Electricity in Italy, as in the rest of Europe, comes out of the socket at 220 volts alternating at 50 cycles per second. Not only do the outlets require an adaptor, but they need a power converter to step down the electricity to the American standard of 110 volts. I came to Italy armed with both, a hairdryer, and a miniature straightener.
The temperature in Rome slowly climbed from a temperate 72 degrees to a sweltering 98. I slept with the windows open, clinging to my sputtering fan, and I still woke up like I’d run a half-marathon during the night. After my morning shower, it was already too hot in the apartment to turn on my hairdryer.
In all the time Thomas and I have been dating, I’ve struggled to maintain the illusion of effortless beauty. In reality, it takes hours of concentration and a thick crust of hairspray just to leave the house. Through strategic planning, I’ve tricked Thomas into thinking that a gentle breeze curls my hair while woodland critters dress me in the morning. When Thomas arrived in Rome, however, I knew it would take an superhuman effort to look presentable in these conditions.
Ex. “homeschooled” hair
I stood before the mirror the first morning with a grimace on my face. I had my hairdryer plugged into a plug adapter plugged into a power converter plugged into the wall. I flipped the switch and the machine shot out a weak blast of searing hot air. I had already broken a sweat. I endured the heat for three seconds and then turned it toward the window when I couldn’t stand it any longer. The heat from the hairdryer mingled with the sunlight coming in from the window and I briefly saw a mirage. I heard Thomas stir in the other room. With a trembling hand, I pointed the hairdryer back towards my hair and clicked it to full blast. The temperature of the room was rising. It was getting difficult to breathe. Some might have given up, but when I let my hair air dry, I look like a homeschooler. So, middle part in mind, I soldiered on.
The aforementioned mane, pictured here in the Colosseum. Several tourists ran screaming from the sight, thinking that a live lion had been released into the arena.
The electricity pulsing through my straightener caused it to vibrate with excess energy. If left unattended for more than a couple seconds, its plastic shell began to melt. This should have been a signal that it wasn’t a wise idea to use on my freshly-cut locks. I could hear them sizzle every time I clamped down. I was feeling lightheaded from the fumes of burning hair. Beads of sweat were dripping down into my eyes and making it difficult to see. This proved dangerous, as the straightener was now functioning more like a small blowtorch.
When Thomas walked in half an hour later, I was extinguishing a small fire from my bangs. I smiled beatifically and swept a pile of singed hair under the bed with my foot.
He glanced at me and said: “That didn’t seem like it took too long.”