Friday, June 22, 2012
Cars, Phones, and Nymphs
In Firenze one of the places you'd go to get a wifi card and/or a local SIM card for your cell phone (so you can have a local phone number) is TIM-- or, Telecom Italia Mobile.
While negotiating for wifi service and waiting for the transaction to be completed, I had time to look around the TIM shop at all their advertising. Most of the ads were for cell phone service, and the motif of the various posters is unified by the theme of attractive young women in swimwear on beaches, brandishing their wickedly excellent cell phones. So men, if you want women to find you irresistible, just buy them a phone.
There is nothing new to say in this space about getting men to buy things using sexual images. The readers of this blog know how that works, and have seen the pin-up calendars and ludicrous photos of women (either in expensive evening dresses or bikinis) draped over cars like fabric, and numerous other examples of how sexual attraction is used to pitch products and services.
It was, simply, amusing to see image after image of a woman on a beach in some exotic-looking location on an unnaturally beautiful day, so taken with their cell phones that they are turned away from the ocean entirely and looking at the customer with delighted laughter or else a subtly lewd smile.
Incidentally, the other day I ate a panino in the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, in view of the Hotel Roma, which is an expensive hotel. Outside, there was parked a very expensive sports car, looking brand new and gleaming in the sun, shining in brilliant black armor. A man with a shaved head wearing immaculately pressed dress pants (from a suit that might have cost 1000 EUR) was talking about the car in the company of a woman dressed in a similarly-priced pink dress with a hairjob that might have taken hours to complete. She resembled one of those female models that are employed at car shows to show off the new cars, gesturing towards them while simultaneous distracting attention from them. The hood of the car was up and the woman in the expensive pink dress bowed down and had a look underneath the hood. Perhaps she would check the oil, or assess the power steering fluid. Perhaps they were having car trouble and she was the car expert. I wished I could hear their conversation, and even thought of sneaking around them with the camera, but thought it would be rude. I am not paparazzo material -- and I have lines to learn, anyway.
Many of these expensive places are located very close to the city's sacred places because they also major tourist attractions. This leads to incongruous sights of women slinking around cathedrals and churches as if they were the wayward dreams of ascetics, fabric blowing behind them just to accentuate their resemblance to fleeting nymphs in works of art, drifting away like fireflies as the church bells toll.