Of all the men out there, it appears that nobody drives women crazier than the Italians. The mere thought of them seems to send most of my girlfriends into overdrive, envisioning themselves in their own private Fellini films, falling charm to a tall, dark-haired Marcello. Personally, I remain skeptical. Something about these fellows’ seductive charm and overly confident attitude makes me mistrust them, not to mention that the lyrical falsetto makes it impossible to understand anything they are attempting to say. Why do they have to sing out all their sentences?
However, during a recent trip to Capri, I found myself curiously analyzing the crowds of Italian bourgeoisie over my daily spritz at the piazzetta. Everybody seemed so relaxed and excited and happy, lacking the judgement and the pretentiousness of the French.. And the women were glowing – not just from the Mediterranean sun, but from the obvious attention they were getting from the men! I began growing more intrigued by the handsome species that seemed so quick to conquer women’s hearts. And so, I put together my observations, enlisting the help of an Italian girlfriend for some insider insight on what these men are really like. Let’s take a look at the consensus.
1. Italian men are quite dapper. I have never seen men dress like this in my entire life. White jeans, perfectly pressed shirts, crispy pastel blazers, pocket squares… And they smell fantastic, like they all bathed in a tub of Acqua di Gio! It’s difficult to picture who in God’s name has time for all that pampering and laundering and ironing, until you find out that…
2. They are all mama’s boys. Meaning that, from the time they are small children, everything is done by their mothers. My own Italian experience involves a Roman dentist named Mario who lived with his parents until the age of 30, three years after they had purchased him his own apartment. (Presumably to get rid of him.) At 34, he finally resides on his own, but still hadn’t gotten around to buying furniture, as he prefers to eat dinner at his mother’s. “Don’t contradict anything they say about their moms”, ads my friend. Basically, if you’ve ever dated a Jewish guy, you should be ok.
3. They expect a lot from their women. Again, let’s listen to the native here: “They need taking care of – you must remind them of their mom. If you can’t cook (like me), never tell them that. Pretend you do and just order takeaway.” In fact, they seem to expect a certain level of effort in all departments. Every girl in Capri was groomed to an extent that I have previously only seen in my native Russia – think full makeup, off-the-runway Dolce, and torture via stilettos on cobblestones. On the flip side, all that pampering doesn’t go to waste – you can see the appreciation in the men’s looks. My friend, a fellow NYC expat living in France, puts it this way: “When I come to Italy, I remember that I am a woman.”
4. They love to eat and expect you to do the same. (+10000 points!) “Don’t go on a date saying you’re not hungry or you don’t drink. You will lose so many points in that. Drink – Italian men love their wine!”, says my friend. So do I! Maybe there’s a future here.
5. They are quite courteous. While we generally failed on the Capri dating scene, my girlfriend did manage to have an experience in Napoli with a lovely police officer names Giuseppe. Giuseppe could only speak English via Google Translator, yet this did not stop him from hanging out with us twice, taking us out for lunch, and driving us to the airport on our last day. Find me a French man who would do that, and I will find you a monkey that can play Tchaikovsky. On the accordion. Without hands.
6. They are very passionate..bullshit artists. “They will tell you the most incredible stories about themselves.. They save planets…Children…Old ladies… Just to win your heart and get you into bed.” Indeed, an hour after professing his undying love for me, Mario the dentist tried to hit on my 22-year-old friend. Although we got through that evening’s dramatics, his love for me faded about a day after I left Rome. (Since I wasn’t that heartbroken, I still occasionally send him my dental X-rays for second opinion.)
7. They aren’t that loyal. I recently witnessed one of my girlfriends get swept off her feet by an Italian guy, resulting in some very entertaining vacation adventures. The only glitch? Her Don Juan happened to be engaged, something my friend found out via Facebook an hour after they had bid arrivederci. She wasn’t even stalking him – he had volunteered his information to “keep in touch”.
But, apparently, “if you get the right one, they’re the most incredible men in the world”. They will love you to pieces, shower you with attention, and give you beautiful dark-haired children, resulting in a “perfect Loro Piana family”. Personally, this doesn’t sound half bad at all.