May 11


How to Date an Italian Girl

By Rick

May 11, 2016

“How to date an Italian,” for some reason, is the most common search that drive Googlers to my site.  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.

italian girlShe 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.”

“We have gone to make love… we will reopen at 6pm. (We last a long time.)”

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.)”

red pants
Red pants?

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.sophia_loren

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.

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About the author

Living in the Caput Mundi and trying to decipher Italian culture for the English speaking world.

  • Are you serious?
    Ok…I’m an italian girl and I’ll tell you that:
    1) I live to feel happy and satisfied, not to make money…money is just a tool.
    2) ….it’s not funny your way, I mean….in that case a sex toy is way more convenient….why to waste time with even just for going out?…the fun is the shiver of a whispered word, is to look in his eyes and knowing that he wants me every day more….it’s to feel more and more excited and almost loosing my mind….
    To just have sex like animal is not fulfilling.
    (By the way…I have some american friends…and they’re totally clueless, it’s not like they don’t want to “play”…when they try to pick up a girl they’re rude or they use an approach that maybe it could go for a high School girl. I’m sorry for them, but it’s kinda funny to watch).

    • //it’s not funny your way, I mean….in that case a sex toy is way more convenient//

      That’s your way. As Rick has mentioned in this article, most men from most countries who look for a long term partner (not a one night stand), don’t like to play ball games as you describe here. If you can’t be straight and the guy hangs around you with hope, it shows that he gives away a lot of his time, value, and energy to a woman that he can’t be sure of getting.

  • I’m a tall, well built, slightly overweight and hairy 30 something UK Englishman. I am whiter than sour cream. I am square jawed and rugged. And damn proud of it. I dress well. I am polite, and I’m told I’m considered attractive. I definitely don’t bother with the gym. I occasionally run solely for the good of my heart. Not to look like some self absorbed loser.
    So here’s my point: I genuinely, positively couldn’t care less about what others think. I don’t even bother looking for extremely attractive women, because I have found through long experience that they’re *almost* all vain and vacous in the extreme. Play games? Woo me? Take me to dinner? Pff. No thanks. I’ll find me a real woman with an actual fun, down to earth personality who likes men who are direct and unsubtle. If they’re slightly imperfect (as many people are, including myself), then so much the better. We’ll go for a dann good night out and have bags of fun together.
    As for the Italian girl living in Australia: A libertine, eh? Shame on you. I’d see someone like you and shake my head as I passed you. Pathetic. Real men stick with their women. And vice versa.
    You carry on looking for mugs to play your little games. You’ll be looking for a long while!

    • Man, that Italian is is not even a girl. She’s a cougar, SMH, and she appears to be thinking that she’d attract guys like a 20 something girl LOL

  • Game? Why is being interested in what a woman says instead of just what she looks like a game? Is getting to know someone “a chase,” conversation you must endure before potential sex? Anglo men are Neanderthals. But Italian men aren’t sitting around beautiful women discussing Dante, either.

    • Dress right, smell right and use charm John. Yes go to the damn gym. 70% of American men are overweight with half of them being obese. Italian men are getting that way also. Relax and not be in a hurry. Hey she might invite you to her place for a great home made Italian dinner.

  • Americans men are slobs. They are fat and dress like the homeless even if they have money. They did not used to be this way. I see pictures of my father in his white panama suit and he looked like a movie star. Somewhere we lost the way and became slobs. American women the same. I see my mother in those pictures and she was gorgeous. Today they dress like pigs and look like pigs.

  • I’m perhaps a bit older than most of you. I’m swedish-italian, born and living in Sweden. I was young in the first half of the 70ies, and spent my day In a swedish post-hippie society.

    It was interesting to read the both posts; writtened by the italian woman and by the american man. Well, there’re some differences. But, I think we do things in the same way all around the world. The cat-and-mouse-game excists overall, and I think it depends on a lot of things. Even the one-night-stand-procedure in discoteques etc is more or less the same in the whole world.

    But there’s one thing I don’t agree with the american man (he may correct me). In Sweden tells stories (at least back in the days) about the ”complicated” american dating routines. A mixture of upper class behaviours and latin well-educated courtship – and we wondered if american guys had to ask the girl’s father of her hand.

    • I guess it depends how much you focus on the details. Of course, all humans are basically the same, but the subtle nuances of “appropriate” dating protocols vary quite a bit, as far as I’ve seen. At least between Italy and the US. I’m not sure about Sweden, as I’ve never been there or had a close friend who is Swedish.

