The family are currently obsessed with doing two things:
- Feeding me as much as humanly possible
- Finding me an Italian boyfriend
The latter was first mentioned a week after I met them all. ‘You get a nice Italian boyfriend, then you stay forever’, said G’s auntie.
It has since escalated to ‘we need to find you a nice Italian man to marry’, which is starting to make me feel like the unattractive sister in a Jane Austen novel.
Despite telling them numerous times that I definitely did not come to Italy to find a man, that I’d rather avoid any romantic entanglements and that, anyway, them investing so much time in feeding me up is hardly going to help their quest, they persist.
Now they insist on trying to lure me to the ‘Basamari’. The Basamari is a strange custom in Camogli. Every summer, a sort of VIP lounge is set up on the beach, strictly for the use of the water polo team but obviously frequented by lovely ladies keen to nab themselves a Camogliese sportsman. Sort of like a very Italian, more selective, live version of Tinder.
The 'Basamari Boys', as I have started to call them, are a good looking bunch who peacock about, drinking apperatives and showing off how good water polo is for the body.
Chief peacock is a man with a name so Italian I daren't write it, because I imagine he’s the sort of boy who likes to run regular google searches on himself. I’ll call him Nicolo Bonstantanucci.
G tells me all the girls are in love with him.
Anyway, it was a mighty shock for all when I got a Facebook request from him. G was incredulous and started jumping about with her friends, 'it is not possible, it is fantastic!’, as if a friend request is the modern day equivalent of proposal.
I found the whole thing quite disconcerting as, up until now, I’d felt my Englishness acted as a sort of invisibility cloak and that I could parade around the beach in mismatching bikini, unconsciously showing off my pasta paunch and smearing sunblock on face like a warrior. Now I have to live up to reputation set by a profile picture so highly filtered it barely resembles me.