“The word ‘charm’ really means 3 things: first, movement from place to place.”
– A. Firenzuola


It’s 5 am in the morning and it’s warm outside. The sun is rising and the birds are singing, last house beat is still ringing in my ears, and my legs… there’s a considerable amount of pain in my legs. But I feel fine, I feel happy.
Happy that this shit is over. I’m stepping out of the nightclub, where I had to play disco in the VIP room, being surrounded by the ugliest and probably the fanciest people of this town. I shall put the word ‘ugly’ in bold though.
Do you know how ugly people can get when they’re uber-drunk and feel free revealing their miserable alter-egos? Anyway, I was surrounded by the very-very-very ugly and bad people that night.

He finished his gig next door and so we are driving back home now. Drinking our hot chocolates on the way, because otherwise I’d be voiceless again. Yup, after having my tonsil surgery done I tend to loose my voice by the end of the party and the only solution is pretending to be a hip green hippie and drinking tea with honey. But they don’t have any decent teas at the gas stations. So, we’re driving, sipping our mouth-burning hot chocolates, and share the moments of staring each other straight into the eyes. He knows, from the very moment he looks into my eyes. He sees all my plans. He knows me too well.

– I’m going to Florence tomorrow.
– Why?
– On business.
– Is it a romantic tryst?
– Same difference.
Silence. A brief moment of silence… and understanding.
– Is it all worth it? Do you have to go? There’s no doubt that you’ll manage… You’ll manage everywhere. But do you have to? Do you really want to?
– I guess so… What else would I do.

Silence. A silent agreement on the both sides. We’ll stay always in touch anyhow. And a sweet aroma of hot chocolate stays in the car when I step out to go home, to pack my bags and hit the road. Leaving one truly important problem unsolved: what should I wear? All in all it’s Pitti, the crème de la crème of menswear. And I’m a female-buyer for menswear shop. But somehow I don’t care. I got too much going on in my head. I got too many decisions to be made within next few months.



I like Florence a lot. No, I love Florence!
Because Florence smells so good, and people here know how to enjoy life. There’s a scent of excitement, bits and pieces of beautiful history on every corner. Florence smells like quality leather, freshly baked Bruttiboni, like a glass of Chianti at it’s best, sand and sun, and a flirty blink towards all antique.
And Florence is clean, way cleaner than Paris.
I have no plans for tonight, so after settling in I take my traditional people-watching walking tour. It’s Friday night and it’s busy. You see a lot of happy and relaxed faces, there’s no place for Scandinavian cold seriousness. People are having fun, they’re laughing, they’ve left all their problems at the office or home. And they celebrate… LIFE!
I pick out the spot on the corner of Spirito Piazza. I sit down and I wait. I’m seeing him again. He comes, eyes attached to his phone screen, probably googlemapping or texting me to ask for an exact meeting place.
This time I’m cool, I enjoy watching him from far away. A bit helpless, though well-dressed. I bet he’s wearing Costume Nationale ‘Homme’ to impress me and to stress spending time together in Italy. Catching up, meeting for a drink, or whatever the label one puts on this inexpressible thing – the vulgarity of the heart.

He recognizes me and gives me one of those looks. He’s not harmless anymore. He is aware, he steps into his role. The game begins. I flash a big charming smile – What’s up, Tiger? He walks closer. His jacket is unpretentious – it looks like any other Italian cashmere jacket – but, as it’s me and my lynx eyes, I can tell its tailor-made. Probably Canali. He looks good. That exact classy Italian suit-up guy who upsets the hormonal systems of both – fat American women in Nike’s and skinny Scandinavian hipsters in New Balances, or Adidas, or whatever – all sportswear everywhere.

So, we went for a drink. We talked fashion and business. He tried to ask personal questions. But what for? Dude, you have a girlfriend back home!
Paul Sartre said once that seduction is a fascinating language. So I take this walk and talk as a repeat course on semiotics of linguistics. I thank and send my love once again to Roland Barthes in my mind.
Venus favors the bold. And seduction is more an art, than science, requiring different mixes for different people. He fails and falls this night.

I walk back to my apartment.
Receiving explanations via iMessages a’la: “You know I’m more playful… I just enjoy spending time with different people and acting on it is very different… And u flirt back well too! You know I just felt that you’re someone I can do anything with… And I’m cool with being platonic.”
Ahh! And I’m thinking that – don’t love me for my bigger breasts, love me for my grounded and hard-working nature. Don’t love me for my charisma, love me for my truth-revealing skills. I won’t say anything to anyone. I’m bored. I go to sleep. There’s a lot of work to be done within next few days at the fair and I’m leaving shortly after.

Whatss!? Fries and McDonalds!? Yup, the welcoming scents at O’Hare airport. I’ve arrived to the States, I’m switching on my telephone and I receive a text from him: “I can’t really help a lot in this decision right now when I’m 7-8 drinks in. But I basically support any decision that involves you coming back here.”

True colors open up when viewing from a distance, when one sees the whole picture. But sometimes it’s too late. And who cares more afterwards?


Written by Julia Ahtijainen