Falling from Grace (Kelly)

Last Friday I went to see Mika perform in town.

I planned to go with someone I was hanging out with a few months ago, then realized I wouldn’t go anymore. Instead, in what was an unexpected turn of events I went – last minute – with a pretty nice company. Loved it. But you should already know I love unplanned situations.

The concert? Not bad, at all, despite all the smirks from my indie/hipster/nerdy coworkers.

Two hours of pure joy. Mika has kind of disappeared from the scene and his performing his first record brought along a whirlwind of memories, which I allowed myself to be swept in, especially when I was being a good girl and rehearsing his songs at ear-deafening volume while driving on the road to the venue.

It brought me back to 2006, which, aside from the memorable month when Italy and his just-for-the-occasion united citizens experienced post-World Cup-victory elation, was a very bipolar year. At least for me. I had just turned twenty. I remember I was torn between two paths in my life, the one people had always thought I wanted to go for and the one which I had grown to know and love and thought would pay off more later in life, you know, when I would finally hit the corporate world. Bullshit. Both of them.

I remember pretty well what happened at that time. I struggled to make one decision that was actually pretty easy to go for, feeling as if my whole life would depend on what I would choose. My life turned, at first slowly, and then I couldn’t stop, it felt like everything inside myself just clicked and I just wasn’t the same person anymore.

Just like now, six years later. Yet there’s a difference, this time I know all choices are, to some extent, reversible. Still, I feel like I have come to a halt in life. I’m at a turning point, the end of which is unclear to me. But I know one thing, I feel it has more to do with attitude than actual choices. Meaning what?

Blame it on the girls, blame it on the boys.

Oh yes sir, Mika was the perfect artist to underline my uncertainty about the gender attitude to pick. Nothing to do with sexual orientation, I can say without too many doubts I am heterosexual. I kissed a girl, once, and didn’t like it (sorry, Katy).

I can relate to women, on all levels. I am one, after all, and I love being a woman. Period (included). But I get bored of girly girl talk, I don’t like chatting about shopping, handbags, lipstick, not even about cakes – I just love doing them. Big shocker alert: I also get tired of gossiping after one or two minute. And I seem to have found no work-type model, either you are the over-achieving bitch who does what she is required, bitching behind somebody’s back, to get where she wants, or you’re the oh-she-is-so-nice-and-helpful kind of type and people feel they might shit on your head and you’ll reply with a smile.

Men, on the other hand, are another species I easily connect to (ok, I must stop the sexual innuendos), but cannot really appreciate. I don’t think the answer for a young professional woman lies in acting like a man. I don’t know what you think about that, but if you ask me, I would say it needed to be the other way round.

Male and female minds are not only biologically, but also socially programmed to think differently and oppose the other sex. As to why is that, I have no clue, though I have read extensively on the subject. In fact, gender-related debates are my all-time favorites. My sister likes to tease me for the fact that I always come up with stuff like: “That’s something a woman would notice” or “Only a man would say something like that”.

I need to step up in my own defence. I am always for accepting the opposites, respecting them and making them co-exist. Stereotypes are truths for people who cannot take in complexity. Ok, ok, stereotypes have some kind of truth to them. But now I’m through with that. While I struggle to understand how to deal with men at work (and outside the office) and decide the kind of woman I want to be, I’ll just stick to cakes. I’ll keep you posted though on my Casablanca dilemma.

In the light of PC and equal opportunities and all the Marissa Mayers and stay-home dads I will ever hear of, I’m representing this post not just with one, but with two cakes I recently made.

The first has more feminine elements, has layers of grated apples and buttery flavor, simple on the outside yet complex inside.

The second one is the Alpha male of Italian cakes (no flour and hard, alcoholic ingredients) and comes from Naples.

Yin and Yang. Lick off the spoon while you pick your cake.

Apple Pie Coconut Crumble

Apple Pie with Coconut and Brown Sugar Crumble

Torta Caprese all'Arancia

Cointreau Caprese