Archive for the ‘Italian men’ Category

Spoilt for Choice


Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

A friend commented the other day on the number of male admirers I was attracting in the village. And do you know what? She has a point.

It therefore begs the question; why oh why am I still single?

So let us for a moment consider all my options, and then perhaps you can help me choose between them.

Admirer A gives me flowers from his garden and declares that I am the air that he breathes and his ‘fiore di Primavera’. He enjoys walks with his dog, digging for potatoes, and chain-smoking. Admirer A is married and very much the wrong side of sixty.

Admirer B is tall and rather handsome. Apparently he likes me very very very much, or so he tells me every time we meet on the street; in broken Italian, because Admirer B…

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I’ll Show You Mine


Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I have finally got myself a language exchange partner.

Sadly not the 6ft, raven-haired, dark-eyed hunk of unruly Italian masculinity that I had been hoping for; more a 4ft10, brown-haired, dark-eyed slip of Italian womanhood, but very welcome nevertheless. Especially in light of the fact that I seem to get away with conversing in Italian far more than she gets to practise her English.

Being single girls, and of roughly the same age, most of our conversations in both languages so far have been about boys. She has been giving me the low-down on Italian men – confirming most of what I had originally suspected, and I have been making stuff up about British ones.

Not having been anywhere near one since I was eighteen, my fictional Brit seems to have taken the middle ground somewhere between…

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They Seemingly Haven’t Noticed the Hill…


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

…that they are most certainly over.

It is a very particular sort of Italian male to whom I refer. The sort with whom you are happily conversing in a perfectly friendly but innocuous manner, when you suddenly realise that chit-chat about the weather has somehow metamorphosed into highly inappropriate sexual innuendo.

Now I am not a particularly sensitive soul when it comes to these matters: a bit of cross-purposes banter can make for a chucklesome exchange when the moment is right, but even when it isn’t, unwanted male attention is usually deflected fairly easily (when a newer toy girl is presented to them, for example – men are much like toddlers in that respect).

So why am I so offended by the very particular sort of Italian male mentioned above?

Well primarily it is because he is so far into his twilight years that I can’t make out his tail lights even with my glasses on – he could be my grandfather, and yet he is mentally stripping me.

Ick, ick and double ick.

After about six months in My Little Italian Village, I struck up what is still a strong friendship with an extended family who all live in my street. That we were great friends was no secret, which is why I was shocked into inaction when their eighty-six year old grandfather pinned me in a dark corner one evening, and had a very thorough grope of my right breast.

I pushed him away and walked off, but I found the experience a deeply shocking one – perhaps more shocking than if he had been closer to my own age.

I felt violated and I felt angry, yet I also felt strangely ashamed. Had my friendly chit-chat about the weather been construed as being a bit too friendly? Were my cultural differences causing me to give out misleading signals?

Logically I cannot imagine a culture where an eighty-six year old man is sexually attractive to a girl in her early thirties (unless, of course, he is filthy rich and she is particularly un-squeamish and greedy for the high life), but just to be sure, from that point on I kept a chillier distance when indulging in friendly chit-chat with any man of retirement age.

So my heart sank when one of the village elders tottered to the door of his cantina a few days ago and with an unmistakable sparkle in his rheumy eye, called me over. Before I could bid him good day and make my escape, my arm was grasped in his skinny old fingers and in a whisper he asked when I was going to “give it” to him.

Now if he had meant a fist right in the chops, I would have been more than happy to oblige…

This is Status Viatoris, apparently friendliness is close to sluttiness, in Italy. 

True Amore?


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Being someone who is fascinated by human nature in general, and cultural differences in particular, there are many aspects of the Italian psyche that have piqued my curiosity over the years.

Most especially, given the unrivalled reputation for romance the country holds, the attitude to love and relationships.

And Italy certainly seems to be a country that thrives on relationships – the necessity of being in one often seeming to override the need to actually be happy.

One only has to go out on a Saturday night to witness the profusion of girlfriends clinging like parasitic twins to miserable looking paramours or trailing pitifully around behind them as they do blokey stuff with their mates whilst attempting to pretend they’re single.

The concept of girl power appears to have been largely ignored: many youngsters will be a couple of years into a long-term relationship before they even finish their schooling and these young (and not so young) girlfriends show not even a glimmer of self-respect as they stalk their boyfriends from pillar to post in an attempt to ensure his fidelity.

Of course the boys are not much better; coercion not being an obvious factor in luring them into such claustrophobic love matches. Rather than grasping opportunities for the independence to explore and grow during their relative youth, they seem to inexplicably prefer often unsatisfying partnerships with girls they seem to care relatively little about; only to then expend huge amounts of energy on repeated attempts at infidelity.

It is all rather baffling.

