I definitely don’t need the mild temperatures, the cooler air and the horrible mess that happens in the streets of Milan, not to mention the improvised parking almost reaching the building roofs, to understand that summer is closing its doors. There are these wealthy ladies, with chocolate brown skin (extradark!), that make us aware of it. And even Patricia Krentcil would envy these ladies. (What? Are you teeelling me that you don’t know who’s the most tanned woman in the world!?). These women who have populated the Ligurian beaches for months, as if they were stranded for real, appear every Monday at the gym and the local bar (weird, but now that I come to think it, it is so rare to see them do some shopping at the supermarket), and take taxis. These are the ones who, if Italy had cheer leaders, these would be their older versions. These women are the ones who married well, who have inherited some family houses, the ones that are convinced that tanning can actually hide age. I meet them often at Efisio’s bar, at 10 am (when obligations allow me such luxury), where they gather to tell each other how the summer was under the umbrella, rigged as if they are about to go on a village party. In the gym they give orders to others about which places should be taken at the course that is about to start soon. These women are the ones that will be sizing you up from head to toe, those who think they can tell you anything in your face, those who put the scarf with matching shoes and bring a purse papered with the fashion logo, those who wear pearls (real ones or?), and the shoes with the H in the foreground. These women will also refuse to give up skin tanning even when the beach becomes only a cot in the solarium.

But then there are also these discrete women, the ones that used to be refined when they were young, and they still are today. These are the ones that give you a modest smile, the ones who consider the presumptuousness vulgar and that despite the fact that they wear on them at least three of your monthly salaries, they do so with discretion and elegance. These that are likely to have a house on the beach and the one in the mountains, too, but that is something that they never mention to you. These women who live over the years with serenity are the ones that I love watching when they meet for lunch on Saturday, or when they walk with their sticks, still very elegantly while holding their husband by his arm. These women make breakfast on Sunday with the now adult and independent daughter.

They are the ladies that you hope to become one day.