On Saturday, as some of you may already know from social media, I went to a Canadian Women in Italy meeting in Verona. There were almost 15 of us Canadian women, all varying in ages and hair color and eye color with a myriad of personalities, but we all had one thing in common…once upon a time, each and every one of us fell for an Italian boy and moved to Italy. For whatever reason, this really struck a chord in me. I’ve always pondered these statistics as I have at least 10 close friends and maybe 10 more acquaintances in Bergamo alone who are foreign women with Italian boyfriends or husbands, but I think seeing all these Canadian women in one room exchanging “how we met” stories (stay tuned on Love Stories, some of them will be featured!) is what really got me thinking…
Why do so many of us non-Italians fall in love with Italian men?
As any good blogger does, I decided to do extensive research by asking everyone I know and I’ve come up with a list of what I’ve collected so far. I did a similar, though not as exhaustive post awhile back called The Appeal of Italian Men, so make sure to give that a quick read as well!
1. HOTNESS. Let’s start off really superficially everyone, Italian boys are ON AVERAGE really hot in a universally-appealing kind of way. Italians are like a pair of nude Manolo Blahnik stilettos, they might not be your style but you can’t deny that they are a sexy classic. That’s all there is to it. Because of genetics, most of our boyfriends/husbands (whenever I refer to “us/our” in this post, I’m referring to me and my expat girlfriends) have a certain look that throughout history and media and books and even freaking fairy tales (hello Prince Eric!), has been regarded as attractive. Strong bone structure, noses (love or hate them), perfect teeth without ever having braces (someone explain this sorcery to me!) and facial hair on point are just the start of things. We think the eyes are the windows to the soul and Italians are the best example. Whatever color they are – from dark to bright blue, they are always framed by long lashes and somehow unusually expressive, like you can always see what they’re feeling...or maybe they just want you to see it.
2. CHIVALRY. This is HUGE. In North America and in many other Anglo-Saxon countries, we’ve grown up with men who seem to have lost their gentlemanly habits. Italians are like America’s version of a Southern Gentleman (do these still exist by the way?). If you’ve been out on a date in North America, you’ve probably paid your way at least once. Then you have a 50/50 chance that a boy will hold the car door open for you, let you walk in front of him to enter a room first, walk near the curb, give you his arm or his coat. Italy still respects its traditionalist upbringing. This can be a good and bad thing, good because all of these habits still exist here but bad because so do traditional gender roles. So while your man may give you his arm, as the woman, you’re often expected to give him perfectly starched and ironed shirts in return. It’s this gentlemanly stuff that really gets me especially because we’re not used to it and when it happens, it leaves you in complete and utter shock followed by immediate infatuation. Even at work, my male colleagues will always hold the doors open and it’s just the sweetest thing. *cue music...ooooo the sweetest thing!*
*UPDATE*: As if the universe knew I put this post out there, the same day while leaving work, my (male) colleague pulled up to me with his car, rolled the window down and insisted he give me a ride to my car. Let's emphasize here that from my office building to my car was something like 100 meters. "It's cold and dark" was his excuse and with that I hopped in and he drove me literally TO MY CAR DOOR. I LOVE IT. LOVE IT.
3. SENSITIVITY. Italian men are sensitive, or more than that, they are much more “in touch” with their emotions and know how to IDENTIFY and EXPRESS them. If they are moved by something, you’ll see it, they rarely hide it. In Italy, you can still be a man and feel something, it’s not looked down upon like it might be in other countries. I’ve seen my husband and countless other Italian men in our social circle tear up and they don’t judge each other for it.
4. PASSION. This ties into the point above. We find Italian men to be extremely passionate about EVERYTHING THAT MEANS SOMETHING TO THEM. Whether it’s soccer or a girl, if it’s something that they love, they love it hard. Have you ever seen an Italian at a soccer game? There is yelling and screaming and swearing and ecstasy and crying and moans and groans. It’s passion in its purest form and to be honest, sorry for the TMI, a huge turn-on. It’s extremely sexy to see a population so dedicated to something and we all know that if there’s that much passion in a stadium or at a bar, well, it’s probably going to be in other places (wink, wink) as well! I'm so naughty!
5. FAMILY MEN. Italians love families and children are doted upon to an excess in Italy. This point can also be a defect depending on how you look at it and certainly many a foreign woman has had issues with an Italian boy because of his attachment to his family and in particular, his mother. Personally, I appreciate this quality because in the end, it’s thanks to mothers (and fathers) that Italians are taught how to behave with a woman and the importance of women as a figurehead in the family is always emphasized. Nothing gets the ovaries going more than visiting the maternity department in an Italian hospital and seeing all the new fathers with babies (although maybe this is just a universal fact, not restricted to Italy!).
6. DRIVING SKILLS. I don’t know about you ladies, but one of the reasons I love the Fast and Furious series is because sexy men driving fast cars is extremely appealing. Not sure why that is, maybe because it’s so stereotypically masculine. In Canada, if a boy picked me up and drove manual, it was a miracle and I would automatically give him extra points. In Italy, THEY ALL DRIVE MANUAL. I’m actually immune to the sexiness factor in this now, but before, I used to think that a boy driving stick-shift was super hot. It’s just in the grip or the hand or something. What also amps it up is that Italian men tend to go fast which gets your adrenaline pumping and they are extremely talented drivers. Something about these skills is sexy. Have you ever sat shotgun to an Italian boy while he parallel parks in the smallest space possible leaving 1mm of space between the cars? Well then you know what I mean.
7. CULTURED. As if the previous six points weren’t enough, your average Italian boy comes as across as cultured compared to your average American boy. This is due to the education system as well as the Italian culture in general. I remember being completely impressed when my husband would tell me about different Italian wines on any given wine list, or when he would quote Dante or tell me about Ancient Rome. This is solely because they focus quite extensively on history and literature in school and then that ingrained, innate knowledge about food and wine is what makes them experts at romantic “wining and dining”!
8. STYLE. They know how to dress. It's something they are brought up with and don't overly think about. Some do, of course, but most just know how to dress for their bodies and they care about being well-groomed. My husband gets his eyebrows done and this is merely so that he doesn't go around looking like Frida Kahlo's long-lost brother. I'm not talking about extremes here, just general personal grooming so that the hair/facial hair game is strong.
So basically my inference based on the above qualities also leads to the reason why there are not as many Italian women with foreign men. Why go out for a hamburger when you can have filet mignon at home? Yes, I just compared Italian men to filet mignon.
If you have any other things to add or if you agree or disagree, would love to hear from you so leave a comment or interact on the Facebook blog page.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at these ones:
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Can Men and Women Be Friends? Here's How My Italian Colleagues Responded
Dating Diversity: Italy vs. Canada (and North America)
Cross-Cultural Dating: My First Jaw-Drop Moment with an Italian
Italian Men: The Unofficial Guide for Wives and Girlfriends
How to Snag (and Keep) an Italian Man
Asians and Italians…The Perfect Cross-Cultural Cocktail?
How to Date an Italian Man or Woman (From The Iceberg Project)
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