Home living abroad Does This Country Make Me Look Fat? Guest Post By Melissa Kulp Frankenfield

Does This Country Make Me Look Fat? Guest Post By Melissa Kulp Frankenfield

written by M.E. Evans September 29, 2015

This morning, someone asked if I was pregnant. Again. *Sigh* And she was a beggar. So, it was practically a hate crime.

Since this faux-pregnant gal is all for improving human-relations, I just graciously smiled (and swore off eating) as I assured her “No, bambini! No bambini! Mi dispiace.” I actually apologized. For not being pregnant. Does this country make me look fat? Apparently. No thanks to my steady diet of wine with a side of wine.

Here are my (unsubstantiated) anthropological findings: Italy is a study in contrasts. Legislation and liberty. Restraint and moxie. Beauty and decay.

For example: The Italian government gives trash removal the same oversight a TSA agent grants a passenger named “Kamil” with pilot’s license. Clear plastics must be separated from colored plastics which must be separated from glass which must be separated from paper and so on. Basically, it’s the IRS of trash laws.

So, you have that regulation. And then you have this liberty: While recently dining at a local trattoria, the proprietor/probable mafia godfather approached my entourage. The invariable first question is always as to whether all three are mine. All. Three. Friends, “three” does not even qualify me for a TLC reality show.  But, maybe I just seem that overwhelmed. Or like a child-trafficker.  You decide.

*Tight smile* Yes, yes, they are all mine. But, we aren’t sure about the father.


Then, suddenly, this hairy godfather reached down and plucked my toddler right out of his seat, holding him in his floured arms as he pinched his cheek and kissed his head.  Kissed. His. Head. And I hadn’t even signed a “photo release” form yet. Liability release forms. That was my first thought as he affectionately stroked my toddler’s chubby face. On one hand- I can hardly blame the guy. My man-child is edibly adorable. It’s his fatness. (An unfair asset for only the very young.) But, still, can you imagine a comparable situation in say- an Olive Garden? Um, never.  You would be on Megan’s List, labeled as a predator before the day ended.

But, to be honest- my “creeper radar” registered nothing on this old mafia kingpin. Most likely, he was one of those fabled Italians, who actually love children. And frankly, it is the trash police that we could do without. Cause ain’t nobody got time for that.

About The Author:

Melissa Kulp Frankenfield is a washed-up high school actress. Obscure pageant finalist. Child-wrangler. Homeschooler. Wannabe spy.


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Lynn Colquhoun September 29, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Thrilled to learn more about you! So glad our paths crossed in Italy. Excellent piece of insight and so well written.

Melissa Kulp Frankenfield September 30, 2015 at 7:17 am

Thank you, Lynn- you’re very kind!

bonniegm September 29, 2015 at 3:03 pm

I find it amusing how there is also this great dichotomy between manners and rudeness in Italia. You can ask someone if they are pregnant but do not give anyone the check/il conto unless they have asked for it at least 3 times. Question: did she use the formal Lei when inquiring? Yes, this country does make me look fat! I am a giant at 5’5″ and a size (American) 8!! LOL! How could I not be when I am surrounded by tiny, oh so tiny women who apparently can eat their weight in pasta without gaining an ounce! Grrrr, my 1/4th Italian genes are apparently not dominant!

Rebecca Royy September 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

You are funny. Love your writing style

Melissa Kulp Frankenfield September 30, 2015 at 7:17 am

Thanks Rebecca, for the encouragement!

giuliacalli October 5, 2015 at 1:50 am

Oh yes, I couldn’t explain why, exactly – but Italians do love asking you if you’re pregnant. It happened to me a lot of times (and I’m Italian), normally after Christmas vacations at my mom’s house, you know what I mean. The last time someone ask me that, I was recently divorced. And I answered her that, just to see the pale of her face. That’s it, you shouldn’t do uncomfortable questions to people if you’re not sure of the answer. But still, I think Italians make this question with a mix of envy (“I let you notice that you’re fatter than the last time I saw you”) and love for children (so “being pregnant it would be the best thing could happen to you, woman!”).

Melissa Frankenfield October 7, 2015 at 1:02 am

Haha! What interesting insight! Thanks for sharing! (especially since you have the insider’s info 😉

giuliacalli October 8, 2015 at 12:04 am

😉 thanks to you to raise the subject!

John November 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm

So true. I also find it interesting that an Italian will tell you their most intimate medical history, but will treat mundane things as state secrets.
Homeschooler in Italy? We are thinking of moving from Boston back to Italy for a number of reasons and have discussed homeschooling as our biggest concern is education for our 6YO boy.

M.E. Evans November 17, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Hahahahahaha. This is so true.


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