Friday, July 15, 2011

Iron Woman

What would you choose to do on a day when the temperatures are soaring up to 104° with 85% humidity? Lying in a bathtub filled with ice cubes comes to mind. Relaxing on a Roman-style couch while your slaves fan you and feed you chilled grapes might be nice.

But no, I have to iron.

I know, I know, you're going to ask me "why bother?" You'll say "put it off for another day" or even "don't do it at all." I hear you. 

It just doesn't work that way in this corner of southern Italy. Going around with wrinkly clothes is a guarantee of becoming a social pariah here. Sort of the southern Italian equivalent of being a total loser who doesn't care about . . . their appearance . . . gasp!

A Puglian "don't"

Appearances are super important in this conservative, provincial city. People who have money happily throw it away on designer clothes. People who don't have money, spend too much of their limited resources on the best possible clothes they can afford. And when you walk out of the house you have to be ready: clean, pressed, perfect hair and makeup . . . ready to be scrutinized, judged and commented on by every single person you pass on the street.

Who cares? Well, that's easy for you to say. I personally, don't really care about looking perfectly put together every time I go to the supermarket. But, my personal presentation reflects on my husband and my sons in this little fishbowl society. And I do care about not making life more complicated for them, so I make the effort to iron.

Send me cooling thoughts, please!


Alison said...

Oh I would totally be a pariah if I lived where you live! I absolutely HATE ironing. It's the one chore I avoid doing as much as possible. Which means I don't wear clothes that require ironing LOL.

Thanks for coming by my blog today! (Italy is on my list of must-visits!)

Anonymous said...

soooooooooo true...maria

citymouse said...

This is really interesting. I'm sure some of that goes on here in the US but overall, we've become so lax about appearance. I can't walk into the market without seeing a young lady in pajama pants, a pony tail and a tee shirt.

I have to dress for work every day so my secret guilty pleasure is "bumming around" one day over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

This is soooo Italian...but I don't think that this happens only in South Italy. I think that Italians are obsessed with clothes because we have a great fashion tradition and because Italian designers are known all over the world. Everytime I go abroad i recognize Italian tourists because they are very elegant and, being totally honest, I "criticise" foreign tourists for their way of dressing(how can you wear socks with sandals or go to a disco with flip-flops?)but I condiser it part of "Italian DNA"
Giuseppe Daucelli

Alison said...

That's awful! I refuse to iron anything but new fabric when making stuff. In that case, I LOVE to iron... :)

Tracy Wilson said...

Are you sure you aren't in the Southeastern US? LOL.

Val said...

Same thing up north. Particularly on Sundays when I like to resort to yoga pants and flip flops. But not in Florence you don't. Oh no - it's prime paseggiatta pickins and everyone sitting in the piazze is like a freaking fashion show (wit the exception of the young American students who usually look like they just tumbled out of a bed, brothel, or frat house.) Thankfully, I enjoy ironing - but when it's summer? Knit sun dresses from yoga-clothing manufacturers (Prana, Patagonia) are my wardrobe of choice in that cesspull of sticky tourism and dripping gelato.

Citymouse is spot on that in the US people can't respect themselves enough to put on actual clothing when leaving the house to interact with others. So yes, we judge too.

I totally feel you - and the frustration that comes with living somewhere where people are so caught up in the superficial, everyone's always looking at - judging you. Yet ironically, no one has learned the deep pleasures of - well - pleasure - like the Italians (OK & French)

Sigh - what to do in the absence of comfy wrinkle-free fabrics ... pour a glass of one of those delicious Pugliese wines, put on some music and press love into each wrinkle of that fabric.


Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a sweet comment. I go to Danish school with a guy from Rome and he is always dressed to the nines, his hair gelled up, and there is never a wrinkle in site. I can only imagine trying to live up to the crazy southern Italian standards. I would never survive there, I don't even own an iron, I just rely on folding clothes straight from the dryer (not always so reliable).

Katja said...

My sneaky trick is to dry clothes on hangers on a rail. That way most of the creases just fall out without me having to do anything more. I hate hate HATE ironing and do it as little as humanly possible - especially in this heat. If I have to, then it gets done at midnight, when it's cooler.

I have to say I rather like being Italian about dressing up. To the extent that I have been known to put on make-up and jewellery to go to the beach ... ;)

ApronTails said...

ooh, no fun, definitely sending cooling thoughts, ice cubes, popsicles, fans, sprinklers!!

great blog, great pics and I love the way you have categorized the blogs you follow on your side bar! I'd like to change mine to that if you dont mind!?

Thanks fo stopping by for a visit, will be back for my Italy fix soon ;)

ApronTails said...

ooh, no fun, definitely sending cooling thoughts, ice cubes, popsicles, fans, sprinklers!!

great blog, great pics and I love the way you have categorized the blogs you follow on your side bar! I'd like to change mine to that if you dont mind!?

Thanks fo stopping by for a visit, will be back for my Italy fix soon ;)

Jody - Fit at 53 said...

I am fashion clueless & have like 3 outfits total beyond my workout wear so I would not fit in too well! ;-) WOW, you are in Italy! I guess hubby's job took you there?

Jeanette Nyberg said...

I can't even imagine being that put together every day. That said, I bet I would feel pretty awesome about myself if I was all ironed and made-up every day.

Jeanette Nyberg said...

I can't even imagine putting all that work into my looks every day. That said, it probably does do a lot for your self esteem.

Wrye said...

Thanks for visiting me on Little Lilys Day - your comment was so sweet. I'm enjoying your blog. A little taste of Italian life, what a lovely treat! I'll be back - don't get singed on the iron.

Saretta said...

Alison - if you come to Italy just to visit, you be as wrinkly as you like, so no worries!

Maria - you know what I mean, huh?

Citymouse - pyjamas at the supermarket?! Wow, that is casual!

Hi Giuseppe, so nice to see you here on my blog! Maybe it is in the DNA!

Alison - that's a different kind of ironing, isn't it?

Valerie - I like your idea of ironing with wine! :-)

Lindsay - because you have a dryer! We hang everything out on the line here...don't get me started on another rant! LOL!

Katja - I, too, have come to appreciate putting more effort into how I look, but sometimes I really need a day off!

Apron Tails - thanks for the cooling thoughts! Of course, you can organise your sidebar like mine!

Hi Jody! No, my job brought me here and then I met my husband and got stuck here. ;-)

Jeannette - well, yeah, that's true. Good point!

Lila - thanks for stopping by! I will do my best not to get burned!

Saretta said...

Stardust - no, but it's probably just about as hot and humid here!

Francesca said...

I'm sure I live in the only corner of italy where appearances don't matter - people dress to go to the beach or work in the fields or go to town pretty much the same way. Very unusual for Italy.

LindyLouMac said...

I was trying to explain to my daughter this morning why I have to iron!