I've been urged to read one of Donna Leon's detective series books. And maybe I will. But in the meantime, I've picked up a book of her travel essays.
She's capable of some pretty fine insights. Here's what she has to say about Italian men:
"Most interchanges between a man and a woman here [in Italy], whether they take place between a woman and her lover or between a woman and the man who sells her cheese and prosciutto, are charged by some mutual recognition of, at however wild and improbable a distance, sexual possibility.
"This might st first sound like the ravings of frustration, the wild imaginings of a sex-starved spinster, but any woman who has lived here has surely often been aware of the sexual charge that fills the air at the most seemingly innocuous exchange with an Italian man."
Yes! Ecco! Ding ding ding!
That's it. Leon has nailed it.