      • I think we are more like Americans as you describe them. But in the same time we in a way are unsure how to do (not only in dating), so we look how Americans, Italians etc do and take it for sure. So, “back-in-the-days” there were people who wanted to date in the American way…

      • I would like to add that this game the “L’italiana in Australia” talks about, is also present in Sweden among Swedes, although we are ready and willing to be modern.

        I think much of that game is old and genetic and has many explanations.

        Then it can be smaller or bigger differences between countries because of culture and traditions etc.
        And that can create misunderstanding because one do not understand the codes.

        Well, to be sincere, I cannot handle that game…

          • Eh..? I’m not sure that Swedish women in great numbers date muslims and black immigrants.

            But well, it happens as in other countries. Sweden is a modern society (and highly secularized) where women can do their own choice. I think that most of young muslims not are hard core religious, so that they are muslims doesn’t involves a problem.
            It can also happens that Swedish guys date muslim and/or black women from round the world.

            Is that a problem for you?

  • Hello. I am an Italian woman and I totally disagree with the girl mentioned in the article. I would NEVER marry an Italian man, because they are arrogant, mommy boys, self-centred, edonistic and vain. I choosed a Russian husband, I would have married also a German or an Anglo-saxon but never an Italian man. What she describes as “plus” of Italian men for me are defects.

    I agree only with one thing: I prefer when gender roles are distinct. I like my man to masculine and to protect me and I would dress well, smell good and feed him, but that’s all. No stupid games. An adult woman knows that serious men have better to do than playing Don Juan with all cities around.

    • Kudos to you. A real woman or a real man doesn’t play games. Just simply say you like it or not.

      The type of woman that Italian in Australia may fit for a one night stand but nothing more.

  • Oh my, I’m loving this “chat” – as a more “mature” female (ahem) who lives in a “beach town” in California where most of the population wears flip flops, shorts, gym clothes, etc. just about everywhere, I crave being back in Italy where there is a sense of “appropriateness”. As far as “dating” the men here are so damn spoiled it’s ridiculous – they don’t have to try very hard, not only in appearance but just in being interesting, or showing any interest or attentiveness since women pursue them like…well, never mind! They’re so used to being approached… and let’s not talk about “age appropriate”, shall we?

    • Age appropriateness! Wow, that is another topic for this blog!

      Hahaha… Dear Victoria, nowhere else will you find more age-non-appropriate sexual behaviour than in Italy! Lol… 🙂 And seldom it is the older woman / younger man kind… Almost only the opposite,and the men feel entitled to court women who could be their daughters, granddaughters even…

      Everyone was so shocked about the latest Bond movie where Daniel Craig has a liaison with Monica Bellucci (shocked because she is a more mature lady) when in fact she is in the same age range as him!!! :\… The two of them on screen together should not surprise anyone, instead when they show men with women 20 years their junior nobody flinches…

      I think nobody ever remembers that (regardless of who is the male /female) although a 20-40 yo duo can look hot on many levels, a 45-65 duo is fairly unbalanced in terms of the health and life expectancy… And a 50-70 might in some cases look like a “badante” with their patient Haha…

      But yes, the bad italian boys will be definitely at least dressed appropriately lol…

  • Rick love your post and it looks like it stirred up a great debate and discussion. I haven’t dated for a very long time but it took an Italian man to get my attention, never really had a serious boyfriend in Australia, just found myself collecting male friends which was great fun but not when you are looking for serious commitment. I am constantly frustrated by the cultural differences since moving here in the early 2000’s. I miss not having male friends and life here in Italy seems to separate the sexes. Surely there could be a comfortable balance from the two extremes. Nobody likes lazy Ozzie guys or overly aggressive Italian ones. You are a very brave man to tackle this topic. I’ve been out of the dating scene for so long, I’d be reluctant to comment. Great job!

    • Thanks Rochelle, that’s something that nobody brought up yet: the “separation” of the sexes. It’s not as noticeable in Rome, but I can imagine that it’s definitely a thing in Sicily.

  • Interesting and fun read, Rick and Female- G. While I’m not on the market for an Italian girl, I did date one once and she was actually quite aggressive (though I met her in Florida in college and at that point she was certainly more Italian-American even though she was born in Sardinia).

    I’ve been married to an Aussie for 11 years and lived in Melbourne, Australia for a year. The food there is actually REALLY good (generally), largely thanks to Italian, Greek, other immigrants who like food with flavor and a commitment to higher quality food than average American standards. We visited Melbourne from Boston again in February and I was reminded that the quality of life down under is a little better than here. Better housing and quality food is more affordable in Melbourne compared to Boston.

    Anyways, again, I enjoyed reading the different cultural perspectives here!

