Thursday, August 26, 2004

It's a hard life: Charming American couple in Florence subjected to the "sexual encounters" of "sloppy" students

An American couple who spend part of each year in Florence have written a letter into the Times indicating that they find local students too "dirty:"

"Our condo is near the university. Students who get drunk or have sexual encounters are only part of the problem."

Are the students having these sexual encounters in this lovely couple's condo? In the condo next door? Or does this couple consider things like public hand-holding "sexual encounters"?

"Many are sloppy, dirty, loud and pushy. They seem incapable of assuming the lifestyle of the country, but choose to impose their own lifestyles on the Florentine culture."

Who are these students, who seem to be mistaking superior and wonderful Europe for the Fairway supermarket on the Upper West Side, where, if you aren't sloppy, dirty, loud and pushy, no one will take you seriously? Well, turns out these students guessed it:

"Too often, to our embarrassment, a young person who creates a disturbance is American."

While I can't say for sure, I'd imagine this particular American couple does a fine job of embarassing themselves without the help of pushy, horny university students.

"Instruction in common good manners needs to be incorporated into classes before foreign study."

Why? So that students, some of whom are American, don't offend the sensibilities of cultivated, well-traveled American couples?

What really gets to me about this letter is this idea that "common good manners" are universal among non-Americans. Aren't there loud, pushy, dirty Florentines? Are "sexual encounters" more common among Americans than Italians?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some Florentine imports give Americans the willies:
"Over the centuries, the genitals and pubic hair on Michelangelo's David cause consternation, especially when the work is reproduced and displayed in other locations. For example, in 1939, a copy of Michelangelo's masterpiece is installed at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, CA, with one addition: A fig leaf is added to cover the genitals and pubic hair of the statue. The leaf is removed in 1969, and the statue remains in its original state until toppled by an earthquake in 1987."