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I made it back!
I spare you the details of my disastrous week only out of decency and because I do sincerely feel for all those poor souls forced to sleep on a conveyor belt in the hope of finally reaching their home turves.
Two days after returning home from our italian Easter break, I had to fly back to Rome as my dad was rushed into hospital.... All went well thank goodness, but I got stranded for a week at my mum and dad's house, caught between a never ending volcanic eruption and my dad's emergency heart surgery. Well, at least I did not have to sleep at the airport. Being forcefully separated from my little Gabriel, after 10 whole months of uninterrupted 24/7 care, has been one of the hardest things I had to endure in my life, beating even my hemorrhoidectomy, hands down (or butt up....).
Relying strongly on the fact that the news bulletin has already saturated your brain cells with every possible perspective on the Icelandic disaster, ( Volcanic ash, is it safe? No it isn't, we're gonna die! No we're not! Can you see the landing strip? It's all Gordon Brown's fault...) I move on to illustrate what this Easter/Volcanic break has brought into my plate.
In a nutshell: A LOT!

I won't hide that I was a little apprehensive about introducing my son to the rest of the clan for the first time. I come from a very small village up on a hill, in the middle of the countryside north of Rome, the village counts about 6000 inhabitants and the most 'exciting' thing that has ever happened to my village is probably.... ME!
I say this without modesty because I know for a fact that, since I moved to London 13 years ago, in the best tradition of small village gossip, a lot of stories began circulating about me.
I once was the "little queer",mocked by all, the teenager locked in his bedroom when he should have been experiencing life with his friends...
Now I was a bona fide homecoming queen. Funny how a little bit of gossip can turn things around for someone.

Well, the thing is, it seems like another 'me' was created at the exact time I left home to look for fame and fortune abroad and, most surely, for that I have to thank my mum (the spin doctor) and the army of gossipy bitches (meant less nicely than you might want to believe...) in my family.
Just to give you an example of reality distortion at work in my family:

-My name is Marco Platti
-I used to work for Gucci within the creative visual environment
-I collaborated with Bella Freud, an english fashion designer for whom I designed one off pieces for VIP clients
-Thanks to Bella I had the sheer goddam luck to work on a one to one with Madonna, whom I met ONCE at her rented London house 10 years ago (my best claim to fame to date..)
-I married my lovely Steven (Superman in disguise, but don't tell anyone...) after getting engaged and romancing across Europe like two traveling love birds. (yeah...In this respect, Carrie Bradshaw can really suck it!)
-Steven works for an italian cashmere company.
-We now have a son after three years of surrogacy.
End Credits.

If you ask about me back in the village, the reports are very likely to sound like this:

-His name is Marco Platti
-He owns half of Gucci
-He has his own clothing label called Bella Freud
-He is BEST FRIENDS with Madonna (OK, this has definitely my mum's signature on it...)
-He has married a gay guy with lots of money that owns a cashmere company
-They adopted a son from America (this is due to the fact that most of them, until Ricky Martin went gay-global, did not even know how to spell surrogacy and so: 2 men+1 baby=adoption for sure....)
-He went to London because his parents kicked him out when he came out to them
-His mum found him in bed with a man and realised he was gay
-His mum found a message on a red rose left on his bed by one of his lovers and she found out that he was gay (this last piece of information was given to me accidentally by a long lost friend of mine not a month ago...)

As you can figure out from the above list of statements, it's safe to say that my visit "with child" was surrounded by quite a degree of anticipation.
Basically, according to the village gossips, on the drama scale I should be giving Liz Taylor a run for her money.....
That's what made me nervous. I was sort of expecting awkward questions, awkward glances, awkward comments and every possible embarrassment coming my way.
You know the kind of awkwardness I am talking about right? Picture this scenario:
I meet up with such and such relative, we start chatting and I can read on their faces the surprise and disappointment if I fail to mention any of the above stories.
The question "So, what have you been doing all this time?" reads more like "So, give me the juicy content. How many men have you been having gay sex with and how many roses has your mum found on your bed?"
"How is work?" reads as "How much money have you got?".
"What's your partner's job?" reads as "How much money have you got?" Got it?
"Gabriel has got your eyes!" translates as "Who's the father?"
"Gabriel looks so cute!" translates as "Who's the father?"
Obviously, my mum relishes in the interest my presence at home arises among the family. She always says that as soon as I leave the phone stops ringing.
I also need to say that small village people are not all bad and bigoted and homophobic; most of them, at least where I come from, are just gossipy, curious and nosey, all sprinkled with a good dose of ignorance (meant as it is: lack of knowledge, not mental retardation...), but their hearts are in the right place.
Also, I was afraid of the family embargo that always awaits me back home: no matter what time I show up, there is always some sort of crowd of relatives waiting in my mum's kitchen and, when I just would like to take a shower and spend a quiet evening with my mum and dad, I end up answering questions about my life until late whilst translating simultaneously to Steven (no, he doesn't speak italian).
Now, imagine having to do that whilst tending to the needs of a 10 month old boy.... Not my idea of a perfect vacation.
In particular I was dreading my bitch cousin Dina and my staunchly religious aunt Mattia, the latter simply because every time she sees me she tells me that I got fat, but she is like my grandmother and I love her, so I suck it up.
Together with my stomach.



jon said...

