Guerrilla Marketing for Italians: Getting Personal

A few days ago I received an email from one of my most enduring fans.


I like the personal stuff you talk about on your blog more than all of the business, Italy-related stuff. I’m tired of reading about Calabria and Italy. Write more about yourself.

PS-Call your sister.



So I started thinking.

Personal stuff?

Well, there is something I could share but it is personal. I mean … up CLOSE and personal and I’ve been debating on whether or not I should tell you about it. So, incited by my bored mother’s email, I present to you …

(Warning-TMI ahead!)

Guerrilla Marketing 101: “Baring” It All for Your Business

It was time. In fact, it was past time-way past time-for my annual gynecological check up. So, like any modest American girl, I made my appointment, then dreaded the day and counted the hours until my visit. I always postponed and procrastinated this ever-so-invasive exam in America-where they spoke English-so you can imagine I was none too thrilled with this new addition in my cultural experience repotiore .

You see. I had been to a Calabrian doctor’s appointment before so I knew the doctor’s office, complete with desk, computer and phone and the Examining Room were one in the same. I’d also been warned not to expect a private changing closet, stiff little pink paper gown or a tissue-blanket to cover my legs.

I was prepared. Kind of …

I arrived at my appointment, completed the necessary first-visit paperwork and was ushered in to see the Good Doctor. A young, attractive blond sat behind her desk and greeted me with a smile, but even that didn’t calm my nerves.

I quickly scanned the room.



Medical supplies-check.



No closet. No closet. No closet.

I was slightly sweating as I sat down for a brief consultation with the doctor and her French assistant.

“She’s from Texas!” the assistant gushed. “She met her husband in Paris.”

The doctor smiled again.

“Don’t be nervous,” she told me as she motioned toward the bed that was angled both toward her desk and the door. “Accomodatevi!”

“Yea right,” I thought. “Get comfortable?!?”

The French assistance pointed at a chair near the bed. “You can take off your clothes and leave them there.”

I looked down as my clammy hands went to my waist. Before removing anything, I glanced at the women.

Yep. They were watching me.

I forced a smile and continued.

A few seconds later I am strapped in-my butt angled toward the door-and sweat dripping from my eyebrows. Nothing is over my lap or draped from my knees.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the door opens and in walks a perky brunette.

She starts talking to my doctor. A few seconds later, the brunette doctor walks past me, “Buongiorno,” she said.

“She is from Texas!” the excitable assistant said again.

“Yes,” my doctor chimed in …, “Isn’t she cute?”

CUTE? Seriously? They are all three, by the way, at the wrong end of the bed!

“What are you doing here,” the brunette doctor asks as my doctor puts on a face mask with a big bright light attached at the nose and pulls up her chair.

“Uhm … here?” Isn’t it obvious?

“Oh! In Catanzaro?” I clarify.

She  nods.

“My husband and I own a bed and breakfast.”

“Really?” She gets excited and turns to face, well, you know …


I go on to explain our location, the name of our bed and breakfast and our average nightly rates.

Just then she turns to leave. “Great,” she told me with a smile. “I’ll send you people!”

I quickly redressed after my exam and did the walk of shame to the waiting room to meet my husband.

“How did it go?” He smiled at me. “You want me to buy you some ice cream?”

“Ice cream?” I demanded.

“I”m a Guerrilla Marketer. I deserve dinner!”

What is the worst-or funniest-experience you have had at a doctor’s office? How did you handle it?

Buon Weekend!

Photo couresty of VisualRian

17 Responses
  1. Stellina

    It’s funny how our lives are running parallel right now. I went for the first time two weeks ago since I’ve arrived here in Italy 2 years ago. My WHOLE FAMILY here had to know I as going because I went to my sister in laws doctor. I went to a lady DR though and I felt semi-comfortable. But no paper cover for the lap, NOTHING, just there naked waist down… argh!!!!!!!
    See, I’d heard about that, so I wore a skirt. It helped. A little.

