Bumping into my friend's acquaintances

One thing that happens quite often in Italy that I haven't really understood is that when I'm walking with a friend, especially a male friend, and we meet another male friend, there are no introductions. It sometimes happens with female friends too, but a little less often. I stand behind my friend and try to look like I belong, but I often feel uncomfortable because no one acknowledges my presence.

My friend and I were walking in his neighborhood today and we bumped into a guy that he knows. After my friend said hello to the guy, I said, "Ciao." The guy looked at me a few times, but never said anything. This other guy was standing with an Italian woman too, so I know it's not because I'm a straniera (foreigner). The other woman and I both stood there while the two guys talked. She kept on smiling while I started to just look around. I didn't really want to pay attention to the conversation as for me it's worse to try to fit in to the conversation when I know they aren't talking to me.

After about five minutes of this, I heard the conversation come to an end. I was happy and looked back at the other guy to say my final word, "Ciao."

This happens so often that I take no offense any more. When I was with my first Florentine boyfriend in 1997, I found it incredibly rude not to introduce me to his friends. But years later, I realize it's just what men seem to do. I kind of wonder if it has something to do with men trying to fare il galletto or as we say in Florence fare il ganzo, (to be gallant with the ladies).

At any rate, I figure it must be a compliment in some twisted way because if I looked like I could be his sister, aunt, or sister, I'd probably be introduced right away.

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