Monday, April 12, 2004

Mauro of Manhattan


New York Observer, April 12, 2004

by Mauro Suttora

We are done with Sex and the City here in Manhattan, but in Italy they’re still airing last year’s episodes and dubbing the final series. Many Italians are crazy about it, and ask me how the real thing is in New York. 
After one year of living in the city (and witnessing one episode being shot right where I work, at the Rizzoli bookstore on 57th Street), I can reply: Liza, Manhattan, in her mid-30′s. Tall, beautiful, sexy: an irresistible smash. Let’s be scientific: My friend Andrea Califano, professor of genomics at Columbia University, explains that Liza is the perfect phenotype, meaning a genotype (the universal “fashion victim”) who can be detected only in a specific environment (Upper East Side).
The night we met, I walked her home. She was heavily drunk, but found the lucidity to enter a deli and buy Altoids (giant American mints for your breath). In the phenotype language, that means “Kiss me.” Downstairs from her apartment, she muttered something about Eros Ramazzotti and Laura Pausini. I jumped right in: “Let me translate them for you.”
“You come and you go”, she ordered imperiously, pretending to get back in control. I was soon to learn that “pretending” and “control” are two main features of the Upper East Sider. Other key words are “stress” and “relax.”
“Let’s put on some relaxation music …. ” She stopped me when our lips touched. She kissed like a princess. She wore luscious leopard pants. But in bed, she turned out as warm as a Mont Blanc glacier. Nevertheless, I fell for her.
Frigidity is considered a minor problem by New Yorkers: They rely on 12-steps programs or yoga to overcome it. Once I went to bed with an exquisite divorcĂ©e. I tried hard to please her. “Don’t worry, I never come the first time,” she finally told me.
I couldn’t wait for the second time. Same scene, until she smiled: “I seldom come.”
This phenotype utilizes her vagina mainly to have monologues with. The 10021 zip code (richest on earth) is the empire of finger and clitoris: “The quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her clit,” wrote comedian Wanda Sykes on Esquire a few months ago. “When we say ‘Harder! Harder!’ that means ‘Take it out and touch my clit.’”
No wonder “vibrant” has become the most used positive adjective here.
Liza and me have been together for a few weeks. She was very affectionate: Every two to three hours, she called me or sent me e-mails and cell messages. She showered me with attentions and gifts: heart-shaped chocolates, little funny letters, candies against cough. We shared lunch breaks, she would come to pick me up at work, we slept together. She drank a lot. “I’ll dry you up,” I joked her. She didn’t appreciate. And I didn’t enjoy paying the fantastic wine bills in restaurants.
She wore Prada shoes, Bulgari watches, Helen Yarmak furs. She used to carry her $2,000 Dolce and Gabbana bag hanging on her arm protruded in front of her, strutting majestically as if she held some imaginary cup in her hand. 
She would rarely venture west of Sixth Avenue and south of 50th Street: “I don’t like downtown; it’s dirty.” She couldn’t walk with her impressive high heels on, so plenty of taxis were essential. She was constantly in debt: rescheduling, consolidating, refinancing it.
She didn’t mention children, although her child-bearing time was running out. It’s incredible how New York women believe they can easily be mothers at 40. Little by little, she took more time for herself: girlies’ nights, gym, jogging, shopping, hairdresser, errands, bikini wax, facials, sunbathing on the rooftop …. Nails, most of all.
“I am stressed, I have to relax, I need my space,” she would tell me while canceling dates.
“Have you ever thought of incorporating me in your relaxation time, or making love is just one more tiresome activity for you?” I mildly protested.
She dumped me by e-mail. Suddenly, she didn’t want to see me nor even say a word on the phone. The day before, she was talking about us meeting her parents and making plans for a trip to Italy: schedules, planes to book, places to visit. The day after, she couldn’t stand me. 
“It is best to go our separate ways,” she wrote, “I feel suffocated. I tried to make things work but it was not there for me, I got caught up in the moment …. Who would not want to go to Italy? You are too much, I am overwhelmed.”
The cheapest Italian beach playboy would flush his used women down the toilet with more grace. Or perhaps we Eurotrash are too sentimental. I don’t mind being ditched, it was just the speed from sweet to sour which surprised me. I blamed this oligophrenia on the booze. I asked her the real reason for the turnaround.
“To be quite honest with you, I am in love with another man,” she replied. Ah, the usual Upper East Side sport: double dating, overbooking …. Poor him:Where was he during that month? There are many Lizas on those blocks. Not all necessarily gold diggers, nor man-eaters. Just “fear of commitment,” I am told. Or “decline of desire.” No sex in the city.
-Mauro Suttora

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