  2. So up close and personal.

    My worst private-public experience was when I had my first child.
    The gyna walked in for the birth – followed by ten students! Everyone ‘Bonjoured’and then I had to push. No one asked if I minded. All I could think was that the baby had arrived early and I hadn’t had time to shave my legs.
    That is funny that you thought of your unshaven legs. If it makes you feel better, I’m sure they weren’t look at them.

  3. Oh no! I haven’t been to one yet and I’m terrified. This is not something I’m looking forward to at all!
    Uhm… it is like a band aid. Just get it over with-fast! 🙂

  4. joanne at frutto della passione

    Oh, forgive me for laughing at your pain, but that was fuuuuu-neeeee! From the message from your mother to your demand for dinner. I gave birth to my son by c-section and I was awake for it. During the operation the surgical staff kept asking me stuff about Canada mixed in with description of what they were doing to my body.
    *So how cold does it actualy get in winter, I’m slicing your uterus open now, and where is the best place to ski*.
    Wow. That was an experience!
    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Forte e gentile, tu sei abruzzese

  5. ARGHH! I get stressed going to that appt here! lol (well to any doctor actually) that is not something i look forward to one

    enjoyed reading about it though. HA
    Glad I could make you laugh!
    stacy’s last blog post..EUREKA!

  6. It’s the same here in France. And definitely weird for us American girls. I can’t imagine how the Italians and French just find it normal to disrobe in front of others! Just more of our Puritan upbringing, I guess.
    I remember when I lived in France a friend of mine had to have his wisdom teeth removed and he had to strip down and wear a hospital gown for it. We thought that was so funny.

  7. Oh that is sooo different to the UK, we get undressed behind a screen, get on the bed and cover ourselves up….You must of been cringing inside…..But I still found your story hilarious, laughing with you ..not at you 🙂 🙂
    We have a little screen in the US, too. Not four smiling eyes watching you.
    Anne’s last blog post..Paris with Friends……..

  8. Oh my! You went above and beyond, my dear. You deserve more than dinner. 😉
    I have so many funny ob/gyn stories I don’t know which to choose from. Perhaps the most bizarre when when I was in labour for my second child. I was in a regular hospital room and not in the delivery room because it was busy. I was surrounded by my hubby, doctors and mid-wife, huffing and puffing and pushing with all my might when in walks the cable guy. He asks me, “Do you need cable in your room?” I answered (mid-push) “No, I don’t think I need it right now. But thanks”
    Oh. My. God. That is unbelievable. Wow.
    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..“Your country is a joke.”

  9. Stephanie

    OMGosh Cherrye, I was laughing so hard while I was reading your experience that the girls (at work) came over and read it with me!!!!! Sounds like an experience Sarina had while she was in Sicily……she said there was no curtains between the patients in the ER.. no privacy what so ever.. Isn’t it wonderful to be a woman!!!!!
    I never cease to be amazed…

  10. Stephanie

    Wonder if you can bring your own little sheet?
    You are a genius. I think I’m gonna try that next time!

  11. j

    Ya, that’s right up there with a prostate exam, but I won’t even go there…pun intended.
    Ha! I almost spit on my keyboard. Yea … that is gross.

  12. What a great story! Thank you for sharing, Cheerye.
    Well, I don’t like to go to the doctor’s office, so I have quite a few stories. Mostly they are all of me passing out.
    A few years ago, I got a call from the emergency room telling me that my friend (who was supposed to meet me for lunch) was in a car accident and he was asking me to come and see him.
    I was a nervous wreck during the drive to the hospital. When I arrived, I walked in and I asked to see him. He was not seriously injured, but they still had him on a stretcher with something on his neck. The nurse told me to stand to the side and wait a few minutes before going over to see him. In that interim, I became pale, I sat down on the chair at the nurse’s station, and I keeled over and passed out. I tried to warn them, but they didn’t get it.
    A few minutes later, I came to, and I was on the floor looking up at all these nurses looking down at me.
    Next thing I knew, I was on a stretcher in a separate space away from my friend. They kept me there for a good 20 minutes until I had color in my face again.
    I finally got to walk over to see my friend, but I never said anything about what happened. He just asked me, “What took you so long to get here?”!
    Oh my. Your experience is worse than mine!!
    Jennifer Rafferty’s last blog post..Adventures in Sicily

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