February 14, 2012

Piazza Navona, Rome. October, 1984

Whenever I hear someone talking about how immoral America has become, I laugh. Violent video games and relatively tepid nudity in films may seem loose to some, but only because of an underlying Puritanism that still seems to serve as an American benchmark. Whenever I travel to a warmer, more sensual European destination -- be it Italy, Portugal, Spain, even France -- I’m reminded of just how straight-laced and conservative we are at home (and becoming frighteningly more so.) Maybe that’s why I love this photo of a couple in this beautiful Roman square. Not because it’s a good photograph, not at all, but because it makes me smile, thinking about how natural it is to see affection like this as you walk through Rome. Or Paris. Or Lisbon, Barcelona. A little later, as I walked by these two again, they were both sitting up, he was trying to nuzzle her ear, she was saying (but not meaning) “basta.” I wondered who they were, did they live at home with their parents and were they only able to meet here in public? Fellini said he liked to take the bus in Rome because he saw little dramas when he looked at his fellow passengers. I like to walk when I’m in Rome, seeing little dramas like this one all the time. Happy St. Valentine’s Day.

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