Why Are So Many Italian Men Such Chotches? Is It Evolution?

When walking alone through the medina here in Essaouira, Julie occasionally gets unwanted male attention. It’s low-key and harmless, and comes with the territory. It’s not nearly as bad as she’s experienced in Italy, though.

In both Palermo and Rome, she was constantly harassed by Italian men. She couldn’t sit down to have a coffee without some chotch doggedly attempting to join her. She was followed for a block down the street, and solicited by an aging hound dog who was definitely on the wrong side of seventy. These men really wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I got to thinking about why men behave this way, and about this evolutionary psychology book I wrote about (Derek wrote a more thorough review) a while back. There seem to be two possibilities:

  1. The success rate is greater than zero, and the effort involved is worth the occasional success. If they never succeeded, you’d think that they’d eventually give up.
  2. The behaviour has nothing to do with earning female affections, and everything to do with lekking. From Wikipedia: “A lek is a gathering of males, of certain animal species, for the purposes of competitive mating display.”

A premise of that book is that our brains stoppped evolving 10,000 years ago, and that our basic goal in life is simple: reproduction. Presumably the psychological goal of option #2 is to intimidate the other males in the lek, and get to the female first.

But why is this practice particularly common in Italy (I’m sure it’s common in other countries–this is just the worst among those that we’ve visited)? It’s probably cultural.

I wanted to use this photo to illustrate this post, but it was all rights reserved.

79 comments

  1. I am an italian man (that’s why I write in “bad english”) and here’s what I can say: you’re right.
    A lot (not everybody, thank god) of italian men follow the motto “ogni lasciata è persa” which roughly translates as “every woman I don’t try to harass is certainly not coming to bed with me, hence I try to harass every woman” .
    There are a lot of differences between northern italians and southern ones. Northern ones tend to be colder and a lot less intrusive. Suthern ones tend to be more passionate. Not every north-ling is cold, not every south-ling is passionate but… well… this is what is commonly said.
    Personally, I’ve never harassed no one, and none of my friends did (I come from northern Italy). But I know of a lot of others who did.
    I’m really sorry about the reputation italians have… I often read bad opinions about us. We even had a prime minister like Berlusconi who greatly increased our bad reputations and… well… bad news: he’s coming back.
    Italy has a lot of geographical variety: high mountains, soft hills, foggy plains, seas, rivers, big cities and small medieval ones. People from Italy comes in a similar variety.

  2. Emanj: Thanks for the insights–very interesting. Your English is way better than my Italian. It’s interesting what you say about regional differences. Julie says that she was barely hassled in places like Venice and Florence, so you’re right about things being worse in the south.

  3. So this is why you don’t want to move to Italy, eh Darren? Are the Maltese men not like that?

    emanj, that is very interesting. I wonder how many of those men also call themselves Catholic?

    I also find it strange the double standards in the culture to men and women. They are extremely protective of their daughters, but seem to think its okay for their sons to be players.

    (This comes from my experience dating an Italian girl with a very traditional family here in Toronto.)

  4. Mark, you wrote two interesting things.

    1. Catholic people.
    Almost everyone here in Italy who says “I’m a catholic” is a catholic in his/her very own way. A lot of people go to church for no catholic reason… just to be there. There are a lot of those so called sunday-catholics…

    2. traditional family.
    That’s the keyword! “Traditional”. A lot of “traditional” families are very strict and treat women in a different way. They think women are made to be housewives… This is very very sad.

  5. Mark: There was no such harassment in Malta, none at all, actually. I’m not sure what accounts for that…

  6. The double standard is also something that the evolutionary psychology book Darren and I reviewed attempts to explain. It’s actually pretty simple (although I’ll oversimplify): for animals that reproduce as we do, it is evolutionary advantageous for men to sleep around as much as possible, but not so much for women, for whom it can also be reproductively risky.

    Recall that the original evolutionary pressures that created those kinds of behaviours don’t make them _right_, or justify them in the modern world. But they explain why those behaviours exist. Why they persist in some cultures and not in others is a different question.

    A question I would ask: how do Italian women feel about and react to all this lekking?

  7. I recently visited Rome, and even though we were in a gay club there every 2 metres i walked, an italian man would hold my face and try to kiss me!
    when i explained this to my friend, i was told that they know we are tourists so think we are easy targets for a one night stand.. i hope this isn’t true because i met the most beautiful, unsleazy man there even though we don’t keep in touch…

  8. I am currently working on a study of Italian men, and have been for the past two years. After interviewing 30 men from all over Italy, (while studying there and visiting family), and keeping a perceptive eye on my surroundings, men like to look at beautiful things, and if a beautiful woman walks down the street, he is going to stare, comment, or whistle. No different than the men in the U.S. If he gets lucky, that’s his business. But, at the same time, most of the Italian men, are all talk. (Ladies and gentlemen, do not forget that some women are this way, and from what I have experienced after traveling to four different countries, they are worse here.)
    Emanj: Over the years, the male/female mentality has changed, and though there are some people who believe women are to be made housewives, the majority of “new” Italians do not. Remember, Italy finally got on the bandwagon in the 40s and 50s, therefore, even today they are struggling with identity issues. Now, I am not saying what they believe in is correct, but we need to understand their history.
    Sylvie, I am sorry that man “attacked” you in Rome. I have had men offer the one night stand, but never go so far as to touch me. However, your friend is correct, American women are looked at as sleezy, and we can thank our media and cinema for that.

