Congratulations, you’ve landed yourself the coveted Italian man, the epitome of a Latin lover. I wouldn’t call this a rude awakening per se, but if you’re a foreign signorina with no Italian roots, you may run into quite a few stark cultural differences in your relationship with Mr. Perfetto. This is nobody’s fault, it is simply the contrast between upbringing and expectations in Italy. Of course, this article is based on my personal experience of being the WAG of a born-and-raised Italian man for the last seven years, and based on discussions with Italian girlfriends of Italian men.
Here are a few pointers as to what Italian men expect (or “appreciate”) from their main squeeze:
Italian Men: The Unofficial Guide
Take pride in your appearance.
Unless you live in Milan, this doesn’t have to mean dressing to the nines every day. It simply means your Italian man will probably not be entirely impressed if you wear your gym clothes out to aperitivo hour with his buddies. Italy is known for fashion for a reason because Italians pay attention to dressing and it can almost be considered an art. So become an artist, ladies. And try to get used to high heels–your Italian man loves them.
Let a man be a man.
You’re a fierce, independent woman, I know that. You can fix your own flat and you bring in your own dough, but every now and then, let your Italian man wear the pants. Chivalry is not dead in Italy and the men like to take care of their WAGs so don’t scoff if he offers to carry heavy objects, fix the car, or pay the bill. Also don’t hesitate to ask for advice, Italian men love to give advice on everything from which handbag goes best with your outfit to how to make your lasagna recipe even better (although it will never be as good as his mother’s).
Take it back to the old school.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at things), gender roles are still quite prevalent in Italy. So in addition to getting your man to do to “manly” tasks, you guessed it…they typically like you to take care of tasks traditionally done by women fifty years ago. Some examples are cooking like you won Master Chef Italy, ironing dish towels, and cleaning like a mad woman. Another “old school” point is that Italian men don’t particularly like women who curse frequently; I’ve never heard one bad word come out of my future mother-in-law’s mouth. Other examples of highly coveted behaviours are baking a cake to bring to a dinner party or helping to clean up after (along with all the other WAGs). I know it might sound ridiculous, but the aforementioned examples are literally things that I’ve experienced first-hand.
Housewives of Italy.
In Italy, you have to be able to do it all–work and keep a perfect house, all while looking like Sofia Loren circa late 1950s. I applaud all you WAGs out there, I truly do. A lot of Italian men are heinous neat-freaks and perfectionists when it comes to their house. This is due to the fact that their mothers, and grandmothers, and great-great grandmothers took great pride in their homes and therefore your Italian man has grown up in an impeccably kept household and expects the same for his own.
Watch your wine.
While in other countries, men may not care in the slightest if you enjoy a little too much out in public, in Italy, both men and women tend to keep themselves under control while drinking. In all my experience with Italy, I have never ever seen an Italian girl drunkingly stumble in her Ferragamos.
Mother is always right.
We all love our mums, but I don’t think anyone loves their mamma as much as an Italian man. The stereotype is the absolute truth. How does this apply to a WAG though? You have to get used to getting slotted into second place in many situations and accepting unsolicited advice from your Italian man’s mother. Many WAGs may take offense to this and I know that it can cause a lot of tension in the relationship, so…you’ve been warned. There’s no strategy to change this situation, it’s just something that needs to be acknowledged and accepted as graciously as possible. This was a bit of a controversial discussion, I know, so do take my observations with a grain of salt and humor and feel free to comment if you’ve had your own experience being the WAG of an Italian man! If you enjoyed this article, check out my blog post How to Snag (and Keep) an Italian man.
Italian Men: The Unofficial Guide
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