The art of telling your very own Rome story


Stephen Lopke, Contributing Writer

“For flair, add the Mafia”– Joe Giallombardo’s memorable addition to the typical “Rome story.”
“For flair, add the Mafia”– Joe Giallombardo’s memorable addition to the typical “Rome story.”

On the fourth long weekend of the Rome semester, Alex Lemke and I took a trip to Prague. It was awesome. When we got off the train we did this really cool thing. No, not that thing, the other thing. Anyway, we went to this awesome bar. Not that Irish bar – the cool Hawaiian one. Lemke and I were drinking rum when we met this random guy who was Russian! Weird, huh? A Russian in Prague. That’s about as likely as finding a Californian in Texas! What are the odds? Anyway, we were drinking with him when he offered to introduce us to some other American he had met earlier. Gosh darn it, who would have known it was Cierra Houchins!

We had such a good time that we missed the bus back to our hostel and had to walk three miles. On our way back we ran into these cops who thought we were drug dealers, but they let us go. We got back late and realized that we had forgotten about a paper that was due the next day. We ended up staying up all night drinking rum out of water bottles with our shoes off. I still got an A-. I love Rome.

When you run out of conversation topics at the University of Dallas (having already covered the Iliad), your best bet is to tell a Rome story. If you didn’t go to Rome, you will not have this valuable tool for connecting with your future spouse. Luckily, as a “Nomer,” (non-Romer) I have twice as much experience listening to Rome stories and am willing to teach my fellow “Nomers” the science of telling a good Rome story. All Rome stories include at least one of the following:

1. Alcohol.

2. An exotic or sketch location.

3. Missed public transportation.

4. Random person. If you are a woman, he hits on you or your friends.

5. You or someone else breaking a school rule or foreign law.

6. Papers. Late, on time, it doesn’t matter – you’ll be up all night.

7. The Pope.

The best Rome stories include at least four or five of them. Make sure you get creative. For flair, add the Mafia. For detail, mention how much you hate spinach. As a rule, it is best to avoid pairing one and seven.

So, what’s the point? The point is that most Rome stories are hilariously predictable. A great experience or memory does not necessarily make a good story, especially if it has to be prefaced with: “You kind of had to be there …” Is the fact that most Rome stories are mediocre (from a storytelling perspective) enough of a reason to stop telling them? No, Rome stories are a great way to connect with other Romers who have had similar experiences.

Rome is an awesome experience – if you can go, go, but for those of you who didn’t go, don’t take it too hard. Make your own Rome stories to give the Romers a much-deserved teasing.

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