Of all the men on the planet, it appears that nobody drives women crazy like the Italians. The mere thought of a trip to Italy seems to send most of my girlfriends into daydream overdrive, as they envision themselves succumbing to the charms of a tall, dark-haired Fellini hero. Personally, I remain skeptical. Something about these fellows’ 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 all their sentences?
And yet, 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 who seemed so quick to conquer women’s hearts. Here are a few of my observations, enriched with some stellar insight from an Italian girlfriend. Let’s take a look!
1. Italian men are dapper. Never have I ever seen men dress like this in my 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 impossible to understand who has time for all that pampering and laundering and ironing, until you find out that…
2. They are all mama’s boys. Similarly to to Jewish guys, Italian men never truly grow up. 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 resided on his own but still hadn’t gotten around to buying furniture, as he prefers to eat dinner at his mother’s. Oh, and guess who stands to replace Madre Dearest when they wed? On that note: “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,” says my Italian buddy.
3. They expect a lot from their women. This is not the place where “effortless” French gear will do. Every girl in Capri was groomed to an extent that I have previously only witnessed in 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. 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 (relatively) courteous. While we 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 giving us a tour of the city, 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. And, although we did manage to overcome that evening’s dramatics, his love for me faded the day 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”. Come think, that does sound molto bene.