Certainly the grand gestures are all to be found here if those are what one is interested in: metre-high declarations of love painted in public places, endless file pictures of kissing and hugging couples accompanied by cutesy messages all over social networking sites, a willingness to trip down the aisle… being single in Italy does seem to be something of a rarity, but are people truly happy?

Or does this almost pathological need to be part of a couple mean that many Italians settle for what they can get, as opposed to holding out for somebody who could actually make that vital difference in their lives.

For surely there is no shame in choosing solitude over the wrong partner? Being single is a wonderful opportunity to explore much of what life has to offer as well as getting to know oneself; the perfect recipe for being able to recognise and appreciate love when it does come to call.

This is Status Viatoris, who hates to generalise but honestly, italiani, what are you all so scared of?? in Italy.

The Emotionally Incapable Does it Again


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

It may have crossed some minds that the reason for my recent and shameful neglect of this blog could well be exciting new developments with L.I (a shady and mysterious being, previously referred to here and here).

And it pains me greatly to disappoint, but I fear that L.I must now be referred to under a fresh new moniker; N.R.I – as in Not Remotely Interested.

Because although he has shown himself to be Very Interested in the kudos of being fancied by the local kooky Brit, he has resolutely and niftily sidestepped every single opportunity to make good any of his promising utterances:

Come and drink wine in my campagna! (But it’ll have to be when hell freezes over)

I’ll take you for another ride on my motorbike! (A week come a fortnight next muck-spreading)

I’ll teach you how to dance the bachata! (That is if you don’t mind learning telepathically)

To be fair, all the signs were there; should I have cared to leap off my fluffy little cumulus to examine them more closely. The shaking heads and muttered utterances of certain locals – He’s all talk and no action, that one. Watch it, he has a habit of leading the ladies on. He’s a bit full of himself, are you sure you want to go there?

But on I ploughed in my usual kamikaze manner, determined to graciously bestow the benefit of the doubt and decide for myself; whilst at the same time eagerly lapping up the sporadic progress of our physical relationship coupled with his casual air of possessiveness and his semi-frequent displays of jealousy towards other males in the vicinity – for being metaphorically urinated on is surely the equivalent of being courted, no?

Until finally, reality dawned:

I have been pandering to a man’s ego, but making no inroad into his affections.

He is Not Remotely Interested.

It is time to move on.

For I most definitely lack the aggressive perseverance seemingly used by so many Italian women in their pursuit of the Italian man. The hunting and clinging technique employed by many of these ferocious creatures is beyond me, even though it may be precisely that which is expected by their male counterparts.

I am honest and open in my desires; game-playing has never been my thing. But if you are interested in me, you must meet me halfway; or simply carry on walking.

So perhaps an Italian romance is not to be my destiny.

Back to the drawing-board it is, then… 😉

This is Status Viatoris, happy to carry on treading Life’s lonely path with the most important boy in her life, in Italy!

The Emotionally Incapable Blunders On


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

One of the hardest things I have found about blogging is trying to decide where to draw the line on divulgence. Rather than a question of whether or not I should actually be baring my soul to such an extent, I am usually more concerned about boring my audience with personal details that are neither informative, amusing, interesting or applicable.

The key word in that sentence being “usually”.

Which brings us to my current dilemma: The Annoyance Inconvenience Complication I Could Well Do Without Love Interest.

I confess to being slightly nervous about allowing developments of this nature to play out in front of a wider audience (wider than just my usual circle of giggly girlfriends, I mean), but when I think about all the possibilities such a tale may entail…

Cultural – step by step instructions in how not to deal with intercontinental flirtation.

Sociological – why some 30-something women should really just take up knitting and leave romance to those more equipped for it.

Comic – observe how amusingly quickly an independent woman can lose her dignity when tiptoeing into the dating pool.

… I know that I simply cannot withhold such gems from the public arena – it is both a duty and a privilege to sacrifice my reputation as a sane and rational human being at the altar of a greater public good.

So, back to the Love Interest himself (who in the interests of anonymity, we shall call L.I):

Having made a firm promise to myself not to spend so much time in the pub, I went to the pub. But less so. L.I continued to materialise unfailing at my side on each occasion, and thus our hours and hours of chatting in front of a village audience feigning disinterest continued. And the next time he offered to take me (the 100m) home on his motorbike, I said yes, and was treated to a thrilling swoop round the village, out into the countryside and back again.

– Ladies and Gents (but especially Ladies); let me tell you that there is nothing quite so swoon-inducing as a man who invites you onto his throbbing machine, and then exhorts you to wrap your arms tightly around him so he can accelerate and make you squeal.

But having deposited me safely back home, he whooshed off into the night once again, leaving me un-kissed and none the wiser as to his wishes or intentions…

…until a week or so later, when he suggested I invite him up for coffee so he could teach me some bachata steps, as promised.

