In Italy, it is against the law to emerge in public with bad hair. Italians remain housebound on bad hair days.
In the summer, having white skin is also considered a serious fashion gaffe. There is simply no excuse. Strangers repeatedly threaten to report phosphorescent Celtic people like me to the fashion police.
Sometimes gangs of vigilantes take the law into their own hands and organise lynch-mobbings. Only the other day, I was walking along the sea front in my village when I was intercepted by four women plus an uncountable number of children, dragged onto the beach, and forced to lie there until they felt my skin must surely have changed colour a bit.
Wearing unfashionable clothes is another serious crime in Italy. Unless you are capable of preserving old clothes intact for many years, it is also impossible. Non-trendy clothes are simply not available in the shops. I suppose shopkeepers want to protect frumpy people from themselves.
This summer, for example, when you buy new shoes they will be pole-dancerish sandals with flowers on. If you want to wear something more comfortable, well you can’t, so there.
Last summer I actually flew to England to buy some flat-heeled summer footwear.
“In Italy, even the nuns wear sexier sandals than those” commented my English nephew.
The best place to ensure compliance with the only laws Italians actually take seriously is, of course, the shopping centre. They have very few of them in Sicily, but the ones they do have are the bees’ knees.
I decided to visit Sicily’s largest, the “Outlet Village” in Dittaino. If you happen to like designer gear and ice cream equally, it is paradise.
Before going, I had to prepare myself. I had some grey hairs, which I am led to believe are nowadays called “wisdom highlights”. So my first step was to go to the hairdresser and have myself dumbed down.
Next I applied the fake suntan cream I had ordered online after the lynch mobbing. It smelt of curry, which made me really hungry. Do they give it the tikka masala smell to inpsire you subliminally to achieve darker skin?
The whole of the Dittaino outlet village is purpose built. The upper storeys are just for decoration, and to provide shade from the sun as your husband lugs your trendy shopping around.
“Ah yes, I’ve been thinking we could do with a new car. Or two.”
The Ferrari shop.
Here I am in the semi darkness, hoping to buy a pair of shoes which I can actually walk in. I ended up with an ice cream instead. I am such a failure!
Ready to go home.
Goodbye Gucci. Very nice to see you, Versace. It was fun, Fendi. Do come again, Dolce and Gabanna.