As a Black woman, when you inform people that you’re involved in an interracial relationship, you’re bound to receive a variety of responses. A majority of the time, the responses will sit on the fence of either being negative or nonchalant. Naturally, the people who are responding to the information are slightly inquisitive, but they may or might not want to know more.
However, when you’re a Black woman informing the receiver of the information that you’re dating an Italian man, the response changes. The eyebrows rise, the mouth opens up to a smile, and the eyes widen. The receiver becomes more inquisitive, and all of a sudden, you’re more interesting. I’ve received this type of response from all races of people, and it’s stronger when coming from women. It’s as if you’ve now said, “Yes, I’m dating an exotic sex god who bathes my body in passion, kisses, and romance, while feeding me the best tasting pasta and wine your taste buds will ever know.”
Whether that last statement is true or not, we can’t evade the fact that there is an ideology about Italian men. This ideology encompasses thoughts that elicit visions of Italian men being seductive, hardcore, romancers, passionate, well dressed / groomed, good cooks, and involved with the mafia. The media has done a great job with instilling these stereotypes, and I can’t lie, that was what originally sparked my interest in Italian men. I could remember watching The Godfather for the first time when I was ten years old (I snuck into my brother’s room to watch it), and I instantly fell in love with Al Pacino and Italian-themed movies. From that point, I watched every movie in the Godfather series, and I expounded upon my theatrical experiences with Italian actors. There was just something about them that made me gravitate towards the visuals. Maybe it was the way they walked, the way they talked…the way they took no shit off of anyone and boasted about it. Maybe it was the way they loved, filled with a mixture of vigor, adoration, and intensity. Whatever it was, I liked it.
As life progresses, you realize that people are stereotyped. From my experience, these stereotypes can either be true or false, and depending on which lens you wish to look through, you will have the ultimate decision to decipher. When I first started dating Joseph, I expected all of these stereotypes to be true. I made uneducated assumptions, and like the saying goes, I ended up making an ass out of myself because some of them weren’t true. Yet, in the same breath, I can honestly say that a majority of them were true. He is a very passionate and romantic man, takes no bullshit, and has that stubborn Sicilian embedded in him (a gift from his father). His pasta is INCREDIBLE (he grew up in a restaurant), and his favorite alcohol beverage is wine (the only beer we drink is Peroni…if it’s not Peroni, it’s not worth consuming). He loves women (all shapes, sizes, and color…within the darker spectrum, LOL). He has strong cultural ties to his Italian and Catholic background, and he is a family man. Joseph is a strong believer in taking care of the woman who will give birth to his children. He is an Italian…my Italian, and I love it.
Although I’m with Joseph, that doesn’t make me Italian, and I don’t claim to be. I don’t know all there is to know about the Italian culture, but with each day spend with Joseph, I’m adding to my learning experience. Some of it is wonderful, and some of it will require some time to get used to. I’m willing to learn, and that’s all that matters. I’m attracted to him, but I’m also intrigued by him. There is still that unknown about him that keeps me on my toes and wondering, “What will he do next?” Also, there is that romantic side that I love. It’s no wonder that the term “Casanova” is actually ½ of the name Giacomo Casanova (1725 – 1798). Giacomo was an Italian author who was also a well known womanizer. Via his words, Giacomo once stated, “Cultivating whatever gave pleasure to my senses was always the chief business of my life; I never found any occupation more important. Feeling that I was born for the sex opposite of mine, I have always loved it and done all that I could to make myself loved by it.” Additionally, Mr. Casanova also had a strong attraction towards women who were intelligent, for he is quotes as proclaiming, “After all, a beautiful woman without a mind of her own leaves her lover with no resource after he had physically enjoyed her charms.” <———That quote needs to be taught to the female youth…I’m just saying.* With that being said, each time I hear the word “Casanova,” I think of Italian men and how mentally, physically, and emotionally captivating they can be. Then I think of Joseph and how he captivated and continues to captivate me. Are all Italian men like Mr. Casanova? I don’t know, and I’m not one to falsify information just get my point across. To that I would suggest getting to know an Italian man (or men…I don’t hate) yourself and make your own unbiased decision.
In closing, this is one Black woman who is saying, “Viva Italia,” as she sips on her glass of Italian wine and kisses her Italian fiancé.