Sexy Feast: La Vita e Bella Smells Like Teen Spirit of the Sexual Kind

la_vita_tiramisu_640_3193It had been about ten years since my last visit to La Vita e Bella in Belltown. Back then I ate pizza, which I recall being decent, though I don’t think it would compare to the quality of what you can find elsewhere in Seattle today. Especially if I judge by the other savory items I tried recently. Most of the dishes were okay, but nothing noteworthy and some verging toward bland.

The meal ended with a sampling of desserts. The mixed berry cake has a shortcrust pastry base, Chantilly cream, a layer of sponge cake, and a topping of mixed berries. The cannoli is a chocolate-coated pastry shell filled with a mix of ricotta, candied fruit, and chocolate. The tiramisu is, well, tiramisu–and the only dessert made in-house. All come plated with a generous dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

So what do La Vita e Bella’s desserts teach us about sex?

It’s all about teenage sexual angst, energy, and excitement.

About the time dessert arrived, the accordion player at La Vita e Bella began playing in the dining room. Staring at the powdered plates, I half-expected him to break into Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”

Coincidentally, I recently stumbled upon a website article listing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” as one of “The 7 Most Thinly Veiled Songs about Sex.” The list includes two other food-related songs: “Cherry Pie” and “Brown Sugar.” Many of the list’s songs reflect adolescent sexual discovery and pent-up sexual energy.

My list would have included nearly anything from the raw Get the Knack album. The songs, from “My Sharona” to “That’s What the Little Girls Do” to “Frustrated” were so powerful to this adolescent, even before I was sexually active or, seemingly, fully sexual aware. I had a hunch I knew what the “make my motor run” line (used in two songs) meant. As for “and she makes you want to scream; wishing you could get inside her pants” (okay, maybe that’s not so “thinly veiled,” especially as you get deeper into the “Good Girls Don’t” lyrics), I felt the desire, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d really find inside those pants.

Granted, we’ve come a long way since the Rolling Stones were asked to change “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” on The Ed Sullivan Show. In many ways, young people today are more street savvy about sex. These days, “sweet and innocent” Taylor Swift covers “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” while many songs are far more explicitly direct in expressing sexual desire.

That said, so many young people today are still sexually ignorant despite being sexually active. This often plays out in sexual anxiety.

As I sat on the “romantic” side of La Vita e Bella, I watched as streams of teens headed to the other side of the restaurant. It was a prom night. The young women struggled to look comfortable in their colorful gowns. Meanwhile the young men looked like they were dressing up for perhaps the first time in their lives, getting it mostly right–if wearing a baseball cap with a tuxedo is considered fashion.

I often say that senior prom, New Year’s Eve, and the first time having sex are three of the most overrated events in life. For many, two of these things happen during the same night. Watching the teens, I wondered how they were feeling about the night ahead. Especially for those starting with forgettable first times, I wish them all una vita sessuale bella.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on June 14, 2012.

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