    I am going to look for this book!

  9. I met a Northern Italian in this May in my travelling in Thailand. Afterall, we email each other almost every day. The content is short but you feel good. He took a three days trip to visit me in Hong Kong during July. I spent all day and night alone with him to do the sightseeing. Overall, he did behave. He gave me a feeling of a reserve and a very quiet Italian. He touches my faces very often and he likes hand in hand with me for shopping. But he never intend to kiss me. Is he a typical Northern Italian? Or he just treat me as a common friends. I am confused.

    1. I just wanted to write and let you know that I met a Northern Italian man in his mid 30’s over the internet. He did not speak English well. We e-mailed each other everyday for 6 months, then he bought him a cell phone that worked to the U.S. We’ve been talking to each other (everyday to this date) It will almost be 3 yrs in February next year. He came twice to visit me on his vacation. (to Arizona) He recently went back to Limbiate last month. (Limbiate is near Milan) While here, he never tried to touch me or anything like that. He is a very reserved person and friendly. (basically a good person) I am in my mid 40’s and we get along “Great” together. The only time we touched was when I gave him a “hug” at the airport when he was leaving. There are Italian men out there who are good people!

      1. Yes Lynn no kidding there are alot of good Italian men. I think Darren old boy has a little inferiority complex he needs to deal with. I think the article shpould have been why women go gaga over Italain men and not men say from Northern Europe as much? Humm. Right Darren

  10. Hi Jenni,
    It really all depends on the man. Most Italian men I have met, are very timid, especially the older ones, i.e. in their 30s.
    Last year, there was this man I met, and it took him three weeks before he could even tell me he was interested in me, and that was after I left the southern part of Italy to go and study in Abruzzo. From experience, I find that Italian men are generally a split between Clark Gable and Casanova.
    Over the last 30 years, I have noticed that Italian men are not always the best communicators in the world. They tend to let someone in little by little, and that could take years!
    Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some who will tell you whatever whenever…It is amazing to see how different everyone is.

  11. Thanks very much for your information, Rosa. Recently, I feel this Nord Italian getting a bit cold to me. As my friends said he has gone to Bangkok to work for two years. He must have a lot of chances to meet lots and lots of women. And I am just of of this guy’s desserts, don’t be silly.

    My friends’ advises was if I want a fling that is fine but try not to get it so serious. Afterall, he is a 30 something Italian, majority is a playboy and now he is working in Bangkok while I am in Hong Kong.

    I am so upset and feel heartbreak, Rosa.

  12. I am sorry to hear this Jenni. Sometimes it is better to just move on.
    How are things now, after almost 20 days?

  13. Hi Darren…
    My name is Eva and I’m a 23 mexican girl… the thing is that I’m planning a trip to Italy next summer… I want to visit some famous Italian cities like Rome, Pisa,Parma, Bologna and Venice… or at least that’s my route. So a month ago I thought that I had to start learning some Italian and I joined Chatta.it (a place where u can chat to Italian people)and when I join the chat I said that I was mexican and that I wanted to learn some Italian… to my surprise the men I chatted to asked me whether to take my clothes off in web cam or to have a one night out while my trip to Italy.. I was shocked I just wanted to learn some Italian phrases… so now that I’ve read more about their culture I guess that’s the way they are… pretty sad to found out that they harass women! So I guess I’ll keep on chatting and try to find a girl who might want to teach me some Italian.

  14. This is a good post. It’s a shame that women have to be harassed in this way because it takes away the beauty of Italy. It’s like being descended upon by flies or even beggars. It’s a shame and maybe Italian men will get the message that it’s just not acceptable to bother people like this. If they keep it up maybe all the good looking girls will stop appearing in public. Then it will be a loss for all of us!

  15. Thanks for asking Rosa. I trust this Nord Italian is quite busy in work.

    A while ago, I was trying to book a ticket to see him. He said he’s sorry this period he is busy in Bangkok. At the end of the email he said Take care and don’t go out with many boy friends. I really can’t catch his heart and his meaning by saying this.

    Rosa, do you know?

    Best regards from Hong Kong.

  16. L’Italia e’ un paese come nessun’altro. Il cibo, la musica e il paesaggio piu’ bello del pianeta. Ci puo’ essere qualche mela marcia c’e’ sempre!

