In Italian, you address a man as signor. You address a woman – mature, married – as signora. A younger woman – ostensibly unmarried, unattached to children – as signorina. 1 signorina, 2 or more signorine. Where do I fit in at 30? I’m unmarried. There are no children around my ankles. And yet – 30. I try not to stress about it; I’ll let others be the judge.
Standing in line at the pane-salumi-formaggi counter at the market:
Counter manager: Number 58! Who’s number 58?
Elderly woman: Here! I am! Oh, excuse me, signorina.
Middle aged woman: Oh, my. Thank you for calling me signorina.
Elderly woman: Ha ha! But of course, I meant this signorina right here: (reaches out, squeezes my shoulder)
Middle aged woman: Why can’t we all be signorine? I’m still a signorina!
Elderly woman: Hey, why not? I’m a signorina, too! But this one: (pinches my cheek, hugs me around the shoulders). What do you think, eh? Shouldn’t we all be called “signorina,” no matter how old we are?
Myself: Damn straight.
Middle aged woman: I’m a signorina!
Elderly woman: I’m a signorina, too!
Counter manager: Excuse me, signorine, what can I get for you?
Elderly woman: Oh, right. I want those two salami up there and a wedge of parmiggiano reggiano.
Counter manager: Okay, then. Glad I could finally help.
Middle aged woman: Goodbye, signorine!
Myself: Goodbye, signorina!
Perhaps I should have called this post “Sex and the Pane-Salumi-Formaggi Counter.”