Stylin’ with Beppe
Given my recent spate of nonstandard fiction posts, you may have guessed that I am on vacation. This year, however, rather than booking our usual warm weather getaway, Mr. Slattern and I have debunked for Italy, which I am sorry to report is experiencing some truly Old Testament weather on the eve of the big papal party. Obviously we hadn’t anticipated either contingency back when we made our holiday plans, but here we are in soggy Florence with a relocation to even soggier Rome in the not too distant future, and so we must make the best of both the climate and the impending riot of pope-mad tourists. On a positive note, we have found a bottle of Chianti or two at lunch and a steady supply of Aperol spritzes in the evening really do take the sting out of being occupied. Or is that ossified? Either/or I guess.
Now, I don’t really get to the Continent all that often, but when I do, I am always interested to see what the locals are up to. If the fashion- and culture-cognoscenti are to be believed, just by breathing the rarefied air of Paris, Milan or Frankfurt, our EU cousins are innately more sophisticated than we mall-stomping, burger-munching sad sacks will ever dream of being.
Certainly one sees the hand of old world sophistication at work in the choice of Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi as presidential frontrunners. I mean Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger only made it as far as governor and governator respectively. Imagine what heights the USA might have risen to if they’d been allowed to scramble to the top of the political dung heap.
Aesthethetically, we are also told, the Euros have it all over us, and having visited the Louvre, the Uffizzi and the occasional Paris pissoir, I can certainly attest to that.
Better art? Absolutely.
Superior architecture? Check.
Pre-eminent fashion? Not so fast…
Though the average European is certainly slimmer than her Yankee cousine, she is just as prone to fashion faux pas as Betty from Peoria, let me tell you.
In the past week I have been subjected to a steady stream of what I call the mini-sweat pantalon. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this hot fashion trend, let me explain. The mini-sweat is an extra cheap, shrunken, shortened version of all American grey sweatpants. Like American sweats they flatter no one; however, unlike the Walmart version that aims to camouflage, these little gems give unattractiveness a sophisticated new spin by virtue of being skin tight and made of some kind of lightweight synthetic material that shows every bump, bulge and pimple on the ass beneath. Sadly, I have seen these on both men and women, but in truth I can’t say which is worse.
I have also noted that the perennial Euro favorite of t-shirts with nonsensical English printed all over them is one trend that’s still going just as strong as it was 20 years ago. Such authentic slogans as “Super Texas! Throw some cheese!” and “Rockin’ good booty San Francisco style!” routinely adorn the upper halves of the continent’s golden youth.
When paired with the mini-sweat pantalon, these make some kind of statement. Like maybe Beppe for President.