1.Beneath the Façade
Having an Italian boyfriend has taught me a lot about the real nature of Italians. Underneath the slicked back hair, abs-hugging shirts and innate confidence, Italians harbour the strangest neuroses. For example, my boyfriend is paranoid that his rubbish bin will be stolen if he puts it out on the street for collection. As a result, he hordes days worth of rubbish in 30 degree heat in his apartment until he remembers to take all 8 bags with him in the car to work where he can throw them in the company’s immovable bins that are bolted safely to the ground. Then there’s the bidet issue. My boyfriend has no interest in the cleanliness of his teeth, hands, even apartment, but the fact that we don’t use the bidet in Britain is akin to a crime. One time he found a map of the world online with the countries that use bidets highlighted. He now uses that as a holiday destination guide. Italians are experts at creating a good impression that fools the rest of the world, but remember that it’s not unusual to find that your tanned, athletic Adonis of a boyfriend still lives with his Mamma at the age of 35.
2.Italian Men Actually Like Carrying Your Handbag
Not just because there is a secret fashion model inside all of them. It’s part of their outdated approach to dating (and pretty much all social rules) where the roles of men and women are still stuck in the 50s. If a man and a women go out together, even just as friends, the man must pay, non-negotiable. There have been times where I’ve been brandishing a 20 euro note in a bar tender’s face while he studiously ignores me and waits for my boyfriend to leisurely find his money. Although it may frustrate the feminist I’ve had to bury deep away inside of me, I know that, at least in my boyfriend’s case, the misogyny comes from a good place. Generosity is one of the Italians’ best traits. As well as perfecting the art of sneakily paying while they pretend they’re going to the bathroom, they are the kind of people that will gladly share their food, home and their grandmother’s love with anyone they meet.
3.You Can Never Have Enough Light Blue Shirts
It’s true that a tailored blue shirt can turn even the most toad-like boy into a prince, but does that really merit having five almost identical versions? Although I might roll my eyes at it, it’s a typical example of the way Italians think about fashion and style in general. If something looks good and fits well then stick with it, even if it’s not the craziest new catwalk trend. I am easily lured in by eccentric fashions, the kinds of clothes you look back on after a couple of years and want to burn all photos of you wearing them. So unfortuntely I find myself actually taking fashion advice from my very unfashionable boyfriend and resisting the urge to buy the leopard print shirt or the paisley harem pants. Instead I have resolved to save my money for the greatest Italian day trip: The Outlet. Here I will find those timeless classics that all Italians own, and versions that fit me perfectly. White shirt, tailored trousers and simple gold jewellery here I come. Oh and that bright yellow mackintosh, that’s irresistable.