In every single city so far, there have been men walking around at nighttime with bunches of roses to sell to unsuspecting men out with their significant others. Kevin and I have been approached on the street, in parks and outside of restaurants on numberous occasions. The worst ones are when we're stuck actually eating at a table - captive - and one of these characters walks up.
We've come to find that just saying "No" isn't typically enough - they hear that all the time. So, being the creatively gifted, refreshingly innovative, and otherwise fed up people we are, we started using other tactics:
1) Man approaches with a beady-eyed smile, holding out flowers at twilight in the center of Rome.
"No, no, no. Hermano," I point at Kevin. "Hermana," I point to myself. While in retrospect it's hilarious to think that speaking "brother, sister" to an Italian in Spanish would be appropriate, it kinda worked.
2) Kevin and I are walking through an area of Venice with lots of restaurants with outdoor seating around lunchtime. We see a guy, big bunch of flowers in hand spot us, put on his "gotcha!" smile, and make his way forward. We start power walking, he's getting closer, we're going to collide soon. So we break into a run, veer left, and pass him yelling "AAAAHHHH!" When we turn back to see his face, he's amused, but the tables full of tourists eating pizza are the ones laughing hardest.
3) We're out in front of the Venice hostel far past the prime time for flower-selling. A man sneaks up to us out of the dark holding only three rather sad looking roses (apparently he had done well tonight). He holds the flowers up to the group of us and says with some effort in English, "Three?"
We all look at each other. Kevin repeats back to him, "Free?"
The guy is clueless.
I look at the flowers and say, "Eat?"
The man hands one to me and says "Three" again, clearly indicating that the flower would cost 3euros. I make the expression my mom makes when she tries to navigate facebook and confusedly repeat, "eat?"
He nods, oblivious.
I put flower in mouth and feign eating it. He smiles, I hand it back, he wanders back into the night.
Today we went to the beach with our new English friend, David.