Italy is currently in the throes of patriotic passion for the Azzurri, its national soccer team, in the UEFA Euro 2016 championship. How do I know this?
- I don’t watch TV. But I can tell you when a match is being played and when a goal is scored by Italy or against Italy just by keeping a silent house, because no one is on the streets during a match and the screams from the fans inside every apartment easily penetrate my building’s foot-thick walls and closed windows.
- There are commemorative beer bottles.
Witness Exhibit 1: the current Birra Moretti labels.
Now, before you mistakenly assume, like I did, that this is simply an ill-thought-out tribute to permy-haired soccer stars of the Disco Age, let me first show you what Mr. Moretti of aforementioned beer looks like, and then I’ll show you the necks of these here bottles.
Exhibit 2: Signore Moretti
Exhibit 3: Bottlenecks
Yes, you read that right. It says “Champions with a Mustache.” Special Edition 2016.
Allow me an aside here, will you? I am very much over the mustache trend. I was over it before it even got started. I don’t find it cute or amusing, or even comprehensible, for that matter. You see, once my tattoo artist went off on people who ask for a mustache tattoo “because they have no idea what it really means” and then I forced him to tell me despite his fear of sullying my delicate sensibilities—well folks, that pretty much did it for me on the whole mustache trend.
Babies do not need to be wearing mustachioed onesies. Just trust me on this one.
But as usual, I digress. What do birra and baffi have to do with bathing suit season, you ask?
Nothing, really. Except UEFA 2016 soccer season provides a lead-in to another important season that is already upon us in Italy as well: the season of the prova costume.
The prova costume in Italy is an all-consuming thing. It translates basically to trying on the bathing suit, and whispers of it begin around, say, April or so.
But the real proof that the prova costume is imminent comes from Italian pharmacy windows.
Before we begin, I want to give you my cultural reference baseline. I Googled “Walgreens advertising” to get a taste of what the US’s largest drug retailing chain is trying to hawk to its customers.
A brief perusal gives us Dr. Oz flexing his probably Photoshopped bicep to encourage flu shots, a smiling pair of senior citizens happy for their 20% discount, and a kid nose-blowing into a tissue. Yep, standard-issue pharmacy stuff.
Now, let’s shift our attention to Italian pharmacy windows in recent weeks to help us get ready for the all-important—nay, hallowed—season of exposing bare flesh at the beach.
In our first example, from the fine folks at Somatoline (who featured prominently in our 2014 edition) it would appear that technology has come a long way baby. As the box promises, this “Use & Go Slimming Spray” is not only effective and easy to use, but also absorbs quickly. Hence the tagline: Somatoline Cosmetic. It works.
Welp, you won’t catch me spending €39 or the low, low discounted price of €31.20 to test that claim, but enquiring minds want to know: how, pray tell, does a spray slim? And you can bet your bottom dollar, I’m using slim as a verb here.
Further research on the shiny corporate webpage says it works in 4 weeks asterisk.
It also says it’s the first-ever slimming spray double asterisk.
Let’s delve further, shall we?
Ah, yes. The exclusive formula. You knew there was an exclusive formula, right? There’s always an exclusive formula with Latin-y or space-age sounding words sprinkled with hyphens or missing appropriate spaces or that have an X, with a TM or an R tagged at the end. And Somatoline, at least in this regard, doesn’t disappoint!
Let’s skip over what it says it actually does (which when translated into non pseudo-science speak basically comes down to some dubious claims about helping you lose water weight) and get right to the good stuff. What the hell is ReduxExpress-ComplexTM actually made of, anyways?
Don’t be overwhelmed. I’m going to break this down real easy-like for you.
- Caffeine. Aww, that’s cute. Because you know, the espresso at the bar only costs 80 cents. Wait! What if I spray the espresso on my cellulite? Are you following me here? (I’m fairly certain this must have been what the inventor of Post-its or Scotch tape felt like.)
- Carrier molecule. Um. That’s a bit sketch. It says it helps you absorb the active ingredients.
- Decapeptide. Christ. A Google search revealed that this is used to treat vitiligo. You know vitiligo. Sure you do. It’s that skin disease Michael Jackson had. Now, I know you must be thinking the same thing I am thinking here: slimming spray ingredient in reference/link to Michael Jackson can only mean one thing…
- Trimethyl what? This ingredient looks like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But I looked it up. Yes, indeedy. It is Trimethylcyclohexyl Butylcarbamate and is present in a bunch of fat-loss—ahem, slimming—creams. One advertised that it will help you “loose weight.” So this is promising, yes?
- Not even bothering with this. Pink peppercorn extract.
- Aescin. An anti-inflammatory. So this spray is as good for your arthritic grammy as it is for your pesky flab.
- Ginger. (“Stimulates cutaneous microcirculation.”)
- Dermochlorella. Basically an algae extract that they claim has firming properties.
- Ethyl Nicotinate and Menthyl Lactate. For that cooling feeling. I’m sure this is how customers know it’s working.
Spray away, my friends.
But wait—there’s more!
The one-month pill to skinny:
And the “light leg” creams for “heavy legs”:
Your local Italian pharmacy is a veritable children’s candy store of remedies for fat that don’t involve diet or exercise.
Oh, wait. The asterisks. Just FYI and all. It’s a spray that, during use, provides “cosmetic remodeling”, but not weight loss.
But you knew that already, didn’t you?
And so, until next year’s edition, as I now have to get going on the patent application for my coffee vaporizing mist. Don’t even try to beat me to it. I’ll spray the slimming mist in your eyes.