The scenario is apocalyptic. Premises half empty, offices at half capacity, unused condoms. That’s right, nobody says it, but also the sex economy has been affected by the corona virus. Condoms are left unsold in the Pharmacy shops: “Last week we had a drop in sales of 70%” a pharmacist in Parioli tells me. Casual sex has been put in quarantine. Apps used for sex encounters languish, Tinder is desperate, Grindr (the app used by gays for quick sex) is even worse.
Hespresso. Among those affected by this new psychosis is the unsuspecting lady’s man, Trucione. We meet up at Hespresso, one of my usual spots. I like the concept of this place, it’s a train and God knows how much we want run away from it all. He arrives breathless, his mouth covered with a scarf (he finished the surgical masks) and hand sanitizer. I get closer to greet him but he stops me: “Are you nuts? Have you heard what the government said? It’s forbidden to kiss”. He sits making sure there is a safe distance between us – about a meter – and he orders a coffee on a single use cup.
Abstinence. After this ritual, he tells me the sad story of induced abstinence: “I haven’t had sex in two weeks, I’m desperate. Last night, a hot girl on Instagram contacted me, I told her I was home because I didn’t feel well and she offered to bring me ‘pappardelle al cinghiale’ to eat. But I had to refuse, do you understand? Me, a sex machine, my otherwise spotless curriculum is now tainted”.
Empty Privè. I leave Hespresso and I go and visit G. the owner of a privè club in Rome. It’s a business appointment but even he is desperate: “We need to reschedule, Sabina, I’m sorry, but the situation is dire. We had a dip of clientele of 60%. They are all scared of this virus. Crestfallen, I leave, the new Louis Vuitton will have to wait. Whilst I walk on via Ripetta I get a message from A.: “Let’s challenge Coronavirus and go out for dinner?”.
No sex, no perversion but at least, for the time being, we can still eat.