05/02/2013 11:44 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Day in a Queer Life in Italy: Life on Hold

Marcello Signore

If my days were keywords in a Google search, they'd all be "on hold." Ever since I decided to transform myself into that mythological creature we call "freelancer," I've kept the same routine: I wake up more or less when I want, go write in some trendy bar in Milan, and upload snapshots of myself with poetic captions on Instagram. I drink so much coffee that my days finish around 3 in the morning. Then I start all over again. Every once in a while I slip an "incredibly important" meeting in there, necessary to get my hands on this or that assignment that I may or may not receive.

I sleep curled up around my smartphone. I check my email as soon as I open my eyes: Amazon; Twitter; papà writes, "Did you hear Mariah Carey's latest song?" Nothing. There's no email from my editor, no email from a distant lover. More than "You've Got Mail," I'd call it "You've Got Demons." How come the things I want are never in there? My friends are all "at work," while all you have to do is post stuff on Facebook. I check my phone: No mail there either. My most recurrent lines? "Strike a pose, and we'll take a shot for the blog," and, "An americano with milk and honey to go, thanks."

I'm not the kind of person who believes in a lot of things. I believe that Christopher Nolan's movies are always masterpieces, and that every single 007 movie should be remade starring Daniel Craig, and I believe in a sort of destiny, a grand design, God's plan, karma -- everybody gives it the name they prefer. The principle is always the same: "Everything happens for a reason."

That's why, when destiny called from a Milan number with a +39 prefix, I accepted the charges. It said, "Come see him. He looks just like you." And when I saw Robert De Niro for the first time, I thought, "He looks just like me. He's even got those expressive wrinkles I get when I'm frowning." Then I brought him home with me:


The night before I went to pick him up, anxiety playing pinball in my gut, I stopped to reflect upon my personal concept of family, and what adopting a dog meant to me. I've known I wanted a child ever since I was changing my nephews' diapers and accompanying them to ice-skating lessons (even though I can't skate). And I knew why I couldn't get a wink of sleep: My family was starting right now, with Robert De Niro.

Speaking of destiny, I already know that it's written somewhere in mine that someday I'll be a dad. I answer people who ask me, "How's that possible?" by saying, "Nowadays there are a lot of ways to stuff a loaf in the oven." Over the years I've had all kinds of conversations, all titled "Gays Can't Have Kids; It's an Abomination," or "If They Ever Hold a Referendum Vote, I'll Vote No, and Let That Be a Lesson to You!"

Yet I'm convinced that in 1804 there were plenty of people against the use of steam trains. Something tells me that years later they changed their minds.

Families are no longer the way they were set up in school textbook math problems: "If Mom buys 6 eggs and Dad eats 3, how many eggs are left?" In order to build a family, you need plenty of courage, maybe even more than the courage needed by our parents once upon a time. Sometimes I feel like Harry Potter in a world full of Muggles. In my country, Italy, I talk about creating a family while our parliament is still debating whether there should be a law against homophobia. This in Italy, where every day hundreds of boys and young men are the victims of bullying.

I turn on the TV and read Twitter feeds from politicians, soccer players and actors who say, "You're wrong," or, "No gay marriage," or, "Adoption? Never! It would ruin the children," or, "Gays are like animals." It's a true paradox if you think about it: Right here in Italy, where some of the world's most famous writers were born, writing some of the most important words in the history of humanity, we no longer pay attention to the things we say to each other. It's a paradox when you think about it: Italy, a country founded on courage, from Leonardo da Vinci to Garibaldi, can't seem to find a new hero. There's no revolution. If Italy had its own keyword on Google, it would be the same as mine: "On hold." What are we waiting for?

As of today, my editor still hasn't written me. But my mom wrote me a message on WhatsApp, forwarding a chain letter in order to tell me that she loves me.

Hello? Destiny? It's me, Marcello Signore. I've got a dog and things are great. But what can you tell me about everything else? Italy and I are waiting. Don't you think it's about time to get the ball rolling?

Sincerely yours,
Marcello Signore

This blog post is translated from the original Italian.

"A Day in a Queer Life" is an ongoing blog series that documents the unique struggles, joys, triumphs, setbacks, hopes and desires of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people living in one of the six countries currently featuring a HuffPost site (Canada, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States). Each week a different blogger from one of these countries shares his or her personal story and perspective on what life is like wherever he or she resides. Want to share your own story? Write us at to find out how you can take part in "A Day in a Queer Life."

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