    1. Gennaro,
      Si, l’Italia, `e il paese piu bello del mondo…pero, dobbiamo fare attenzione agl’uomini. Questo sito non parla del cibo, musica o il paesaggio, ma, come le donne sono stata tratta dai uomini italiani. Abbiamo le donne chi non hanno mai avuto un problema, pero, ci sono anche le donne chi sono stata tratta come animali.
      Hai ragione, L’Italia `e bella, pero, come qui in America, ci sono dei problemi, delle gente che fanno schifo, che non sano come si devono compartare.

  17. I just met an Italian guy. Strangest guy I ever met and so damn persistent. Now I feel better knowing it’s not just me.lol. It gets tiring trying to fend off his sexual inuenndo that he throws at me, which I always somehow manage to get around and steer the conversation to normal talk.lol. And he’s always asking to “go out” and I am like “no!!”. Perhaps I’m too nice person, I’m a naturally talkative and friendly girl with everyone I meet male or female.

    He’s unpredictable, a bit odd, charming, yet when his compliments don’t seem to be working on me he gets all pissy.LOL. It’s quite funny, although the first time he got pissy I thought to myself, “WTF?!?!”.

    Oh well, if this is how a lot of Italian guys are I know which country I definitely won’t be visiting if I ever visit Europe. Italy is off the list!!

    1. I live in Virginia, and just met an Italian man. He lives with his family, and goes to work every day with his father. He’s not old, and he’s not a kid (he’s 35), and I totally have no problem with people living with their families. But what IS weird is his persistence too. I mean, beyond ‘I like you’. He’s very good-looking, but man, really seems insecure, and gets offended if I’m not agreeing with him when he’s talking to me. VERY pushy. I told him last night I would go out with him later this week, but I’m having second thoughts. The pushy part worries me. He was drinking last night. Maybe he’ll forget he asked.

      1. Hi 🙂

        A guy 35 still living with his family can’t be confident. Having a family business is one thing. But still living with his parents is bad. Makes him a momas boy. As he is 35 he is not a boy anymore but yet not an adult man yet, otherwise he would be able to live without his parents

    2. Don’t let this deter you from visiting Italy! It’s a beautiful country..so i’ve heard! I’m studying abroad as an American in Paris and it’s funny but for some reason i seem to attract mostly italian guys. they were really chivalrous and will charm your pants off if you let them…you have to watch out for guys trying to steal kisses , though that happened to me in Spain from a spaniard as well. i think a lot of guys from southern europe are just more aggressive than i’m used to as an american, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, you just have to be REALLY firm if you don’t like where it’s going. Even though italy’s guys get a bad rap sometimes, i wouldn’t let that deter me from visiting the country. It’s got a lot of cool hisotrical and geographical features that i can’t wait to see, i’m planning a trip now! Also, they still are chivalrous and treat women like a “lady”, if you’re into that haha.(Tip: Don’t tell guys you’re American if you can help it…they’ll think you’re easy)

  18. Hi everyone
    I am part Italian and have spent a lot of time in the beautiful country of Italy. However, I was harrassed by men from other countries that don’t respect womens privacy and space. Italian men are not immune. Women don’t want this harrasement. Sometimes it’s flattering but after a while it becomes annoying and seems immature. I suggest two simple words to men. Grow up.

  19. This Northern vs. Southern Italian nonsense makes me sick. Rome is not in Northern Italy where you had your problem… Why don’t you just join Stormfront? Berlusconi is no more embarrassing than Merkel, or the retarded Germans, including a pope, who cannot make up their mind about a bishop… or how to import then exterminate immigrants when the economy goes bad. Or the beloved Icelanders who eat puffins and make half-assed art. Or the English who exploit everyone they can, control American thought, and throw up their hands when the uncivilized world they’ve destroyed acts… uncivilized! As a Calabrese-American, I feel like punching this smug asshole. And yes, I am passionate… and you are cold, just like a bug. Perhaps you have evolved that way.

  20. Wow.
    I’ve always wanted to go to Italy so i’ve been doing a little research about it.
    A lot came up about Italian men being a bit more ‘friendly’ and upfront with women.
    I still want to go-i just dont want extra attention…

  21. This post is ridiculous. Thanks for promoting the negative stereotype. Maybe you should make another post entitled, “English men who live in Canada are stuck up, is it evolution?”

    I thought we were a progressive country, you’re just taking us back to the dark ages by promoting crap like this.

    1. Dude, have you read the comment thread? That’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that many Italian men are overly-aggressive with women. I didn’t say “all Italian men”, I said “so many Italian men”. Cultures have habits and practices, and many individuals express those habits and practices. If many Italian many are sexually aggressive then it’s not a stereotype, it’s a fact.

      1. Ok. I just have finished spending a year aboard in Europe. I am half Italian (Calabrese). I am also Canadian. I spent half a year in Italy (for school) and another half in Paris (for school). And since anecdotal evidence is so very important to this seemingly “scientific” explaination fo culture, I tell you my story.

