Most single straight women I know have a fun collection of dating anecdotes involving misbehaving men.
After last weekend’s ski trip to Thredbo, I now have two new shocks for my personal archive.
On Friday night in the hotel lounge, a drunk guy intruded on my conversation with some friends, made a sordid comment that one of us would like to share a bed with him tonight- there (nudge nudge, wink wink) and then left a fart so offensively pungent, I think it burned my nostril hairs.
READ MORE: Why Dr. Katrina Warren refuses to take her pet to the dog park
The next evening, while I was at the bar waiting to order a drink, I struck up a conversation with the handsome guy standing next to me. I thought there was a nice little flirtatious vibe, until he ordered eight vodka sodas for his friends, then tried to convince the bartender to put them all on my bill. He wasn’t even joking.
(As my friend Lizzy so cunningly pointed out, “This guy really doesn’t deserve his good looks.”)
I can’t help but compare the appalling behavior of these drongos with the deliciously charming Italian men I met while vacationing in Europe just a few weeks ago.
I’m amazed at how vastly different my recent experiences with the opposite sex have been across the globe.
READ MORE: Meghan gives her first speech in the UK since leaving the royal family
On the rare occasions a guy tries to hit on me here at home, it’s usually, unfortunately, a drunken pest (according to the farting bandit above). But in Italy, it was a whole different story.
A vacation romance was definitely not on my to-do list, and yet I managed to attract more male attention in those two weeks in Italy than in Australia in the past two years. And what I discovered is this: Italian men have absolutely mastered the art of “flirting”.
“I’m not saying all Australian men have romantic problems. I’m under no illusions that all Italian men are angels.”
I don’t know why they’re so collectively capable when it comes to wooing, but for what it’s worth, here’s where I think they succeed.
I think, above all, that they are not afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. And they don’t need liquid courage to do it. Italian men generally seem more advanced than Australian men, but they manage to do so without appearing arrogant or rude. There were no corny chat lines. No gross innuendo. And fortunately, no passage of wind.
They are also excellent communicators, despite the obvious language barrier. All the men I met seemed to genuinely engage in our conversations. In fact, they asked questions and they listened to my answers.
It was a nice contrast to the majority of dates I’ve had in Australia recently, where the men talk about themselves all the time and don’t ask me a single question. And no, it’s not me who’s jaded or bitter. Unfortunately, this is only a fact.
The Italian men I met were all overly generous with compliments and they certainly weren’t afraid to let me know they were interested, but it never seemed to come with an expectation that it would inevitably lead to something else thing.
After a wonderfully enjoyable evening chatting with a lovely guy in a bar in Rome, he walked my friend and I down the street, got us a taxi, opened the door for us when he arrived, asked for my number, kissed the back of my hand and said a very polite goodnight.
READ MORE: Mum’s struggle for mental health as she’s isolated from her daughter
I compare this to one of my recent meetings in Sydney. When the guy realized I wasn’t going to sleep with him he jumped in the first taxi he could hail after dinner and left me standing on the street outside the restaurant alone to find my own path.
(By the way, it’s been a very long time in kissing hands for this single girl, and I’d like it on record that I believe it’s one of the most underrated romantic gestures and I don’t have it not found condescending at all. In fact, it was incredibly chivalrous and adorable and I would absolutely wish for more of that in my love life thank you very much.)
I’m not saying all Australian men have romantic problems. I sympathize with all the decent guys who have been unfairly tarnished by the alarming number of clowns on the dating scene.
I have no illusions either that all Italian men are angels. I’m sure there are plenty of lotharios prowling around in that Tuscan sun.
I’ve never dated an Italian, so I don’t know how they rank as romantic partners, but I can absolutely confirm that they are world champion flirters. And I really enjoyed my two-week international charm offensive. It was all incredibly flattering. Intoxicating, even.
The men I met in Italy all had a unique way of making me feel a little special (did I mention the hand kiss?!). As for the theory that Italian men make better lovers…? I am unable to confirm. Or deny.
Now please excuse me while I Google “2023 Airfare Specials to Rome”.
Follow Sami on Instagram @samilukis
Pop Culture’s Most Captivating Love Stories