By Melinda Gallo

After flying back to Italy from the US, my husband and I decided to spend the night at his parent’s house because we were too exhausted to drive to our apartment downtown.

Because one of my suitcases never made the connecting flight, I didn’t have any of my own things. My husband lent me a pair of his pajamas to wear and we went straight to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, I was feeling groggy from jet lag. My husband suggested that I take a shower to wake up, so he told me that he’d get everything I need for my shower in his parent’s bathroom.

I walked into their bathroom and jumped in the shower when the water was hot. When I opened the shower door afterwards, I couldn’t find a bath towel hanging anywhere. I spotted a small hand towel and considered drying off with it, but couldn’t bring myself to use it because it looked like it had already been used.

I stood on the shower mat dripping wet, beginning to get cold, trying to come up with another solution. I didn’t want to yell out to my husband to get me a towel because he wouldn’t have been able to hear me in the kitchen.

As a last resort, I decided to dry myself off with his pajamas instead. Luckily, my husband had handed me an accappatoio
(bathrobe) before taking my shower, so I walked out of the bathroom wearing it and holding my now wet pajamas.

I flung the accappatoio on the bed and started getting dressed. My husband scooped up the accappatoio and was about to hang it up when he said, “How come the accappatoio is dry?”

“Why would it be wet?” I asked.

“Didn’t you use it to dry yourself off?” he said, patting it between his hands.

I told him that he forgot to put a bath towel in the bathroom for me, so I had to use his pajamas to dry myself off. He told me that the accappatoio was my bath towel and showed me how to dry myself off by putting it on and using it like a towel.

I had only ever worn an accappatoio in luxurious hotels after washing up and never knew it could be used as a bath towel. As a result, I got my own accappatoio a few days later. I find it even more practical than a bath towel: I can dry off quickly while keeping warm and cover up at the same time when I exit the bathroom.

You can read more about Melinda’s adventures in Italy in her blog Living in Florence

Enjoyed this? Read more stories of cross-cultural encounters from My Partner is a Foreigner.

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