– Ladies and Gents; let me tell you, there is nothing quite so charming as a man who can persuade a stone-cold-sober, utterly rhythm-less woman who loathes slow dancing, to whirl round and round and round her apartment with him for two hours until she can barely remember why she ever danced alone. A man rendered even more charming by his utterly un-selfconscious wearing of loaned fluffy white slippers bedecked with red horns.

The evening ended with a passionate bacio, so at last, I was made privy to his wishes and intentions.

Or was I?

Because despite spending two further evenings glued to my side in the pub and a myriad of lingering glances in between, L.I still hasn’t called me. Admittedly he has said that work will be frenetic until the end of Easter (he provides a lot of the greenery for the services and processions), but the age-old doubts and insecurities have wasted no time in creeping in:

Have I read “the signs” all wrong?

Is he only after one thing?

Am I just setting myself up to get hurt (again)?

And most of all:

Why oh why couldn’t he have just kept on walking, and left this girl to wallow in her contented spinsterhood? I was doing just fine without you, Love Interest, how dare you waltz in and turn me back into an insecure, nervous, giggly schoolgirl?

This is Status Viatoris, a pox on all men who turn our lives upside-down without so much as a by your leave, in Italy – in fact anywhere at all for that matter!

Dating for the Emotionally Incapable


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Interesting fact courtesy of Kiwi friend: The word “spinster” referred to women who made their living by spinning wool. Women who married no longer needed to work, but those who never married, span forever… How nice.

Interesting question courtesy of North American friend: How do people in Europe “date”?

It was a question I struggled to answer, namely because I have never really “dated”. The patience required for such activities is beyond me; I want to skip right to the interesting part – no, not THAT part. The part where I find out whether or not the person could potentially be THE ONE.

Because if he’s not THE ONE, there are plenty more exciting things to do with my time; life is short and relationships for relationships’ sake are nothing but a whole lot of bother. Thus, lacking the necessary emotional wherewithal to let things develop in their own sweet time, I instead indulge in a lot of trying to squeeze the unlucky suitor into THE ONE shaped box.

Cue a hefty dose of manipulation with lashings of imagination and a sprinkle of self-delusion…

When I first saw him, my heart went bumpty bump – must be because he’s THE ONE.

There are zero fireworks, but he is kind and dependable and that is what grown-ups want in a relationship – he must be THE ONE.

We have discovered that we were in the same place at the same time five years ago. Can’t possibly be a coincidence – he must be THE ONE!

He’s not shallow and self-centred, he is deep and misunderstood. And nobody likes a challenge more than I do – he must be THE ONE.

I like classical music and living in the country, he likes nightclubs and bright lights. But opposites attract – he must be THE ONE.

There was nothing going on, but one night he had a starring role in one of my dreams – no doubt about it, he’s THE ONE!

But, surprising though it may seem given such promising “signs”, he turns out not to be THE ONE at all, and I am left with a box all bent out of shape and expectations to match.

Since arriving in Italy, that side of my life has been rather more straightforward; Albanians and Italians alike seem to be on the hunt for one thing, and one thing only. Slightly depressing, granted, but at least you know where you stand and can thus pick and choose accordingly.

But a few weeks ago, there was a development…

One night I went out with friends as usual, but this time there appeared at my side a man. I knew this man vaguely, so when he stayed at my side for six long hours I didn’t think a lot of it. Until it happened again the next time I went out, and then the next. Soon we had accumulated about 15 hours of talk-time, and he had started to intrigue me.

He talked about teaching me some dance moves (he’s heavily in to the whole Latino scene), he talked about me visiting him to drink wine in the campagna where he works cultivating ornamental plants, he even offered to take me (the 100m) home on his motorbike. Practically every opinion I hold garners the response ME TOO! and he has taken on the role of protector against the more obtuse”lonely” Albanians who follow me round and round the village like hopeful hyenas tracking an injured wildebeest.

And yet nothing… He has followed up none of his “suggestions” with a possible meeting time, nor has he used the telephone number he now has saved in his mobile phone.

I, on the other hand, have somehow managed to spend most of the last weeks in the pub just in order to enjoy his company. And enough is enough. Rather than trying to rush this to a definite conclusion so I can get on with something else – interested or not interested? THE ONE or not THE ONE? I am going to change the behaviour of a lifetime and simply step away.

I live here. He lives here.

Things can happen in their own sweet time, or not at all.

Either way, it is all good.

This is Status Viatoris, who, if a certain someone ever picks up the phone may be able one day to tell you all about how Italians “date”, isn’t growing-up fun! in Italy.

Painting the Town Rosso


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I must first apologise for the recent scarcity of posts. I’m on tenterhooks for various reasons, and tenterhooks appear to be an anathema to anything vaguely resembling literary inspiration.

