Events in Italy

Time to reflect on a couple of Italian news stories. The first one is from Rome, celestial city of pizza-eaters, scooter-riders and bottom-pinchers. A man is jilted by his girlfriend and takes it very badly. Seething with resentment, he kidnaps the woman and brings her to his house. There, he forces her to perform domestic chores under his supervision, issuing dark threats to discourage her from shirking. Witnesses to the abduction inform the police, who arrest the man.

I expect the fellow will get a light sentence because he didn’t assault the woman, but she will surely testify that being compelled do his housework was no picnic. Although admittedly less traumatic than being violated, it must have been more humiliating. The man was effectively saying: “What I will miss most is not the sex, nor the visits to the beach, but the free maid-service.” He may argue that it was fair retribution for being spurned, but that sort of spiteful attitude should win him no sympathy. Forcing a woman to iron your shirts because you’re feeling shirty is not the conduct of a gentleman.

He would do well to learn from the example of my friend
Mr Louche, the heterosexual bachelor and debonair man-about-town, who by his own admission has been dumped by a succession of hot-headed females. Although I lack precise details of how he coped with these disappointments, I am quite sure that the thought of kidnapping anyone never entered his head. Knowing Louche, he probably invited his platonic girlfriends over for cocktails and allowed them to fuss over him like a gaggle of mother hens. Were he to meet one of his ex-paramours by chance, I am certain he would do nothing worse than agree with them about his own shortcomings as a boyfriend. Perhaps Louche should consider holding etiquette classes for the likes of the Italian abductor.

The second, more uplifting piece of news is that the Bishop of Cesena
has forgiven a couple for having sex in his confessional box during morning mass. It’s always inspiring to see holy men practising the true tenets of their faith. The Catholic clergy, after all, are in no position to cast the seventy-seventh stone let alone the first one. And while the church should never encourage fornication, I can’t imagine a better place for it than the very spot in which the faithful confess their sins. It makes sense for people to get it off their chests at the earliest opportunity rather than letting their guilty consciences fester. Perhaps the couple were actually confessing while they were sinning to free up valuable box-time for more serious offenders.

I hope you’ve appreciated the moral lessons in these stories – let us pray that all the actors receive fitting epilogues. May the vindictive Italian boyfriend be assigned laundry duties in an open prison and learn what it’s like to be a domestic drudge. May the woman he treated like a peon have a hot date with Louche, grasping his manly chest tightly as they whiz through the Devon countryside on a 140-horsepower motorbike. May the insatiable lovers continue to experiment with debauchery in confined spaces, perhaps with the aid of an oak wardrobe packed with silk shirts and fur coats. And may the Bishop of Cesena be appointed Pope so he can legalise the making of whoopee and other harmless pastimes for a billion guilty Catholics. Amen.

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