    • Alex, thanks for the perspective from someone who has seen this discussion from different angles. Also good to hear about the food quality from an American. I’ve always wanted to visit Australia but I admit to being off by the distance. What a flight it must be! You eat lunch, watch two movies, take a nap, watch two more movies, eat dinner… and you still have like 9 hours to go!

  • Very funny article. Not sure where she is finding her dates that turn up in flip flops but as an Australian girl I would walk out to!

      • Perth is very much a beach location… So yes… Precisely, many coffees on the coast in Perth… Still… Put some damn shoes on… Lol…

    • Well, I don’t go to pick up men in pubs, so I find them online, and like everything you find or buy online, you can be pleasantly surprised to find some great treasures but also some amazingly dodgy discovers… Lol…

    • Hmmm… yes, I think you’ve touched on something, namely the definition of “high-maintenance” across cultures. I guess I can see both perspectives on that, but as always, it boils down to the two individuals in question.

  • This made me laugh, great post Rick! I agree with her in the sense that if a guy makes absolutely NO effort in how he looks yet wants a bombshell in return, well that doesn’t seem fair. Plus it’s as easy to dress nice as it is to look like shit (my opinion of course). I think that Italians age so well, its remarkable really and largely its based to a good diet, eating meals instead of snacks and caring more about that sort of thing, but of course, that does not a man make. As you pointed out so many guys look the part but do they even want to have a stable family etc?

    I married a French guy as you know which brings about a whole bunch of stereotypes but what worked with us was fundamental life values and a general sense of fun and pace of lifestyle, I couldn’t imagine being with a ‘polar opposite’. A lot of my friends here who are dating in Florence are struggling with finding Italian guys with well, life experience for their age (early to late 30’s). You should see what they tell me about Tinder lol. However I love that in Italy you can innocently flirt, with both parties knowing that it is nothing more, It’s not such a black and white culture as you see elsewhere.

    What I personally like about the anglo sense of dating is well, dating. Seeing more than one person at a time and not rushing into a relationship, while as here in my 10 years in Italy, most of my Italian friends just sort of get with their friends, wouldn’t really date more than one person at a time and settle quicker. So i suppose it’s just who you meet. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s true. We bring our sensibilities with us… and while we have to “adapt” to our expat homes to some degree, it should never be at the expense of losing ourselves. In your case, you’ve had a well-rounded view of US, Italian, and general European culture… and so has Nico, so you both entered into your relationship experienced and well-informed. I think it can be the ones who arrive looking for something that may or may not represent “reality” that are disappointed in the end.

  • Great reply Rick!

    I agree with a lot of what you wrote in your response, and I can add the following points so that we can share some more laughs :-):

    1. Child-like is a great way to describe what I meant! Very well said! It IS a game, the most fun of all, and the old poets used to describe how the “desiderio del desiderio”, or the craving of the desired object, is stronger than the attainment of the object of your desire… But I agree with you, if she is not interested, move on, don’t turn into a stalker, go and have a life. Italians love this game so much that they often can’t keep it in their pants even after they have tied the knot, and sometimes they are insistent wih their prey even when there is no hope… lol… (Kidding, sort of)… Haha.

    2. Relentless, resilient and focussed I would say are three good adjective to describe the Italian male hunting strategies (also good to describe a stalker lol). The Aussie hunting strategy sometimes reminds me more of a domestic cat’s: “is the mouse dead and ready to eat yet? No? Do you mean I have to catch it first? Really? Oh hang on, there is a dead over there, then I am gunna find someone who can scratch my belly…”

    2. Now, I have been away for a long time, but the waxing, cologne infused, overly groomed dude you are describing sounds like a “tamarro” (here we have the “bogans”, they look different, but the concept is the same, don’t use them as an example lol they are a funny “subculture”)…
    I was referring to the understared italian elegance. Like keeping a decent haircut (some guys here still wear the mullet O.M.G), wearing a T-shirt or shirt or anything that covers your armpits hair), a nice pair of denim, clean shoes, deodorant and a touch of aftershave (cause deodorants are NOT a substitute for showering, but having had a shower two hours earlier does NOT save you from sweat stench when you are nervous at a date lol). The above shows a minimum of effort towards someone who is interest in having sex with you (because I do make the first move). And moshoesn would do that, but trust me, I have gone for a coffee date with men with tertiary education and a good career,showing up groomed in a way that does not classify…

    3. Australian food culture is NOTHING like what it is in England, America or Canada (have relatives who are married to both Americans and Canadians), as we have an amazing blend of culinary influences. There are more food TV programmes here than at home, and if you are a chef you are adored like a rock star!!! Lol… So, an Italian “mammone” who only likes his mamma’s food would not get by, but someone who enjoys broadening their horizons and a variety of exotic flavours (both in bed and on the plate) can definitely get by downunder these days! Lol… Maybe you should visit ;-)…

    Thank you for this post, I feel honoured that you have found my comment interesting enough to do so!

