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How I learned to trust (some) men


When they announced that we were going to see “the view” next, Erin and I raised our eyebrows. If they were considering taking action, this would be the perfect place. Antonio drove up the hill and parked near a lookout. Nocturnal Rome shimmered on the other side of the river. We admired the view, took photos and returned to the car.

Next comes the Aventine. We were alone as we climbed a quiet hill in the dark, our guides remaining silent about the destination. It didn’t escape us that this was exactly the kind of situation we had been warned to avoid, and yet we continued on our way. When we finally arrived in front of an old, imposing green door, Fabrizio and Antonio held back, smiled and nodded. Erin tried the latch. It was locked.

“Look in the keyhole,” Antonio suggested.

She leaned over and panted, then pulled away to spin me around.

Inside the hole, illuminated and framed like a nesting doll, was the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was the size of a thimble and it was the most magical thing I had seen in all of Europe.

There were more stops, more views, more sexy-sexy songs. Fabrizio promised to send me Luca Carboni tapes in exchange for country music. Finally they took us back to our pensioner, where we exchanged addresses and kisses on both cheeks. Despite all the sexy talk, the evening never turned romantic.

Women, especially those who travel, are constantly warned to be wary of men, to remain vigilant – solid advice that I had learned the hard way. But on that bright evening something changed for me, something big and important about the power of intuition. It was a change that helped me become a world traveler and prepare me, 16 years later, to recognize another handsome man as a good human, a kind soul.


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