        The men in France are just as bad as the men in Italy. There are cultural differences yes. But its CULTURAL. Evolution is biological. Its…idiotic to maintain that this theory is even defendable, let alone plausable.

  22. I didn’t realize that your blog is the new scientific method for evaluating Italian men. My mistake!

  23. It’s not just Italy like this, I’m half Jamaican and in Jamaica it’s the same way and I hate it. I want to go to Italy bad but all this sounds crazy but will not stop me..:)

  24. Hello!!
    I agree many italian men are like that towards the turist girls..only because they think they will get a gone night stand with her!

  25. It’s the same kind of treatment women gets in arabic countries…Irak, Iran, Syria, Lebanon
    It comes from the point of view of women as a
    weak , sexual being that exist only to please the men

  26. I’m a 25 year old american woman travelling alone…I had no issues with harrassment in London Berlin Venice or Florence…but frankly Rome was just a nightmare. On a Friday night I got followed for blocks by 2 different men and what I would call “almost followed” by two others. Auugh! It was so bad that I had to scream at one of them in the metro car until he got off at the next stop. The other one I fled with a Taxi and then the Taxi driver tried to pick me up!!??? I do laugh at it now but I was quite angry with the whole shebang.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      In Italy most italians find Romans arrogant and vulgar. Romans are not liked in Italy. This is often the case where people living in the Capital of a country are arrogant

  27. I met my boyfriend. in sorento Iam 34 he is 36. we now live together in uk.He has been unfaithful to me with a 50 something year old woman.He was seeing her for a while. he thinks he is a sex god and his vanity and sleazyness.is obviously what i am addicted to.I dont know if he has been with other women.but i am feeling insecure

  28. I. met an italian man in the supermarket. he followed me.through the streets.whisteling me .he stuck his hand up my dress .and thought nothing of it. I.had a very passionate affair with him..i became frightened of him after.his violent lovemaking..i dont know how any woman could cope with him.shes quite welcome to him.

  29. I am sorry that so many of the readers have stories about Italian men. Believe me, French and Spanish men are just as bad.

    To maintain this type of stereotype is unacceptable. Its unwarrented. Its also especially insulting when immediately after calssifying all Italian men this way there was someone to automatically claim that only Southerners are like this. There is no great divide between the North and South – the only divide is the ones the North made for themselves.

    This blog is insulting.

  30. Hi everyone!

    I’m a 28 year old Portuguese and I just wanted to say that I have at least 5 male friends from Southern Italy. They couldn’t be more different from each other, but when I met them for the first time, NONE of them was disrespectful in any way. To this day, none of them have had an attitude that made me think they’re weren’t good people. Actually, they are quite timid and sweet, but all of them have the “flirty feature”, they just can’t help it! I think it’s a matter of luck, as many people have written here, there are bad guys everywhere, even in Portugal!

  31. Very interesting and enlightening postings… I am an American woman, mid-20’s, and dated an Italian man for almost two years. At first it was magnificent, the hand holding, gentle face touches, dancing in the dark, romantic romantic romantic. We moved in together and it was downhill from there. He was unemployed, I worked full time and studied for my Master’s full time. I would come home and was expected to clean the apartment, keep the kitchen orderly, wash the clothes, etc. I tried to talk to him about it and the response was “I am an Italian and I have never once touched a dish in the kitchen, nor will I ever”. Need I get started on the jealousy issues? I am not a flirty woman by any means. I have always been faithful, and I had a lot of self respect prior to meeting this man (ahem – monster). After we moved in together, I was called a wh*re daily, constantly accused of infidelity, my panties would be examined whenever I returned from work, I would have to forward work meeting invitations just to prove that I was not lying, my belongings were no longer mine, my performance in bed was constantly compared to other women, had a phone thrown at my face and broke my nose, my tooth was chipped with a fist of his, countless dishes were smashed on the ground, a laptop computer was broken over my back, was kicked while already on the floor crying because of his harsh words/accusations and at the end of two years, I tried to cut my wrists. I had seen therapists and was chastised for it, I tried to manage my work, commute, school, house, boyfriend schedule, and was perpetually reminded of how incompetent I was.

    The excuses the entire time, each and every time I meagerly tried to stand up for myself were around the lines of “I am an Italian and this is how we are, this is how you deserve to be treated”

    I will never, I repeat, never do that again. I do not think it is fair to say every Italian man is like this, and I know there are a handful of abusive men in any country. But it was pounded into my head day after day after day, that this is how Italian men are.

    1. Chelsea, the guy you dated would be seen in italy as uneducated and a “cafone”. That one is really BS

      What puzzles me is why did you date him 2 years ?

  32. I would like to add one more thing that is more related to the original post. While walking down the street, if I was not looking down at my feet, I was told that I was looking at men seductively. He, however, would look at women, speak with women, tell me to be with other women, and threaten to “f*ck the first woman he saw” if I missed a call or did not respond to a message quickly enough for his standards.

