(excerpts taken from 'Wanderlust', written by Laura Fraser)
-There are his thick dark curls and Egyptian nose, his skin warmly brown from the Mediterranean sun. The Ischia sun. You pause to savor the memory of his rough cheek pressed against your smooth one, his quick kiss goodbye, his face fading into a crowd in the train station in Naples.
- The tales describe the endless varieties of love -- adulterous passion, courtly love, enduring marriages, homosexual love, forbidden love, infatuation. The moral -- if you can call it that, and why not -- is that fulfilling sexual desire is more important than any of the constraints society might put on people's inclinations to "forgather" together. As one storyteller comments after a tale of adultery, "And by proceeding with the greatest of discretion, they enjoyed their love together on many a later occasion. May God grant that we enjoy ours likewise." This, you think, is what Italians read in school instead of "The Scarlet Letter." No wonder they're better at flirting.
- It's a pity, he says. The problem with American men is that they are so superficial. They want youth and beauty right up front in their faces. That isn't interesting. European men like to discover what's beautiful about a woman. Your beauty, he tells you, sneaks up on you. He didn't see it right at first, meeting you over breakfast in a pensione on an island, reading your guidebook, asking practical questions, so serious. He had to figure out how to make you smile that soft smile. That's the pleasure.