F is for La Bella Figura

7 Apr


Last week I had an afternoon that made me a bit sad about all of the out-of-LA job applications I’m turning in.

I met a friend at a British pub right on the water in Santa Monica and we ate fish and chips and argued over our favorite UK pastries and picked our ultimate London living location. (Notting Hill, obvi, and only 10% to do with the Beckhams.)

We then made our way to Intelligenstia in Venice where we drank peony tea in the sunlight and talked about love.

Drinking peony tea in the sunlight is exactly the sort of blogging sentence that makes the world seem a bit rosier and romantic than it actually is.  Did I drink peony tea in the sunlight and discuss love? Yes.  Was it so hot I had sweat rolling down my leg? Yes, yes. Did I discover drinking peony tea feels like eating my Urban Outfitters candle?  Yes, yes, yes.

Blogging, I tell you.

The conversation made its way towards “types” and falling in love, and in a direct roundabout way we concluded there is no such thing as a “type” and only such thing as “chemistry.”

And then we patted ourselves on the back for our great revelation that we already knew and the rest of the world already knew.

You can’t help who you fall for.

Or in the words of Fleetwood Mac, “How can I ever change things that I feel?”

For a long time I thought I had a very specific “type” of boy.  The Jill Type was a manly man, a guy who hated emotion as much as he loved cars.  The Jill Type understood me 0%, but understood Lebron James 100% and that dichotomy, that constant wanting to be understood, well that’s the space I knew how to live in.  And because I knew how to live there, and because I loved one boy like this, it meant it was my type, surely.

It took me a long time to recognize that this wasn’t a type, this was simply a boy I dated.  In fact, when I left that little dating bubble I discovered this boy was very much unusual, and that I’m actually drawn to men with much different qualities.

Men with impeccable style.  Men who appreciate the beauty in art and music and a really great suit.  Men who can discuss books with me, who can laugh as I gush over a particularly beautiful passage of writing.  Men who may not understand me, but very much want to.

That’s my type.

If people had types, that is.

I told my friend this whole theory, with much more detail and much more heartache, and he said, “Ah, Jill. La bella figura.” Which of course, I needed more explanation to understand.  “La bella figura is an Italian phrase, a way of living that means all the world’s a stage so you might as well dress the part.”

“Oh,” I said. “Yes.  I get that.  I really get that.”

For I am a girl who wears a tutu out and about.  Of course the world is a stage.

I went home that night and stewed about la bella figura.  And did some more research.  And while I certainly am no expert here, from what I can tell, la bella figura boils down to an overall appreciation of the beauty and art and color in life.

La bella figura is a way of living passionately, and with an emphasis on the finer things in life.

La bella figura is really how I try to live and behave in my life.

And so, as I’ve read and researched and thought about what I’m looking for in life and what I’m looking for in love, I’ve realized that it really just comes down to that. I’m looking for a man with a bit of la bella figura in him so we can appreciate all that is colorful and beautiful in this world together.

That’s my type of man.

The la bella figura type.

If people had types, that is.

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5 Responses to “F is for La Bella Figura”

  1. Rachel G April 8, 2014 at 3:14 am #

    I had not ever heard that phrase before, but I love the idea of it!

  2. Rebecca Bradley April 8, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    I love this post and how to look at life and live it. Beautiful. Just what I needed. Thank you for sharing.

    Dropped by from the A to Z challenge and now following.

  3. Kate @ Another Clean Slate April 9, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Ohhh yes- I want to live my life the la bella figura way too!

  4. Jennifer April 9, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    So you’re saying your ideal man is gay? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    • jillianlorraine April 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm #


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