I am also suffering from the delayed shock of having cleared out my French apartment. It was a psychological necessity; only by taking such a step can I truly tell myself that supercilious turd the French notary will one day free me from my Gallic real estate shackles. The downside? I’m now living in a sea of stuff. Stuff in bags. Stuff in boxes. Stuff in piles on chairs and on tables. Stuff I really have no recollection of having accumulated at all. in 2003, I moved to France with less than a Ford Fiesta’s worth of belongings – most of which were books. Now I am the bemused owner of at least four Fiat Punto’s worth, plus furniture.

It would appear that my claims of being a non-materialistic free-spirited nomad no longer hold quite the same ring of truth as they once did. I am now nothing if not all about the stuff…

But lugging boxes hasn’t been my sole activity since I got back to Italy; missing out on the all the Christmas and New Year festivities has required a hefty dose of socialising in order to catch up on lost brownie points. Boozy nights at the local bar, boozy nights at friends’ houses, boozy meals out… Slimming World would most certainly have my overstretched guts for garters if they caught a glimpse of such dietary debauchery.

One friend even managed to lure me down from the safety of the village for a night out in one of the fancy coastal towns. It proved to be an… ummm… interesting experience.

That most cutting edge of fashion garments – the shiny black bin liner puffer coat, was out in force to combat the chill factor. In fact a winter’s evening on Italian tiles does have a dark, almost funereal edge to it, with the girls rocking Mourner Chic and the boys strutting around à la Hip Undertaker. We felt like exotic birds of paradise; me glowing in groovy green and my friend resplendent in racy red. Not that it accorded us any pulling points, of course. For if there is one thing I have learnt about Italy, it’s that from a very early age being in a relationship is of paramount importance to Italians. A reasonably attractive Italian man of marriageable age tells you he’s single? Without even looking, just reach up and pluck the airborne porker as it flaps over your head. Trust me, it will be there.

So are all these young people really lucky enough to have found “The One”? I can only speculate, but when looking around that nightclub at the considerable number of miserable-looking men; skinny girlfriends and young wives hanging with limpet-like desperation from their necks, I know I was secretly drawing my own conclusions.

My advice to any foreign woman visiting an Italian nightclub? Take along some popcorn, sit back, and prepare to drool over gym-tightened muscles pulsating against designer togs, and artfully tousled hair showcasing features of chiselled perfection. And if such a specimen ambles over to you? Let him. Just try to remember that he almost certainly spends more time with the mirror than with a book, and the chances are, he will marry his childhood sweetheart. It’s safer that way… 😉

This is Status Viatoris, who feels much more at home with the muddy hunter/gardener/builder chic of her village, thank you very much! in Italy.

The Italian Stallion – Myth or Reality?


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

One of the primary exclamations that spring from the lips of every female friend and acquaintance upon discovering that I am living in Italy is, “Wow! You can hook yourself one of those gorgeous Italian men!”

I’ve actually been a little too busy even to bait my line, but that hasn’t stopped me visually clocking some of the heart-stoppingly attractive specimens of manhood that prowl the streets of this country.

However,  there are several factors that make me think that Italian men are not for me.


1) The majority are married. Although this is not something that they necessarily see as a barrier between them and a little romance, it certainly puts a dampener on my ardor.

A great deal of importance seems to be given to ‘settling down’ here, leading many men to the altar with their childhood sweethearts in their twenties. So they move from the parental home to the marital home without ever sowing their wild oats, or even truly experiencing life as independent human beings. Could this be a reason for their collectively wandering eye?

2) The majority suffer from appearance-related vanity. A definite pointer towards mutual incompatibility, as I have very little interest in fashion. As long as clothes are clean and vaguely suited to one’s body shape, then as far as I am concerned, they have served their purpose.

And yet image is the oxygen that many Italians breathe. It isn’t just the (sometimes frankly ridiculous) clothes, it’s also the fake tan, the overstated accessories and an unhealthy obsession with the gym. I would suspect that any man who spends more time in the bathroom than I do (unless of course he’s cleaning it), is going to find me as untantalizing a prospect as I find him.

3) The majority also have mothers. The Italian suocera (mother-in-law) is an utterly terrifying prospect for most Italian women, let alone us poor foreigners who are totally in ignorance of the diplomatic minefield that is familial relations in Italy.

A combination of maternal over-protectiveness and financial constraints, keep many Italian men living at home with la mamma until they marry. These mammoni (Mummy’s boys) are indoctrinated quite rightly believe that nothing can compare to amore materno, putting future spouses on an irreversible hiding to nothing before they have even chosen their bridesmaids.


Insomma (as the Italians would say), Italy can definitely boast multiple stable-fulls of impressive stallions, at least in dressage – I haven’t yet put one through his paces in other disciplines ;-). And I’m sure that there are exceptions to the stereotypes mentioned above, but for the moment I shall remain at a safe distance to avoid any risk of equine tramplement.

This is Status Viatoris, peeking out through her fingers but definitely not touching, in Italy.

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