Ciao Bella!

Love, Italian Style

This easy-to-use play book was inspired by all my friends and acquaintance who have ever asked me what it is like to date an Italian guy, and who were not satisfied by my constant response "it's easy, I just don’t.”

Upon the advice of several friends (Italian and non-Italian), I dipped into Italian dating, fought with my own ego and bought a pair of "evening jeans" (a requisite for the social scene, see Fashion). But looks aren't everything so I coaxed valuable wisdom out of my council of experts on how to actually date (and maintain a relationship with) a Roman guy who, for our purposes, will be called The Italian.

THE CHASE
All men love the chase, which is why when they are married they have affairs. They constantly need to feel like they have conquered something or someone. In fact, conquistare is an actual Italian dating term used. Devo conquistarla—I have to conquer her, said my friend Lele, in regard to a woman who wouldn’t resign herself to him after his two-month pursuit. Usually, women who are harder to conquer are considered virtuous, I think this is a common male assumption. They don't know that we are more slutty if we make them sweat. Why do they not realize this?

Normally, I wouldn't waste my time making some one prove how much they like me, or how much I like them. I prefer the "we like each other, we are automatically together" symbiotic relationship that is often sonnet and/or vomit inspiring. However, I was told by my backup crew "wait, don't go out with him every time he asks you out. Don't be nice. If you need, find some other guys to go out with , sleep with them if you have to, but don't be exclusive with The Italian, and definitely don't see him more than once a week."

In the beginning, I was conveniently unavailable. Lucky for me, I had inclement weather and a two-week cold to hinder my going out with him. (There was the one exception-- a feverish and somewhat pathetic evening at the movies where I finally sent myself home early.) But then the weather cleared up, so did my congestion and the invitations were flying-- dinners, lunches, aperitivi, soccer matches, meeting his hairdresser. And I forced myself to say "No" time and time again, with a "yes" thrown in just to keep him on the string. And of course, the flirty SMS....

I did well for four weeks and so can you.
Just be friendly and polite, always return calls and always smile.
When he asks you out, say yes.
And enjoy the afternoon chatting about soccer.

But don't let him have the milk for free. Make him work for it. Expose yourself to a variety of maladies if you really can't say no. Get some pimples that will lock you in your closet. Make appointments with all your friends and even the ones that you only converse with by email or text message. Have a rash of gentlemen suitors. Make yourself unavailable.