THE PRETTY TOUR GUIDE
by Karl Arnold Belser
The desk clerk pointed her out, a Sophia Loren type, tight pants like a bullfighter’s, orange form-fitting sweater, long, black hair with scarlet streaks, stiletto heels. She was the guide for our Italian Highlights tour, and I felt my face get warm.
I was looking for our guide so that I could chew her out. She hadn’t told Jackie and me that there was an optional tour to Tivoli in the afternoon, and we missed it. Instead we got an early start and took the metro for a once over lightly visit to Rome.
When I confronted her she moved her arms and torso in broad, sweeping gestures like that of a Siamese dancer, cocking her head when she spoke. She wiggled and waggled and said, “I’m sorry, but I posted a schedule at 9 yesterday morning. You should have read it. Oh, by the way my name is Fedricka, but everyone calls me Feddy.” I was mesmerized and lost my desire to argue with her.
Feddy, as it turned out, was an excellent guide. Well almost. I minded that she kept calling our bus driver ‘little Umberto’ because she towered over him by a foot. Maybe I felt a little intimidated by her too.
Feddy had jokes, anecdotes, and history that made the time fly as the bus rolled for hours through the vineyards and hilltop villages of Umbria and Tuscany.
Feddy always led our group of senior citizens with long strides, and I found myself following close behind, enjoying Feddy’s provocative motion. I thought that having a sexy tour guide was a plus. But she kept putting me in my place by asking if I needed a cab to a cathedral or if I wanted a shuttle bus up some steep hill. I always said, “No,” but she got her point across.
I chatted with Feddy, and she told me, “I live with my mother in Rome because I am gone most the time. I’m saving my money to buy a new car.”
“Don’t you want to have a family?” I asked. Feddy was about 30 and had been a tour guide for over 10 years.
, “Yes," She said. "I have a Jewish boyfriend in Rome.” And then added as almost a contradiction, “I’m Catholic.”
I wondered how she expected to meet anyone when she traveled all the time.
I took several pictures of Feddy, like the ones in Venice when she galloped along to our water taxi with her red striped mane flying. She wore a silk blouse and tight pants, one leg black, the other a barber pole of pink, black and chartreuse stripes.
Jackie, my girlfriend, watched me take the pictures and said, “It looks like you are enjoying Feddy as much as the tour.”
I laughed and said, “Yup, she is outrageous, and I want proof.”
We had to leave the tour early, missing the Rome city tour, which we had already done on our own, so that we could go on a tour of Tivoli, which we had previously missed. I gave Feddy a generous tip. So what if she had forgotten us on the first day. I never expected to see Feddy again, but thought that maybe she would remember me as a nice guy that liked her.
However, the next morning I asked Feddy if her tour bus could give us a lift to the metro station. She coldly said, “No,” turned, and got on the bus. I was crestfallen.
At home I looked at several close-up portraits of Feddy to try to rekindle some of the good feelings I had had. I was astounded that, simply put, she was not pretty.
I muttered to myself, “I must be blind. How easily I could have been seduced.”
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updated November 14, 2005
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