Great post, Rick!
For some reason, the most common searches that drive Googlers to my site involve “how to date an Italian.” Actually, many of the keywords that people enter into the search box are not appropriate for me to repeat. I consider my blog to be rated “R,” but apparently many of you (and you know who you are) are searching for “X-rated” material. Sorry to disappoint you.
However, I love reading the comments on these posts, which are often hilarious and occasionally quite insightful. A recent commenter from Australia managed to accomplish both, and I’ve been thinking about what she wrote ever since. On one level, I totally agreed with her, but there was something about her opinions that just didn’t quite square with my experiences. We’ll get to that in a second.
She didn’t mention her real name, and I wouldn’t reveal it anyway. The important thing is that she’s an Italian girl in her 30’s who has been living in Australia for 10 years, and she’s STILL trying to work out the rather large cultural gaps when it comes to dating, courtship, and social protocols in general. I feel her pain.
Her situation gives her a unique perspective that, in my opinion, is very instructive for foreign men in Italy hoping to “get lucky” with Italian girls. Pay attention, fellas, because we are doing it all wrong! Well, I already knew that we were doing it wrong, but this reader explains “how.”
I guess I should also point out that this discussion mostly includes Italian women with men from Australia, the U.S., U.K. Canada, and other “Anglo” countries, probably including Northern Europeans, as well. Men from other parts of Mediterranean Europe or South America might not struggle as much. At least that’s my take.
So what I’d like to do here is to present her comments, and then offer my observations in response. Without further ado, gentlemen (and curious ladies), I give you the reader known only as “Female G” from Perth.
How to Date an Italian Girl
Great post, Rick! Ci hai azzeccato in pieno!!!
I am an Italian woman in my late 30’s living in Australia. I immigrated here 10 years ago, and I must say that I totally agree with you. Physically, I am the typical good-looking Italian brunette girl with a curvy but toned body and a thin waist, which here looks quite exotic and appealing, I guess, amongst all these blondes.
So I am not wanting for attention, but the problem is that the courtship skills of the average Australian guy in his 30s are really superficial, compared to what Italian guys are willing to do to get into a woman’s pants!
And the laziness really shocks me. Some Australian, New Zealand, or American guys who live here are shamelessly capable of picking me up for a first date wearing flip-flops, a tank top, and beach shorts—and they look like a real ass when I arrive all dolled up, and then just leave them there like a mammalucco just after one drink.
An Italian man would NEVER do that!!!
I have come to the conclusion that it is not all their fault, though. I think that the average Australian girl will give them what they want very quickly, if they are interested in the guy in question. Therefore, as the guys don’t really have to practice how to “win” a woman, they are really clueless.
I have also met Italian guys here who have asked me if I could give them some clues as to how to “play” with Australian women, to which I asked, “What do you mean?” Then one of these Italian guys said, “Well, it is really no fun if the girl hands you her undies after the first few conversations.”
I have even tried to take matters into my own hands and try to “drive” the game from my side. But as soon as I try to be more aloof and elusive, the Aussie guy just loses interest, as his general laziness doesn’t allow him to plan ahead and enjoy the chase. So there is really no fun at all…
In the end, all men want the same thing everywhere in the world. But sex for Italians is more of a quest; a reward at the end of an erotic, hot, flirtatious innuendo. Instead, in Australia if you don’t give them sex within three dates, they might even stop texting you. They are lucky that they are tall and muscular, unlike Italian expats here. This is one thing Italian men should learn: get to the gym!
But actually, I do have a LOOONG term Italian partner. We emigrated together. But we are libertines, and we like to have fun with others occasionally. That’s why I have a comparison. I guess when searching a “sex friend” I can overlook the poor pick-up style. But I think if I was still searching for a life partner, I could not settle for an Aussie—I would definitely have to go back to find an Italian man (who goes to the gym, that is).
I hope that in the ten years that I have been away from Italy, the male attitude towards the gym has changed. When I was there, it was typical to hear unfit middle-aged men commenting about guys who made the effort to keep a toned body with, “Oh, that looks so gay!” (I guess that many women must be attracted to “gay men” then… LOL)
Enjoy life in The Penisola! I am loving life here in Perth; the ocean, the blue skies, the vast horizons. And since I arrived, the food culture has really improved. An Italian can really get by now—10 years ago I used to struggle to find crusty bread and a decent coffee. I miss my family, but I don’t think I will ever go back to Italy.
The (American) Male Response
Great stuff, right?!? I know that I learned a thing or two!
So here’s my rebuttal. First of all, I get it. She’s right; men from the U.S., U.K., Australia, etc. are really bad at the “game” that she craves. But she assumes that it’s because we’re lazy, which is incorrect. It’s actually because we find those types of games a bit silly, not to mention dishonest on some level.
Oh sure, we play those games, too, when we are in liceo (high school). But by the time we consider ourselves adults, most of us have outgrown them. It just seems like there are better things to do with our time and energy—like building a career or contributing to a functioning society. Most Italian men don’t seem as burdened by those concerns, for some reason.
I won’t get into the whole “mammoni” discussion, but it must be a lot easier to prolong your adolescent attitude and behavior if your society is enabling (encouraging!) you to do so. In the U.S., we’re taught to be self-reliant as soon as possible, often moving out of our parents’ house at age 18, never to return. Then there are bills to be paid and fortunes to be made, so who has time to play cat and mouse with every pretty girl?
Now we’re back to the cultural differences. What an American or Australian might call “childish” (a negative connotation), an Italian might call “child-like” (a positive connotation, implying something filled with wonder and closer to the essential human condition).
Yes, we Yanks and Aussies are more pragmatic, for better or worse. “You’re interested? Great, let’s get to it. You’re not? That’s fine, too—then move along, sugar-britches. I’ve got to get to work (and after that, I’m off to the gym, by the way.)”
Which reminds me, her “gym = gay” comment is insightful, too, because I’ve heard American women make similar remarks about Italian men, except in that case it’s usually something like, “Giovanni spends SO much time grooming and waxing and choosing his outfit…I think he might be gay! He spends more time in front of the mirror than I do!”
Which would be considered “normal” for an Italian man, so it’s no surprise that she’s shocked when her Australian date shows up in shorts and flip-flops. I guess for an American or Australian, “normal” for man is rough and careless and…masculine. Excessive attention to clothes and grooming and accessories are considered feminine qualities in our countries. Well, I’m generalizing, but I have heard more than one American woman say, “How can I possibly date Franco? He carries a more expensive handbag than me!”
Logically, I guess I can see both sides of this argument. In fact, there are times when I wish I could be more “Italian” in my attitudes and behavior. But what we truly feel–what we truly are–is heavily influenced by our cultural indoctrination and life experiences. What an Italian might call “a fun game,” an Australian or American might simply find boring and annoying. So it’s not that we can’t learn to play the game…it’s just that it’s not very interesting to us. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose.
However, Female G made one comment which I absolutely cannot let pass without calling out “Bullshit!” She’s obviously been away from Italy for way too long if she thinks that an Italian can “get by” on the food offered outside of The Peninsula.
In fact, this statement alone might discredit her entire argument about dating and sex. One appetite is not so different from the other, after all. How can she be satisfied by one and not the other? Ha, ha…