    Good luck!

    • Well, it really SUCKS when a reader is more insightful and entertaining than me! On my own blog!! (And I’m glad that it was you, not me, that drew the parallel to stalkers.) Thanks so much for the inspiration, and yes, I might just have to venture “down under” one of these days. Sound like a nice mix of cultures. 😉

      • Lol… Don’t be ridiculous… The thing that SUCKS the most here is my typos…. Damn keyboard keeps switching between Italian and English…

        Talking about sucking stuff… This morning I just taught an English speaking colleague how we say “hicky” (=succhiotto=”big sucking”) in Italian, and she was surprised that we refer to the sucktion at all, untill another French speaking colleague said they use the same in French…. And of course we soon ended up doing a three-some-dictionary-cross-translation of other “sucking activities”… Lol… That was fun.

  • Oh, my! So many points over-looked. As an Italian-America who lived, worked and dated in Rome for seven years and visits often for family, let me contribute.

    First, if a man or woman wants only sex on a first date clothing won’t really matter since they plan to be taking it off before the evening is through. At least be showered for that encounter. Second, as for expecting sex by the third date (often referred to as “the sex date” in the US), who said so? Seems to me that’s barely enough time to have a clue about someone’s job, house location, siblings or not, etc. – just the superficial stuff, let alone anything deeper. So the “expecters” just want a hook-up, right? Not for me to judge, but neither party can claim to be offended if what they get is minimal attention re: clothing choice or anything else. You’re not dating, people. You’re hooking up. Fast, superficial, meaningless. So don’t wonder why he doesn’t call again (except for another hookup) or she says “no” to another get-together. It was meant to be a drive-by orgasmic encounter. Nothing more.

    Second, if you want something more, then try dating, which happens over time, which is more than three dates. It’s a different mind-set. You show up dressed appropriately for what you will be doing because you never get a second chance to make a first impression – remember that? Tank tops and flip flops for the beach, slacks and a nice shirt/top (men or women), or a dress for women for a nice restaurant or club. No, “good” jeans do not belong at a formal wedding because you put a crease in them. No, your college sweatshirt doesn’t go to a restaurant with table-cloths. Stop acting like a teenager who needs Mom to tell you what to wear (I’m assuming that Mom knows.)

    ThIrd, dress better than TV-watching garb because it’s the respectful way to meet a new person. Because your appearance screams the level of respect you have for yourself. Because if you’ve made it to the third date you might likely want there to be more dates (even without sex) because she/he could be a “keeper” and you want to put your best self forward. Because even if you and date are not meant to go forward together, you might be good as friends or acquaintances, which expands your social circle where you might meet the right person for you.

    This is not hard to understand and do. In my opinion, if you can’t/won’t spend as much or more time getting ready for dates as you do checking your phone texts, Web surfing, and playing video games then you have already determined your priorities. Serious dating is evidently not one of them. This not playing a game. It’s understanding that the woman deserves to meet with a man who cared enough to put
    some thought into the date and how he will be perceived by the person looking at him. Same for her preparation.

    Having said all that, it’s unfortunately true that Americans seem to have abandoned any notion or caring for what is appropriate for a situation. Casual is everywhere, even where it doesn’t belong. It’s also true that American women put more time, money, and attention into their appearance than American men, who use the excuse for being inappropriate that women who expect better appearance are superficial, so who needs them? Their loss.

    It’s also true that Italians (from Italy) are steeped in the bella figura/bruta figura dichotomy, which has specific expectations and rigid boundaries. You know this because the operational phrase is Non si fa’ – One doesn’t do it/that. Usually accompanied by a quick head jerk, raised eyebrows, and pursed lips while casting a disapproving look on the offending item or behavior. Period. End of discussion. Which, on the good flip-side of the coin, is also why Italians are known for an extraordinary aesthetic sense in art, color, design, architecture, fashion, food, cars, and every other created item down to coffee pots and shoelaces. Beauty is required in all things, including personal actions.

    But in 2016, with people moving all over the world and living in various cultures not their own, we don’t have to accept an “either-or” choice. Good sense tells us the minimums – showered, dressed with respect for the place you’re going to, the activity you’ll be doing, and the person you’ll be with.