  33. CHELSEA I WOULD NOT STAY ONE DAY WITH A MAN LIKE THAT.ENGLISH OR ITALIAN NO MATTER HOW ATTRACTIVE HE WAS.HES A COMPLETE MYSYOGINIST AND CHAUVNIST.

  34. I hear all these women complaining about italian men harrassing them. They either are super models or needing to seriously pat themselves on a back and convience themselves they are beautiful.

    North americans have a reputation of being sluts so men attempt as they do in most countries. Before putting these europeans on a cross remember they really do not need to chase fat ignorant uncultured north american who are at best average compared to the european beauties. They really are doing you a favor your just to stupid to realize it.

    Hope that puts a rash on whatever is causing the bitching.

    No need to thank me. Now go stuff your fat face at mcdonalds and of course complain your tired of being a sexual object.

    1. That was a bit harsh, but I’m with you and I completely understand your frustration. It’s especially bad in women’s colleges… I’m so sick of listening to other women bitching about how they’re treated by men when it’s THEM who are being stupid and slutty. If you act smart and classy, you’re going to be far less likely to wind up with a douche.

      I think it was put well in the first comment here, “Italy has a lot of geographical variety: high mountains, soft hills, foggy plains, seas, rivers, big cities and small medieval ones. People from Italy comes in a similar variety.”
      Obviously there are going to be a lot of people who act similarly, because that’s just what fits into the culture, but people are different, and generalizations are stupid.

      And apologies to the rest of the world for my country’s overwhelming ignorance. Just please know that not all of us are like that.

  35. Hi

    I am a Italian male born and bread in the UK.

    Nice post Anthony, great minds think alike!

    I consider myself kind considerate and passionate, most of all Italian. I have been bought up with manners and respect and know how to treat other people. My parents are from the south and did a good job giving us a education ( education as in manners respect etc) this means more than a university degree etc in my opinion.

    Italian men generally treat women with respect. When following, whisteling, flirting with them etc they do it to give the lady a confidence boost.

    I have to admit there is some sad storys on here but its probably because all the victims have been searching about Italian men as they want to find dirt on us.

    Another point I would like to make is that when in rome last year with my wife. She was wearing shortish dress, for a (man in Italy) to stick is finger up it. The point is there is plenty of non Italians living in Italy I have an Eye for knowing who is and who isnt and this man was clearley arabic. Although I’m not saying all Arab men are sleazey.

    When I was at college about 15 years ago I dated a girl who I them split up with (polish) and she told me some italians had been chatting her up. these Italians were actually my friends but they were from palastine. Women Like Italian men so asian arab and even english people tend to prentend to be them. oh and the plish girl I dated as gone on to marry a Italian.

    Oh and my wifes spanish and lucky to have me and I’m lucky to have her.

    Forza Italiani

  36. I’m Italian and I love Italy with all my heart. I have lived in the United States for many years now, and I currently attend a very large, distinguished university. I have heard the stereotypical behavior which is attached to Italian men, and for that reason I have never hit on a woman in a public setting. Not saying that I’ve never talked to a woman, but I have never hit on a woman. If we begin a conversation and I feel like she may like me, then I may ask for her phone number. On the other hand, I’ve worked at a night club for a while bartending, and I’m ashamed at some of the lines that women fall for. Also, going to one of the largest party schools in the country, I see “American” men hit on anything that walks. Maybe it doesn’t fall under the category of cat-calling, but American men are just as bad as Italian men, just in different ways. I decided a long time ago to behave opposite of stereotypical behavior associated with Italian men, but I do not hide the fact that I’m Italian, in fact, I have a huge tattoo on my forearm of the Italian flag with “italia” written on it.

  37. This whole blog is stupid. Men do inappropriate things to women in every other country. American men are known for being greedy, fat, and careless towards women. As a matter of fact, American women are known for being slutty and easy. Why don’t you write up a blog about them? Oh wait…you wouldn’t because you’re American yourself.

    If the Italian men simply kiss your hand to greet you, then I’m pretty sure they’re just greeting you. It’s their culture…just like in France: kissing someone is how French people greet each other. If the Italian men are being persistent, then you’re either very, very, very beautiful, or they just want to get you in bed. I guess that second option would make more sense since American women are known for being slutty? haha

    Like I said, this whole blog is stupid. I just hope this Darren douchebag isn’t representative of American men. Because if he is, then he’s just promoting another stereotype of Americans: ignorance.

    1. ^CommonSense here speaking.

      Look at how I changed my name to “RandomGirlName.”

      All I see in this blog is a couple of idiots renaming themselves in order to encourage this stereotype. Are you people just jealous of Italians?

      1. Hahahahahaha who cares about Canada anyway?

        My point still stands. They either want to get you in bed or they’re being courteous. The fact that you had to write a blog about it is pathetic.

