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  • Writer's pictureMaria

Travel Tip: Don't Swear at Your Waiter

Updated: 6 days ago

If you don't know how to order, it's better just to point at the menu.

Stock photo of linguine with clam sauce

Boys and girls, you are about to learn an Italian swear word: Vaffanculo, or F&$k you. This, along with a gesture of biting the side of your hand in anger, or possibly an entire hand going from your chin to chest all illustrate ways to tell off your fellow Italian. But if you're an American born woman like my aunt, you know very little of these inappropriate cultural phrases.

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The story is a short one - the stage is set in a typical trattoria in Roma or Firenze, and seafood dishes adorn a menu full of antipasti, primi and segondi piatti. My aunt, hungry as it were for some clams, desired the spaghetti alle vongole - spaghetti with clams. Except when pronouncing 'vong-oh-lay' she pronounced it more of a "fong-gool". She tried, which is what counts, but you'll hear it in the streets - "BA Fong Gool!!" I'll give you two guesses what this slangy phrase translates to. Va-fahn-coolo' - ba fong - gool.

There was a pregnant pause as we watched the waiter's face change from silent servitude to subtle horror. She had just ordered - "Spaghetti alle f&$k you."

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