Bored of languishing upon sunbeds in the 36°C Italian sun on the shores of a warm, crystalline lake, this Oxonian ex-pat finally plucked up the courage to enter into the world of Italian stallions upon that infamous app that governs modern dating. English Tinder is a cruel mistress. One poor, dishevelled selfie and the thumb all too quickly swipes left, banishing you to dating purgatory. But the lusty European sun seems to blind the locals and foreign tourists alike, inclining them to swipe right to this pale Englishman.
I went in search of a beautiful Italian male with whom I could share something a bit hotter than a freshly baked calzone and a €3 bottle of local prosecco. But before too long, I’ve attracted the attention of a well-spoken Belgian professing his ceaseless adoration. Which before we’d even met I admit is a bit intense. But the hopeless romantic in me who dreams of the day someone will pen me a sequence of sonnets was just slightly appeased.
It was supposed to be the Tinder date to end all. Yet, quite literally ‘in fair Verona where we lay our scene’, something was amiss. A beach date at a ruined Roman villa is supposed to be the stuff of dreams. But traipsing across a lake in the baking sun, before stripping off and exposing all flab in the most Baywatch-manner your skinny body can manage to your near silent date, all within ten minutes of meeting, is more uncomfortable than arousing. ‘Thus, with a kiss’, and an awkward one at that, we parted – thinking to never meet again. The endless flurry of crashing waves had extinguished the small spark the flurry of dick pics had ignited in the underwear of this intrepid European adventurer.
But what’s that from yonder WhatsApp calls? The streams of adoring apologetic texts start pouring onto my screen. I’m persuaded to date two, and before too long it’s more than the tomatoes on the pizza before us that are blushing. Stumbling back to my hotel, I quickly turf my roommate out with one hand and occupy myself with the other. Holiday romance (kind of) consummated, spooning resumed, I feel an odd twinge that wasn’t just something more pressing pushing into my lower back. The wine, the beautiful Venetian sun and a hot man next to me are melting my icy English heart. My thoughts turn away from smut and begin to wonder, perhaps being told “I love you” on a second date wasn’t that crazy. Or maybe it was just sunstroke from my refusal to ruin my preened hair with an unsightly hat .
The mirage continues to obscure all logical thought. The week passes and the time comes to part. I find myself to have become the madman who considers long distance romance, of sacrificing the endless stream of twinks presenting themselves at my feet at the porters’ lodge or the floors of Plush. But alas, these two star-crossed lovers were doomed to a tale of woe. Floating upon a lilo on the crystal clear lake in the midday sun, I’m told the things said to me were but sweet nothings; a thing to pass the time whilst away from a flock of ripped Flemish lovers at home.
As if this tale could not get more poetic, I find myself being consoled by a kindly Italian nun upon a ferry who understands not a word of my fiery escapades into ‘the love that must not speak it’s name’ abroad. Summer loving complete, stole home this English heavy-hearted son; penis appeased,