      2. A person’s desires don’t justify their behaviour. Many women (read the other comments on this post to hear from some of them) find these men’s harassing behaviour offensive and frustrating.

        To approve of these men’s behaviour is to support the harassment of women. Do you?

  38. There was an Italian film director (was it Antonioni?) who talked about this alot. He believed that Italian men were suspended in a sort of perennial infancy (tied to his mother’s apron strings). In my experience this generalisation seems appropriate more often than not. Watch them play football. For northern Europeans it is funny to watch the beautiful game being played so beautifully by the Italians only to be marred by players falling over from the slightest touch, rolling around in simulated agony and pleading with the referee (the ‘mother-figure’ in a football match), and generally displaying the kind of histrionics most 8 year olds’ would be embarrassed by. Maybe this could be connected with a particular form of Catholicism centered around the deification of the virgin Mary (la madre). Who knows…

    1. That’s probably partially true…. one of my Italian professors talked about that in one class.

  39. I read all the comments and thought I would add my thoughts and personal experience. There is a lot of material for debates. Firstly, it is true that Italian people are prejudiced towards foreign women: they think that most of them are easy. People who have travelled though know that this is a ridiculous assumption. Nevertheless, this is due to the fact that some women (especially from Northern Europe) go on holiday to countries like Italy, Spain and Greece purely to have flings. Young Italian men truly believe that foreign women love to be chatted up and don’t think of it as harrassment. Obviously this is very wrong, especially if they start following them in the streets. However, I also wonder where the fine line between courtship and harrassment lies. I don’t think there is anything wrong in trying to flirt with a girl if this is done in a polite and non pushy way. And obviously accepting that she might not be interested. Cocky Italian males are usually easily brushed aside by Italian women. I am an Italian living in England, and the English idea of courtship on a Saturday nights makes the Italians seem like angels: drunk boys and scantily-clad girls yelling insults at each other across the street as a means of getting together (when they are not literaly throwing up), and in clubs, either you’re a man or a woman, chances are you’ll get grabbed or physically harrassed, and if you happen to be a foreigner, often insulted. My whole point is that harrassment and bad behaviour happens everywhere and takes different forms and it doesn’t only take place in Italy.

    1. I totally agree with you. I live in England and the female population are shall we say easy. A couple of beers and they are up for it. Have some respect for yourselves ladies and then perhaps when you go on holiday you won’t be treated like a piece of meat

  40. I was just in Italy a couple weeks ago. I didn’t have much of a problem with the men in Italy. Mainly because I was traveling with a group of people. Men would comment saying “such a beautiful face” “beautiful smile” , which is innocent. If I was alone on the other hand (which wasn’t often) it was a bit different. The bartender at the one hotel I was staying in tried getting me to stay with him for the night. My friends were harassed by a group of Italian men probably in their early 20s. I think its just the way the male mind works. Except Italians KNOW that most women are intrigued by them so they take advantage of that.

    1. This is an interesting blog. I’m a 45 year old single educated American woman (not easy), & I tend to agree with most of the Italian men who posted replies. I would much rather have an assertive man confident enough to approach and compliment a woman! I appreciate that there are still men assertive enough to make the 1st move versus hiding behind personal ads & missed connections & whining to their friends about how difficult it is to meet a woman.

      A woman should be confident and intelligent enough to know how to appropriately address the man’s advances.

      I’ve dated & have been in lengthy relationships with men of Italian ancestry & yes, I’ve either personally experienced or witnessed some of the stereotypes too–extreme possesiveness, womanizers, chauvinism, etc. However, I’ve also experienced unflattering characteristics in other men as well.

      Of the boyfriends and friends I’ve known who are Italian, they are successful, hard-working, intelligent, attractive, and confident.

      Their confidence is perhaps why all the Italian men I’ve known are excellent sales and businessmen.

      I’m not attracted to passive, unassertive men. Perhaps the reason why so many American men have become this way is because women are much too touchy about men’s advances. What the heck is a guy to do?

      I’d much rather be in a relationship with a man who assertively seizes opportunity. And a man interested in sex and romance seems refreshing. Perhaps I need to take a trip to Italy….

  41. Wow! i really feel the opposite about what most women here posted. When I was in Italy, I did have some weird stuff happen. One guy chased me b/c he liked my feet, old men chasing me, etc. The list goes on and on. Those situations sometimes were scary but I laugh about it now. However, sometimes I did meet nice Italian guys. I found them to be funny, interesting and sweet. Ladies if you don’t like men flirting with you wear a headset and very dark sunglasses and ignore them. If it gets really bad try to get a local help you out. But for the most part it is really not that bad.

    I personally liked the lifestyle there. At least people socialize with each other. Here in the states people just go straight home from work. Next door neighbors don’t know each other. Most American guys are so boring. They just like to drink beer ,watch football and get wasted at the clubs. They will only speak to you when drunk and well can be quite vulgar when intoxicated. Guess what? They too only want sex. All men are like that no matter where they come from but if you think Italy is bad never go to Turkey. If you still can’t cope with Italians, then just don’t go there.

