Oh people, where to start?
Can I tell you a story?
Without getting into any specifics that might reveal a terribly heartachy crush that has befallen me of late (insert here: sigh, angst, another sigh, a slow tear cascading down my cheek, wistfulness, etc. etc.), let’s just say that recently I chatted with a particularly astute and erudite (yes, they are out there!) person with whom I felt the moment had finally arrived in which to utter one curiously simple, yet incredibly cryptic, word:
And aforementioned heartthrob/genius replied:
“What? What the heck is a tabarro?” (not genius’s exact words. but close to.)
Which was exactly—EXACTLY—the reaction I had hoped for.
Thus proving my theory that there exist words in the Italian language which are so incredibly specific and remote that even heartthrob/geniuses don’t know them.
Which was incredibly rewarding for me. And also gave me more time to gaze into … no. Stop. Shelley. Stop! Focus!
Ok, so back to tabarro. This is what a tabarro is. Look at this photo, people. Look!
Now, you have one second to tell me what your first thought was, based on the following two choices I will now helpfully provide you with:
1) “Of course, Shelley. That is the Zara family, four generations of tabarro-wearing pride. Where the hell have you been? You act like people don’t know what a tabarro is. For shame!”
2) “OH! Cool! Snuggies came to Italy!”
Yes, #2 is courtesy of one of the loveliest girls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this year, my housemate and helpful caretaker of my precious kiddos. God bless her for bringing me such levity. Black snuggies. Dracula-cape-looking-Snuggies.
Alas, they are not Snuggies (note absence of sleeves), and had you chosen #1 you would have been correct. This, my friends, is the work of a tabarrificio. Although I’m making light of it, I am only doing so because I can barely contain my sheer delight at having discovered such an anachronistic word and tradition here in Italy.
Frankly, there are days when I would gladly wrap myself in a tabarro and not leave my house. I might also add a warm mug of tea and a good book. (But here, we find ourselves dangerously close to Snuggie territory, do we not?)
I have no further commentary on the phenomenon of the tabarro, and nothing to say about a possible theoretical phenomenon invented by me and known as tabarrismo. I just think it’s super cool that a little kid like that is all wrapped up in a fancy black wool version version of a Snuggie. Nice.
Should you desire a tabarro of your very own, I invite you to visit www.tabarro.it.