    • Well, yes, many things must be “overlooked” in the space of 1,000 words or so. But thanks for filling in some of the gaps! But also, you seem to have approached the debate from the perspective of someone looking for a partner, whereas I think the original discussion was more about the “game” of dating. Maybe not exactly the same thing. However, I disagree with you in that there is a universally agreed upon definition of “good sense.” If living abroad has taught me one thing, it’s that there are no absolutes. Cheers!

    • Marianne, I totally agree with you! Very well said! And it is always difficult o generalize as cross cultural pollination nowadays opens people’s traditional behaviours to new ways, in every nation…

      The only point where my opinion diffes is that I think that hook-ups are approached in a “lazy” way only by people who view sex as a superficial consumable. I view sexual pleasure as important, even when void of emotional atrachment or entanglement. And as I am interested in this aspect of my animalistic nature, I plan on what I wear in the same way as I would plan on what to do to the guy once I take his clothes off, and I expect the same in return. Therefore, if the potential date shows laziness in the way he presents himself, I automatically assume that he will approach the possible incoming sexual encounter with the same carelessness. A hook-up that results in bad sex is not worth engaging in, I would rather go to dinner with friends or family instead.

      I guess I am picky, but it is because there are guys who do show up well dressed and who do give you an amazing sensual experience afterwards, not just Italians of course… Lol…
      However, if I may say so, I think that Italian men are somewhat famous for putting a lot of effort and passion in sex, even if they are not a keeper, nor trying to keep you, they will still give their all and make you feel desired, even for one night… It is a matter of “sexual honour” I suppose, as even in that case they want to do a bella figura!! Haha…

      I wander is this comment will go through, maybe it is a little bit too sexual? Lol I hope nobody is getting offended. :-))

    • Hi Rick,

      Gosh, I must be in the Twilight Zone. Please tell me/us why in developed nations/cultures “good sense” cannot be used to describe a dating baseline of being clean, dressed for the place, activity, and respect for the person/people one is to be with? And why you interpret those as absolutes when I was clear to say we don’t have to accept either/or choices?

      Like you, I, too, have been all over the world, and consider learning from those travels as the great reward of being “there,” wherever there has been. Never have found a place or culture without its own form of what is expected or acceptable. Isn’t that a basic part of the definition of a “culture” – the totality of socially shared patterns, arts, behaviors, beliefs etc.?

      In my experience, developed world cultures include at least minimal personal cleanliness and certain minimal clothing expectations as being in sync with the culture. How those minimal expectations are followed, abandoned, ignored, changed as relates to dating – that was the discussion. Not whether they exist at all, nor that we have to leave behind our own minimal expectations in order to be culturally sensitive to others.

      Travel teaches us flexibility and expands our understanding of differences. But it doesn’t mean that flexibility and understanding on our part lets us ignore that another culture in fact, has societal expectations.

      Which is why I would never ask for a take-home container from a restaurant in Italy. Che’ bruta figura!

    • I never understood the “third date custom” in the US, either. There is NO WAY I would ever sleep with someone in so little time. I barely know anything about them at that point, much less whether I feel the situation deserves a deeper level that should be considered much further down the line.

      No wonder today’s dating scene is so abysmal – no one does it right anymore! Thank god I’m well out of it.

  • Great post, both from her perspective to your response. I think that somewhere in the middle of both cultures and attitudes toward dating and sex might be the “sweet spot” (pun intended). There are many things American men and women can learn from Italian men and women and vice-versa. Or we can just admit men are from Mars and women are from Venus and be done with it!

    • Thanks, Tony! This subject is ALWAYS ripe for vigorous debate! But I certainly can not dispute the Mars/Venus argument!!

  • Hi Rick,

    I really enjoyed this blog. First of all, I could relate on many levels to “Female G” in that I always appreciate a well-turned-out man and would be pretty offended if, on a first date, I thought he had not made an effort to look good.

    My partner is American, though we live in Italy, and I must say he always looks smart when he’s going out. And absolutely no flip flops except on the beach! Definitely not “rough and careless.” But I know what you mean about Italian men taking extra care of their appearance…even going for a run or a cycle there’s always a whiff of cologne lingering on the air as they pass; and all that matching gear must take ages to assemble.

    However, I can’t comment on the current dating scene as I have left that part of my life – thankfully – in the rear view mirror.

    “La Bella Figura” rules!


    • Ciao Orna! Your American man, like me, has certainly absorbed his surroundings. Funny thing is, when I’m in the States for extended periods (which is more and more these days), I find myself gradually fading back into the American ways. It’s not conscious or intentional, but I think a natural tendency to adapt. “Darwinian Fashion,” if you will. Ha, ha!!

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