    I was actually searching where I could meet a real Italian man when I saw this site. Any advice where I can meet them in the US?

    p.s. I am not fat. Many Italians were shocked.

    1. Moniquitas, when you find out where you can meet real Italian men in the U.S., will you let me know? 🙂

      1. LOL! Of course Gia. I hope someone will respond and post the information. I lived in Asia and was able to meet real Italians at the international Catholic Church. I can’t find one here (FL). I don’t know where you are but try a google search for Italian mass in your area. Good luck!

  42. This thread is really dissapointing. Comments like “it’s because they think American women are sluts. I blame our media & cinema for this.” and “men are just as bad as women. Men harass, but women are sluts so why don’t you talk about them?” Are examples of the strong double standard that women have to put up with. First off- US cinema is Fantastic when you compare it to all others in the world. It is because of US media & cinema that women in the world have been able to think “wow! so I’m not the only woman in the world who likes sex & I’m not the only woman in the world who pretends to not like it & plays all these stupid games w/ men just so that they don’t think I’m “easy” Secondly: What the hell is wrong with being a “slut”? Guys do it all the time and no one bats an eyelash… but here on this very thread claiming equality of the sexes you have comments saying women are sluts so they are just as bad as men who harrass. NEWSFLASH: Sleeping around insult or violate ANYONE. Harrassing unsuspecting women DOES violate someone else’s rights and space and comfort. Women and men should be free to sleep around equally… but noone should be free to grope, grab or just plain harrass anyone.

  43. I just got back from traveling in Italy, an American woman on her own. I was in Tuscany only but found the Italian men to be fabulous. They are confident, flirtatious, generous and warm, but most of all, respectful. I can’t wait to go back!

    1. What ever. I think what you mean is that you were a sucker. Confident? How about phony bravado. Generous, warm and respectful??? You were fooled. If you think being self absorbed and egotisical is warm. Good luck. They played you like a violin it sounds. American women are pathetic and live in a fantasy world and Italian men know it.

      1. Why are you so bitter? Maybe the men she met WERE in fact like she says. Stop buying into generalizations and try to accept some things aren’t how you seem to think they are

  44. wow what can i say but wow you people all have had a mix of experience. Italian men are the best lovers, i am actually with one right now and he is amazing beyond amazing and i am not even american. Its just that i wish he would be able to open up and talk where we can connect on an emotional level. But yes he is the best lover i have had, i have been with lebanesse, srilankan, spanish but this guys is not only sweet and respectful he is beyond everything i wanted. However my one question is do they ever settle do they ever get tired of playing the game,

  45. Oh oh… so sad to read how people speak about another people in terms of their natinality or sex. Women complain when men are inert and when they are too active… Men have the same complaint about women.

    Women like man’s attention (sure I speak about not extreme displays of it) and if Italian or any other men show their affection and attention in their own way, I think it’s very nice.

    I am Russian living in Ukraine, here men are more close and cold, but I have been speaking with my male friends and they told me that quite often they would love to complement a woman just for the sake of her beauty, but they don’t know how))) so if some men know how is great!)

  46. I’m currently in Northern Italy attending a language program through my university and while I have been harassed almost daily, I could not more disagree with the stereotypes of Italian men.

    While the Italian men that approached me have been assertve and confident never did I feel that they were overly pushy, and as someone else said it was FRESHING and flattering to have a confident guy with balls enough to talk to you. Yeah I said it. Also, someone visiting another culture should at least try to understand the culture… italian women are known for being quite confident themselves and not afraid to smack a guy if necessary… in which case things balance out.

    Italian guys know their limits when they approach a girl, and I’m sorry to say that many young Americans come to italy looking for a “good time,” and American women are treated like many American girls think its okay to act in a foreign country.

    Like I said, real Italian men have been nothing but respectful to me. Manybe because I don’t fit their stereotype of American girls. The only “Italians” that haven’t have have been direspectful though have been immigrants pretending to be italian. Arabs, Africans, and Albanian that if Muslim have their own views on appropriate behavior toward women.

    In general and in every culture, stereotype are always present… though being aware enough to maneaver and dismiss them is key.

    That being said, safety is the most important thing, and like my mother always said, don’t expect to be treated with respect if you don’t show class… and if guys don’t give it to you don’t be afraid to demand it… because you’re worth that and more. It really quite okay for a women to take control of a situation and if a guy doesn’t listen, get help or don’t be afraid to smack him one.

  47. Sorry, internet is weird here and the thing submitted before I could fix typos:

    I’m currently in Northern Italy attending a language program through my university and while I have been harassed almost daily, I could not disagree more with the stereotypes of Italian men.

