Eavesdropping is something I am very good at doing. I try my best not to intrude on other people’s conversations because, in my eyes, there is something very skeezy about all of it. Overseas it’s a bit of a different story, though.
When I hear English in a city in Europe, my ears perk up. That’s just human nature. I want to know if I can identify regional accents. I obviously want to see if there are any cute girls in the group that are speaking English.
In short, I just like to feel like I’m with my people, and it’s very easy to do in a city like Rome. College kids on study abroad trips, disgusting couples on their honeymoons (they’re not really disgusting I’m just lashing out because I don’t like anyone enough to get engaged right now), and families sweating their asses off on the Spanish steps… it’s all there.
So a few days back I found myself alone in The Emerald City. The family leg of the trip had just ended, and I was in Rome for two more days before I had to meet up with friends in Positano. I had checked into an Airbnb near Vatican City and I had nothing but time on my hands so I mosied on over to a little cafe and caught up on e-mails.
At this point, I still had a phone to take notes on and because I was really thinking on my toes this day I e-mailed myself the minutes I had taken immediately afterward.
I sat in that crowded cafe with a beer, an espresso, and a cold bottle of water because I had already done all the touristy shit in Rome. And if I’m being honest, I just wanted to get a little day drunk and see where the rest of the afternoon took me.
Either I was putting off a very American vibe sitting there with three beverages on my table, an iPhone, and a copy of Infinite Jest or this was just a spot where people from the United States liked to frequent.
Whatever the case, this particular cafe was teeming with English speaking foreigners from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Portland, Oregon. Here is the best conversation I overheard from the two-hour break I took at the cafe in Rome. I lasted just over twenty minutes before I had to move my things to a different table for fear of being caught listening in. I would also like to note that the two girls having this conversation were insanely hot. Like ten thousand followers a piece on Instagram hot.
Girl 1: Okay, so I tagged Jake in a photo on Instagram last night and he untagged himself like LITERALLY five minutes later. It was a group photo too… like what the fuck, dude? We’ve been hooking up for a month and ugggggh… it was a fucking group photo!! The caption was hashtag allmyfriendsarewasted. Nothing about that says “exclusive.”
Girl 2: Yeah but wasn’t he in that episode of Girls this year? He’s probably just trying to protect his image.
Girl 1: Whatever, we’re meeting up with him at The Drunken Ship later and I’m just going to sit him down and tell him we’re fucking dating now. Untagging himself from that picture pissed me off.
I think you can surmise that these two girls are college friends on a study abroad trip. They’re probably visiting Italy for a week or two and I guess I just got lucky in that they decided to plop down at a table next to mine to enjoy their cappuccinos.
That they were drinking cappuccino and talking about going to a bar called The Drunken Ship tells you all you need to know about these two. Let me explain.
The Drunken Ship is the most stereotypical, hole in the wall college bar you could possibly think of. It is located in the Campo de Fiori neighborhood of Rome and it is full of tourists from the states who say phrases like “bruh” (obviously unironically), “Are we buying a room somewhere tonight or just winging it?” and “Arrivederci. You guys have Bud Light here?”
It has a D.J. in an elevated booth spinning Billboard Top 40 techno remixes, hot waitresses who speak English as good or better than any of us real Americans, and most importantly beer pong.
Sidenote: do not, under any circumstances, order a cappuccino in Italy past 11:00 a.m. Italians frown upon it, and they’ll most certainly roll their eyes and call you an ignorant American behind your back.
Yes, beer pong. That quintessentially American drinking game that is played exclusively by college kids and people in their first or second year out of school.
The Drunken Ship serves Fireball, has a sticky dance floor, and every guy in the joint is wearing jeans and a button down. For many Americans traveling abroad, it’s all about familiarity, and you could put The Drunken Ship in any college town in America and it would be a huge success. Back to the riveting conversation going on at the cafe, though.
I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out who Jake could have played in an episode of GIRLS. They must go to NYU or something and be aspiring actors/actresses because there’s no way this guy would attend any other school and have an opportunity to get even an extra spot in a show that big.
Girl 2: I don’t know. Jake’s funny but he’s suuuuch a child. He laughs at his own jokes and he’s insanely jealous. He’s been like that since freshman year.
Girl 1: You make it sound like we’ve known him for a decade. I mean we’re juniors. We’ve known him, at most, three years. And how would you know he’s insanely jealous?
Girl 2 is stirring her cappuccino and looking down at her phone simultaneously.
Girl 2: Huh? Oh… I don’t know I thought you told me that once.
Girl 1: Wait, didn’t you and Jake live in on the same floor freshman year?
Girl 2: Yeah, he lived four or five doors down from me. He was so obnoxious…
So at this point, we have to assume Girl 2 hooked up with Jake at some point during freshman year, right? I put that together almost immediately, and I wanted to turn around and say that to Girl 1 but I think the wheels started to spin as soon as Girl 2 dropped this bomb:
Girl 2: Are you sure you want to date him?
Girl 1: I mean…yeah. He’s super hot and he’ll probably be famous in a few years.
Girl 2: Okay. So are you going to confront him about the untagging thing or no?
Girl 1: I don’t know. Maybe.
Girl 2: But you know we’re only in Rome for a few more days. He’s not taking the train with us on Friday, is he?
Girl 1: Well that’s what I’m going to talk to him about tonight.
Girl 2: Whatever… good luck, I guess. I’ll let you sort this out because you’re clearly not listening to me. Let’s go get a sandwich or something I’m starving.
Girl 1: Ehhh I think I’m gonna stay here. But you go ahead I’ll see you back at the room.
How about Girl 2 getting a little catty at the end there? This was where I made my move to a different table. My head was beginning to hurt thinking about the ramifications of Girl 1 finding out that Girl 2 has fucked Jake before.
If I was a serious investigative journalist, I would have gone to The Drunken Ship that night and watched this whole saga unfold, but I ate some bomb gnocchi at a restaurant a stones throw from my Airbnb and did some more people watching instead.
My best guess? Girl 1 threw a fucking fit at The Drunken Ship after Jake told her he wasn’t looking for anything serious. If Girl 2 was there, she either had a shoulder for Girl 1 to cry on OR she swooped in and stole Jake from right under Girl 1’s nose. I hope she chose the latter option because I live for drama, but either way I think we can conclude that Jake is a fucking cocksman. Cheers, bud..