Gentiluomini, if you feel you’ve lost the finesse that makes the ladies swoon, you might consider developing your inner Italian maschio; that chivalrous personality that ignites our passions and makes our hearts flutter. Viva la cultura italiana where men make no apology for their masculinity, and gallant gestures are laced with gentleness, respect, and civility.
In a land where the juxtaposition of opposites makes complete sense, the Italian male may strut about with head held high, dark wavy hair tousled about invitingly, and a form fitting designer suit, tailored to a tee. Then the leather shoulder purse from which he pulls forth his cell phone to call mamma, which, paradoxically makes him even more maschile—for this unabashed display of tenderness.
Famed photographer Andrea Blanch, who once interviewed Italian men on the subject of love, concluded that for American women there are three stages to falling for an Italian man: “The first is being swept away. The second is learning the awful truth. And the third is saying “To hell with it”. The Italian man’s irresistibility comes from his overt celebration of amore.
Somewhat an extreme example is the infamous playboy Giacomo Casanova (1725-98). This Venetian author, adventurer, gambler, prisoner, soldier and more— had the art of seduction down to a science. Never mind his colorful background, forever teetering on the border of high society and common disrepute: What really had women falling all over him was his flawless ability to make his date feel playful, sexy, and proud to be a woman! Of course his biggest flaw was his infidelity; and that was no small thing.
So how can you develop the positive qualities of the uomo italiano and avoid the stereotypes that give others a bad name? Here are some tips from your Bel Paese brothers.
- Always Be A Gentleman. Italian men still hold car doors open for their woman, pull their chairs out at restaurants, offer their jackets when it is chilly outside, and their arm for a passeggiata. Despite what you think, women still love to feel protected, respected, and cared for.
- Pay Attention to How You Look. While you don’t have to go as far as to wear a “man purse” you can certainly adopt other habits that Italian men hold dear—impeccable hygiene, and neat, fashionable clothing. One or two well-made suits can offer a multitude of different outfits when you mix and match. Think quality, not quantity, and then pay attention to detail Are your shoes scuffed? Does the tail of your shirt hang out in the back? No, e poi no!
- Put Your Amore on a Pedestal. Listen to any Italian love ballad and you’ll get the idea. Look into her eyes and convey a love that needs no words. Tell her how bellissima she is, and how much she means to your life. Honesty, of course, above all.
If you follow these guidelines they can work their magic for you, too!
(adapted from an article I wrote for The Italian Tribune). If you love this post, let me know but selecting “like”, or “follow/subscribe”–and as always, please tell your friends. Mille grazie.