My theory is that Auntie Mattia along with that b**** cousin (we all have one) was probably planning all along to hook you up with the other poof in town, the village priest, but alas you ran away before she could execute her plot, married one of those people who know nothing about food or la dolce vita, got fat eating all that starchy Brit food and developed nasty gastro-issues, hung out with those depraved, crotch-grabbing has-been actress-wannabes who feign musical talent, and to top it all off you spawned. And you expect sympathy from this righteous woman; sweetie, get a grip. She probably had you married off and had secured a church dowry and LOOK WHAT YOU DID! I am SURPRISED she even bothered to speak to you.
Gotta love Mediterranean village politics. Whenever we visit the ancestral bat cave in the Pelopponese, it too is an exciting time; in fact it's really the only time the villagers put aside their blood feuds and petty spats with each other and welcome the new meat in town and find a convenient excuse to speak with each other. Some feuds cross-over into generations, I meet people who don't speak to my family because of something my great-grandfather said or did in 1868! Once the visitors are gone though it's back to the norm.
Welcome back Marco! We missed you!
Ciao bella

The Queen Father said...

Ahem.... Dear Jon, I love dearly my aunt Mattia.... She is like my grandmother...
She is what she is (a 77 years old bigoted widow...), but I know she loves me. You'll have to read the follow up to this post to find out what I mean.
You don't stop loving someone because of his life choices... I wish it was that easy. Anyway, let's agree to disagree!
But for now let me enlighten you on the following:
-My husband is one of the most refined Brits I know, he knows a lot about food and, although he might not have watched "La Dolce Vita" (which is one of the most BORING movies of all times...), he sure knows how to live sweetly!
-I am not gorging on starchy brit food, in my house the cooking is STRICTLY italian, thank you very much!
-I AM NOT FAT!!!!!!!!!!!!
-The priest in town, Don Antonio, that knows me since I was born, is not my type and I wouldn't go down on him if I was suffocating and his ball were full of oxygen....
-The correct form is "Ciao Bello!" because, although I am a gay-gay person, I still have few inches down below that set me apart from the female population!

Ok, I am done.... I hope to hear from you soon, you biatch!
MWAH! xxx :0)

jon said...

Ok I just finished wiping all the tiramisu-laden egg thrown at my face! Now back to the regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic bitchiness and cattiness.
I apologize about Auntie. Maybe I read the situation incorrectly. Obviously she means a lot to you and now that I reread the posts I realize you two are like two peas in a pod. She has clearly influenced your global world view on things, for example Ricky Martin's coming out. *cough*
I agree about La Dolce Vita, except for the Trevi fountain scene. I love some of Fellini's other lesser known movies, like Nights of Calabria, etc.
But seriously Marco if you love your auntie you need to have her eyes checked. There seems to be some confusion there about your BMI; or perhaps she needs to remove her magnifying reading glasses when she meets up with you. Next thing you know she'll be going around the village announcing that you have a front butt!
Did I get the gender wrong on "Bella". Cara mia! So sorry. I know Italian men are the butchest things on this planet, "Signora" Botox Berlusconi keeps reminding us of that!
Your husband sounds yummy; sadly in America our only image of modern British men today are Simon Cowell (love those white t-shirts he wears showing off his juicy man-boobs) & Gordon Brown so you can see where I'd get the wrong impressions and feed off the stereotypes...
Ta for today sweetie. I am waiting for Part 2 with baited breath so hurry up and post it!

The Queen Father said...

Jon, you big poof! You make me laugh! You are right about my aunt, I love her and she means a lot to me... She is very, very lonely, no husband (he died 18 years ago), no children... I do really feel for her and she does depends a lot on my family as my dad is her only surviving brother. To know that she is happy and safe, makes me happy. I don't agree with a lot of the things she says, but it gives her a sense of purpose, she feels that she can still educate me on the ways of the world... I let her do it, it's what you do when you care about somebody. You see, I am the kind of person that makes HUGE concessions to the people I love, maybe to my own detriment, but that's the only way I know how to love..... I hope it doesn't sound too pathetic to your ears.
Allow me to correct you though, she has not influenced me on my world views... If she had, I would be kissing ass to the Pope and the clergy and I wouldn't be gracing you with my time as you are a homosexual gay man, a sinner and will most definitely go to hell.
Not to mention I would be trapped in a loveless marriage where my mustachioed wife would harass me every night with her dirty bits until I would finally give in , with my eyes closed, dreaming of a shirtless Hugh Grant......
There, you have been served!
Love. m x

jon said...

Ok I concede. I too have special aunties as well and know that altho they struggle with the gay thing they would do anything for me if I ever needed them. Hopefully our children will grow up in a different world. I betcha your auntie is as happy as a clam whenever she hears or sees you!