water and then twirlaround and aroundthe ice cubes in it. Ilet on for the Italianmen—as I always didin Caracas trying tobe as tolerant as Icould—that nothinghad occurred as far asI was concerned.After a pause, I lookedat them and they justshrugged theirshoulders at me. They felt perplexed,but had nothing tosay about that mostdisparate display.
Where is Love?
ome time ago, Iappealed—cheekily!—to the MarchesiAntinori asking them if they would kindly sponsoran experiment I hadwished earnestly toperform. I wanted to findtwelve Italian women whocould drink each a bottle—from a case of fineANTINORI Chianti wine—with me in
un arco di
threehours. Italian women arenotorious teetotalers. Tofind twelve women winedrinkers would be difficult. The
in vino veritas
would“open up” twelve Italianwomen—often very shy;almost always taciturn—and let us all come tointeresting conclusionsabout life, love, andindeed,
. To havesome fun, some laughs. There were no takers. TheANTINORI P.R. department,stuck somewhere between1952 and 1959, did noteven respond; so, I jettisoned the idea, sadly. Icontinued, nevertheless,struggling to pin down theopinions of Italian womentrying to get them toreveal themselves. I was
not very successful.
It is anexceedingly difficult task….One day my efforts werefinally rewarded. A slimbook,
Con gli occhi di unadonna
(With the Eyes of aWoman), published by the
Associazione TirrenicaCooperative Consumatori
,1997, hit the stands(distributed without chargein a Florentinesupermarket) and I jumpedat the occasion. In it, fiftyItalian women spiel out invery short stories all theywant to say, all they haveto say. There are somevery good
amongthe yarnspinners—mostlyhousewives. They werenot paid; there was noprize nor prize money.I found—in only onehundred and twenty sevenpages—the Italian tendergender
in vino veritas
I hadbeen searching for foryears. And the bookshocked me almost intodisbelief. It is one of thesaddest documents I haveever read in my life. It issurely not on a level withacknowledgments divulgedby Holocaust victims:there is some physicalbrutality in the book,however. Here we areprimarily concerned withmental barbarity. Almostall of the fifty stories dealexclusively with somesadness, some frustration,some dream not realised,some violence….Of women in the throes of identity crises…who wantto go out alone, free to bebabies, free from mothers’ideas, free from fathers’naggings…who want toescape the prison of marriage…who want jobs…who have beendismissed…who are living