27 - Posteggia

Episode XXVII


(pos – TAY – ja)

The original, elegant meaning of this word identified a band of musicians who played in the streets for the pleasure of passersby, or in pubs and restaurants for the customers; they were also often hired by lovers to play serenades under the balconies of their beloved. Nowadays, the term has entered youth slang referring to the act of wooing girls in the streets, often with explicit comments and vulgar remarks.

The noble art of posteggia is an old one: the term comes from the word posto, meaning “place”, to indicate that the band of musicians would stay in one place and play their music. The band could be made from four or five players, or even as few as two or even one: usually, in this case, the musician would play a stringed instrument like guitar or mandolino and sing along.

Postegge are frequently seen in restaurants for the “delight” of customers: often, however, they’re taken more as nuisances rather than a pleasure for customers, who simply want to eat and have a chat without being bothered. They are instead highly prized by tourists, who (correctly) see them as characteristic pieces of neapolitan folklore.

As stated in the post-it, though, the term has assumed a derogatory valence nowadays: ‘a pusteggia is something that boys do while strolling in the street when they cross pretty girls, trying to appeal to them. They often make loud comments and appreciations on her looks, or tell her oscenities to exhibit their machism. Many girls do indeed appreciate this kind of attentions. O tempora, o mores.




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