Do Believe What You Read

I’m working an a feature about olive oil, a light-hearted piece that lists eight things people may or may not know. Obviously I have to mention some of the health benefits of having the oil in your diet, but finding things that aren’t as obvious is a task. After an hour of web surfing and double checking I have all the information I need. I look up at the clock and see that it’s lunch time; Lily Allen starts to sing her new single, the brilliantly satirical, Hard Out Here as I look inside the fridge. As I’m looking at writing a ‘healthy’ article this afternoon I decide on a plate of antipasto, so it’s smoked tuna, white anchovies, olives, prosciutto crudo and some salad served up with a slice of my home made bread.

In the afternoon, I settle down to structure my 500 word feature, I mention that olive oil helps to preserve the omega 3 oil in fish and ponder whether or not to tell my readers that olive oil is good for removing stubborn mascara, when I read something that catches my attention. One beauty therapist claims that you can use the oil instead of expensive shaving creams. I rub my three day beard growth and grab the olive oil from the kitchen and head off towards the bathroom. OH gives me an odd look and I express my intention to shave with the kitchen condiment and this elicits a roll of the eyes.

I wet my stubble with warm water and rub in some of the olive oil and lo and behold it works, there’s no razor burn and no drag just a smooth, close shave and boy did my skin feel good afterwards. So will I be using olive oil from now on… I don’t think so…  it took twice as long to clean the sink.

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Simpatico… Oh well it could be worse.

Simpatico. A word I’ve heard on three occasions recently but only discovered what it meant last night. The first incidence was in the supermarket, I was waiting in line at the checkout when an elderly lady joined the queue behind me. As she only had two items and I had several I asked if she’d like to go in front of me. At first she said no, she was okay to wait, but I insisted and she took my place in line. She then asked if I was English, I told her I was indeed, then she stroked my cheek and said, “Sie simpatico.” This I took to mean I’m sympathetic to her needs, so I smiled and said thank you.

The second occasion happened when I was introduced to an Italian lady by a friend, as usual the lady asked me lots of questions, the first obviously was, are you German? This was then followed with the obligatory, so why is your hair so blond? Followed by, why did you come here? I answered all the questions: in fact I’ve become quite adept at having stock answers stored in my head. She then turned to my friend and used the word simpatico, my friend looked at me and agreed. I meant to ask what she had said, but as the waitress brought us an espresso and I answered her query about which water I wanted with it, I forgot as I replied, ‘Acqua frizzante.’

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Last night was the third time the word surfaced and this time I discovered its meaning. I had met a new friend and we were chatting over a drink when he said, “Tu simpatico.” Now as my new friend speaks better English than I do Italian I seized the opportunity to ask what it meant. His reply was, “It means you’re not handsome.” I must have looked upset as he then quickly said, “My translation is bad.”

Now I know I’m not in the Pitt/Clooney league, but I’ve never had any problems throughout my life picking someone up for… Shall we say extra curricular activities. My new friend then said, “Simpatico, it means you are nice looking, have a pleasant face, you’re lovely.” I smile and think, oh well, that’ll have to do. Besides it’s much better than when someone last year told me I had a lived in face and then said, “In the nicest possible way.” (Needless to say this is a person who wont be getting an invite to come and stay in Italy.)

Simpatico (persona) Nice, pleasant, likeable. Source: Collins Italian Dictionary and Grammar.