immediately thrust a wad of money into our little waitress’s hand and say, “I’ve got this.”
“No, you do not paying!” Gennaro protests, snatching my money from the tiny blonde girl’s hand and replacing it with his own money. She reaches into her apron for his change and I grab her skinny arm, saying, “Aspetta, per favore.” She sighs in tired frustration, puts the bill and the money down in the middle of the table, and stands there, waiting.
I take my money from Gennaro’s giant hand and put it back into the blonde waitress’s tiny hand, insisting I pay. She holds the money and looks nervously at Gennaro. I feel bad for putting this woman in an awkward position, but it seems wrong for an out of work plumber to pay for an expensive dinner that was entirely my idea. So, I do the stupidest thing I could possibly do.
I say: “Just let me pay, Gennaro. I’m not gonna have sex with you. I’m a lesbian.”
His eyes widen as though I have slapped him across the face. Our waitress thrusts my money into Gennaro’s hand, turns on her heel and walks away disgustedly. Shocked and confused, Gennaro looks at his own hand filled with my money and his black eyes narrow with anger, “How dare you to insult me?!” He shouts, drunkenly. ” If I invite to dinner, I am pay for dinner! Just like when you invite a BITCH to your bed, she bring the dildo!”
He throws the money into my face and stands up to leave. Furious (and drunk), I grab him by his shoulders and push him back down into his chair.
Everyone in the restaurant stops eating.
It all happens so fast.
With murder in his eyes, Gennaro stands back up, grabs my right arm violently, and raises his left fist to punch me in the face. I close my eyes, bracing myself for the blow, inhaling the mixture of blue-collar summer sweat and cheap cologne as he pulls me in closer to get a better shot. I keep my eyes closed, praying my nose won’t be broken.
I feel his huge hand grab hold of the back of my neck, and then I hear him shouting, “MY SISTER IS A LESBIAN! AND WE ARE NOT ASHAMED!”
I open my eyes and everyone staring at us in stunned silence. I look up at Gennaro, confused. He looks down at me and kisses me awkwardly on my nose.
We both start laughing like insane idiots, hugging each other and collapsing onto his chair, as the other patrons return to their meals, muttering words of annoyance. The waitress shakes her head angrily and goes inside. When I go to the bathroom to freshen up, she is sitting on the bathroom counter, sending text messages. When she sees me, she gives a heavy sigh, moves over by the door and continues texting.
As I’m washing my hands, I catch her looking at me in the mirror and I smile sweetly.
She does not smile back.
“You are a lesbian?” she asks flatly, looking at my reflection in the mirror.
“Yes,” I lie. “I am a lesbian.”
She says nothing, fingers the crucifix around her neck and looks at me from head to toe, appraising my face, my body and my outfit.
“Are you a lesbian?” I ask, gently.
“No,” she says indignantly. “I have three children.”
Without another word, she locks the door, turns off the light, pulls my hair back violently and kisses me deeply. I kiss her back, more out of compassion and curiosity than out of real desire.
And then, this tiny little blonde Neapolitan, she pushes me down onto the bathroom counter, climbs on top of me, hikes up my skirt, moves my panties to one side, and starts whispering some of the filthiest things I have ever heard in my life.
If every straight man on earth would learn how to use his mouth, his tongue and his fingers like my tiny little waitress did, no straight woman would ever go to bed angry. Ever.
I let Gennaro pay the bill.
But, I left the tip.