Perhaps it is the familiar way she treats all her customers at The Steps of Rome in North Beach, the Italian District in San Francisco.
She places a hand on your shoulder when she greets you, she touches your scarf to compliment your style, she hugs a friend who has come by to say hello, and takes him by both hands to spin around with delight. She is the most mesmerizing woman I have ever seen.
As I sit transfixed by her antics, there is loud Italian Bebop music thumping in the background, making me feel just a little bit wild, tapping my toe and rocking my shoulders to the beat. Then there is the Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake sitting before me winking and flirting with me until I give in to its tempting, over-the-top delicious, deep-sigh-inducing flavor. It occurs to me that I may be under the influence of Italian Mojo – otherwise I would not be accusing my dessert of flirting with me.
There is decidedly something unusual and wonderful about Italian women. As I watch the waitress at this coffee shop, I notice that she is not necessarily the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. In fact, she’s on the plain side. You would never know it though – because she is vivacious and darling and has the entire place watching her every move. She sashays this way and that around the café tables, avoiding head-on collisions, but casually bumping her hip into people just a tiny bit and laughing out loud with her head tipped back.
Is it her confidence that is so disarming? She is alluring in a way most women only dream of being. I know as I watched her, I felt like taking notes. This is what I learned in an Afternoon of Charm School from an Italian Waitress:
1)Love what you do!
2)Look people in the eye when you talk to them,
3)Listen with everything you’ve got, be completely absorbed by what they say,
4)Use touch innocently, but be sure to touch people somehow,
5)Smile like you are in love, and
6)Pronounce people you meet as gorgeous in some way: their smile, their boots, their earrings, or their southern drawl. Find something about them to dwell on and then make them feel like a million bucks for being so cunning and clever as to have that one thing.
While she dances around the restaurant delivering steaming plates of aromatic pasta dishes, or more of that sinfully delicious cheesecake, she quite literally blesses everyone she encounters. People cannot help smiling in her presence and allowing the weight of the world to simply melt away. She creates an air of flamboyant joy that is palpable and intoxicating.
I decide right on the spot that she is my beauty secret hero. Her beauty has nothing to do with her outward appearance, and everything to do with her charm, her grace, her laughter and her ease at spreading joy. She is the embodiment of radiance. She makes you feel lovely, and in return you remember her as stunning! What a clever beauty tactic!