As a throwback to the 1950s, I have accepted and made peace with my femininity through ways of feeling, seeing, and thinking amongst my circle of friends, family, colleagues, and peers. Through my twenties and still at 31, I am often questioned and at times criticized for having an “outdated” feminine perspective. However, it’s not taken to heart. Born, raised, and working forcefully in New York — one of the most contemporary locations in the world, didn’t align with my natural grain.
My true nature since childhood has been caring for my family members; who at times were 50+ years older than me. With pleasure, I searched for ways to beautify my parents’ home and later on my own through cleaning, organizing, and highlighting objects of beauty. But my true passion was reading cookbooks and following both grandmothers’ recipes in order to have dinner ready and on the table — dating back to age 11.
Each of our upbringings, nature, and how we’ve transformed from girlhood to womanhood is unique within our personal context. However, we owe it to ourselves to self-nurture and enhance our well-being in ways that feel good and true to our core. Thus, we can fully share and engage with our significant others, children, loved ones, and for that matter, complete strangers with self-awareness and self-preservation.
Specifically, a bit of old world charm in the present can make your partner swoon as you find your classic sense of beauty from within that radiates outwardly. Below are my personal “secrets” from direct life experience as how I was raised in an Italian-American household and now live in Italy. The old wives’ tale “prendere per la gola un uomo” which translates to “take him by the throat” is a sure way to entice, surprise, and captivate [your partner] — by nourishing them through food. Their eyes of appreciation and happy stomachs will thank you ten fold.
1. Prepare a home-cooked meal by surprising them or directly asking what their favorite dish is.
2. Structure your meal with an appetizer, main course, a side, and dessert.
3. Open up a cookbook or call your mom or a relative for culinary tips, recipes, or guidance. (Or do online research or watch a cooking show if needed.)
4. Go to the market with a handwritten shopping list the morning of this special dinner and select ingredients with care. Of course, honor your budget.
5. After the market, stop at the florist and pick up fresh cut flowers.
6. Prepare as much as you can in advance so by the time they arrive, they will be captivated by the aroma of what’s cooking and you’ll both be ready to eat.
7. Between preparations, set the table using a fabric tablecloth along with ceramic and glass dining ware. Even if it’s mismatched and from the cupboard, be creative.
8. Arrange candles on and around the table and place an intimate, handwritten letter on their dinner plate.
9. Before returning to the kitchen for the final stretch of cooking, take an hour to relax and shower. Your ease and grace will be transmitted, even if you’re nervous.
10. Breathe. The truth is, even if the food is overcooked, under seasoned, or raw, they won’t care! They will be impressed by your efforts and you can always telephone for a pizza if all else fails.
11. Create an extra special beauty routine of choosing a delicate fragrance applied where you’d like him to find it on you. (Keep your makeup light and airy to highlight your natural beauty as much as you can.)
12. When you open up the armoire, choose an outfit that makes you feel most yourself, and that accentuates your best features in a classic yet gently suggestive manner.
13. Apron on, music from the 1920s softly playing, candles lit, and final preparation is underway. They will be here any moment…
14. As you open the door, they will enter into a magical and timeless space of love and comfort you so carefully prepared. They will be taken away by your beauty and hungry not only for the food… but for you.
15. Buon appetito… enjoy!