    While the Italian men that have approached me have been assertve and confident never did I feel that they were overly pushy, and as someone else said it was FRESHING and flattering to have a confident guy with balls enough to talk to a women. Yeah I said it. Also, someone visiting another culture should at least try to understand the culture… italian women are known for being quite confident themselves and not afraid to smack a guy if necessary… in which case things balance out.

    Italian guys know their limits when they approach a girl, and I’m sorry to say that many young Americans come to italy looking for a “good time,” and American women are treated like many American girls think its okay to act in a foreign country.

    As I said before, Italian men have been nothing but respectful toward me. Manybe because I don’t fit their stereotype of American women. The only “Italians” that have been direspectful though have been immigrants pretending to be Italian. Arabs, Africans, and Albanian that if Muslim have their own views on appropriate behavior toward women.

    In general and in every culture, stereotype are always present… though being aware enough to maneaver and dismiss them is key.

    Nevertheless safety is the most important thing, and like my mother always said, don’t expect to be treated with respect if you don’t show class… and if a guy doesn’t give it to you don’t be afraid to demand it… because as a women you’re worth that and more. It’s really quite okay for a women to take control of a situation and if a guy doesn’t listen, get help, or don’t be afraid to smack him one.

    1. I agree with you. they all take advantage of foreigners, and especially american teenage girls (or college girls). The thing is, we americans have a fantasized perspective of europe and european men… and THEY KNOW we fall for their accents and think they are so romantic and all this other bullshit.

  48. WHATT??!! i fucking lovee it! im an american girl and i totally think its appropriate for italian men/boys to whistle, flirt, comment, etc. i LOVE it when people are outgoing! okay, perhaps not an old 70 yr old man grabbing a young woman (CREEPYYY). its just a sign of acknowledgement of a woman’s beauty and i think its totally okay! and plus they all are so mannerful…. ❤ ❤ i had a thing with this one italian guy (omgshhh SO HOT!) and while he was only looking for a sex fling, he was such a sweetheart.

    hater's stop hating! seriously.

  49. I met one over the summer through an internship program in NYC. While we didnt really get to meet in the program, he talked to me on facebook after the program. he was very cocky. “how could you not forget such a hot guy like me?!”
    because it was on facebook chat, it was hard to tell if he was just being playful or actually cocky. and then we skyped… he claimed he didnt have a mic, so we could only skype chat (what utter bullshit). and then he told me to take my clothes off. and i had enough.

    it was reallyy really disappointing. i hate people.

  50. I am an Italian American man, and Italian men from Italy are known for pushing their charm on women. Why not? I mean, don’t all people of every culture do this in some way or another.
    As the opposite sex of a woman, I do the same when I see a beautiful lady come into view. Italians are lovers, and love to make love! Here in America, we call it F—ing, which in my opinion is a disgusting way of putting it! However, many of our American women are gold diggers, looking for the handsomes of men with the biggest p—s, or going for thug criminal types, dress trashy, with tattoos, druggies, and are easy to get into bed! Also, there are many women trying to be professonal types, which aren’t any better, dancing topless or prostituting, so they can make it through college! Then afterwards, they wanting to be accepted and respected as an upstanding person? GO FIGURE!
    There are also the air heads, which in my opinion are complete stupid idiots! Then you have the pruddish women whom seem to have it together, but are completely cold! Then there are the professonal types, whom wouldn’t give a guy like myself the time of day! Well, I am a clear thinking, decent looking, clean cut working man, making a great salary, compassionate, honest, mannerable, nice dressing, without any tattoos!
    I do look at women, and sometimes flirt, and what is so wrong with that? I am a man! That is what men do to attract the opposite sex! It is your vibe to feel attractive or not! What do you women really want out of life? All of those negative things above? If some of you women are so hung up on that, then you either don’t know how to stop a guy short, or know how love is created! It starts with the first look, and a compliment!

    1. May I add also, a real man is attracted to a woman whom is decent, having respect for herself, and respecting a man for whom he is!

  51. My experience dating an Italian man suggested that there are two core aspects to the socialization of men in Italian culture (just my perception of course). Men are supposed to be sexually desirable while also still being a family man. How these two things work themselves out would depend on the person.

    I do believe that people are inevitably responsible for their own behaviours, end of story. Just because a women dresses or acts a certain way does not give anyone the right to harass or rape them. These kinds of perceptions are murky to say the least. What to one person might be forward sexuality and provocative garb might simply be that persons personality and cultural dress. I know lots of girls who wear casual clothes that some in more traditional cultures would view as slutty but who are certainly not. North American dress and culture is less stuffy when it comes to clothing and apparel and should not be viewed as lose morals.

    If a man is making advances towards a women and he’s getting nowhere then back off, she’s not interested. Obviously, the women who are commenting on this thread about being harassed did not want the attention. Having to run away from a man is a CLEAR indication to him that she’s not interested. Once again, we are all responsible for our own behavious, there is no excuse for harassment or rape, no one deserves either.

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