A crotch shot at 6:30 AM is better than a shot of espresso….

I had an alarming wake up call this morning.

I have a ritual Monday thru Friday. My alarm goes off, I mumble something close to “fuck” under my breath, lay there for approximately 2 minutes thinking “I can’t believe I actually have to get up and do this work thing every day till I’m old and everything sags,” followed by approximately 2 minutes of social media gawking on my phone.

While cruising Facebook, a picture of an Italian guy I dated popped up on my newsfeed: seductively propped on his elbows on a pool lounge chair with a…yea I’m gonna say it….pink speedo, legs spread open, full on crotch shot at the camera.

Jesus Christ. So Italian.

Screenshot and send it to a friend. She just moved from Milan so I know that picture will make her miss it…..or not.

I shake my head. So Italian.

This gentleman makes up a certain breed of men here. I’m not sure if we can slap a Northern or Southern Italian label on this one (though behavior such as this warrants many to dub it Southern, but maybe that’s just because I live in the North). Nevertheless, he’s really an interesting creature, one who has tapped into his inner amateur model and feels an overwhelming duty to share it with the world. I would say 85% of Italian men have this photo somewhere in the mix, you may have to dig. Some have entire albums, not-so-subtle, shrines to their pensive poolside pics, skimpy swimsuit included. I’ve seen even better backdrops than the beach too: seductive posing on motorcycles, in doorways, hugging a punching bag, in front of a Buddah…the list goes on. They’ve got quite the eye for this thing. It’s like a right of passage or something.

I’ll tell ya another thing too, I still can’t get used to the widely spread acceptance of the speedo. That, in and of itself makes me look the other way in a curious mix of disgust and embarrassment. I will forever be trying not to laugh when I see a young, attractive guy in one of those things and think: oh, this is all kinds of wrong. Doesn’t he have friends?

Yes. And his friends are all wearing the same thing, taking group shots. 

Nice bod, good face….and a banana hammock. Why don’t you just strap on the fanny pack and gouge my eyes out right now?

I used to stalk a guy at the gym. He was gi-normous by Italian standards, which is probably why I used to swoon over him because he was the closest thing to American I could get. One day I found him on Facebook. And there it was. Like the Hulk in his undies. That was the end of that.

A guy I dated from Calabria has one on all fours with the water splashing up behind him while simultaneously bearing his teeth (as if he were roaring, yes, like a lion, while the picture was being taken). Are you cringing? Because I am. Maybe he just has a higher threshold for embarrassment? Could be. I once watched him shave his legs in an outdoor shower while his mom called him an idiot for doing so. I just gave her look that said “I concur.”

My question is, why? And better yet, why??

And even more perplexing, who, might I add, takes these pictures? Their girlfriend? If my boyfriend asked me to partake in his photo shoot on the beach, that might just be the end of our relationship. His mom? Or even weirder, his guy friend? I can’t imagine any American guy I know doing this….”Hey bro, can you get a couple shots of me on the beach? No, wait, I didn’t like my face in that one. Re-do! Hold up, can you take it from a higher angle, it makes me look less fat.”

Maybe they’re just getting in their model pics while everything’s still high and tight. I respect that.

So in that spirit, I take that uncomfortably posed picture:


and I raise you this:




Yes, four and a half years in Italy, I have a right of passage myself after all…..