I met this great Italian guy recently. Actually, great may not even do him justice.

After 5 1/2 years in this country, I think I’ve met my ideal match.

Now before all of you at home get too excited that I may break my nearly 15-year single streak and start spouting the whole “he could be the one” mantra, …back it into the station. He just left last week for the States because that’s where he wants to live. Imagine that. The American girl who had a dream to live in Italy met the one Italian guy who wants to blow this clambake. The irony is just gut wrenching.

In any case, in the short time I had to spend with this guy, I found he was a perfect mix of both cultures, a really difficult find in these parts. All the Italian qualities that I love minus the ones that make me roll my eyes, and dare I say it, just a subtle hint of American in there.

His generally chill and not-giving-a-shit attitude is refreshing.

He wears T-shirts in the winter without worrying about getting sick. No concerns of the cold air hitting some exposed body part, thus causing a muscle ache, neck ache, tummy ache, ear ache or any other ache to some uncharted muscle that only Italians have heard of (and probably invented).

When he told me he LOVED air conditioning, I fell just a little bit harder.

Where did you come from? Tell me more….

And when he properly used the word “douchebag” in context (let’s remember English is not his first language so this is HUGE), I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. He had me hooked.

This guy breaks with every Italianism I have come to know over the past five years.

And then one Friday night, over a delicious pizza, I got jolted back to reality.

Somewhere between the pizza and the limoncello, he leaned across the table and started making out with me.

Thanks to my Calabrese blood, I’m too tan to blush, but I’m pretty sure I was turning a million shades of red on the inside.

I gave it the whole “ok ok, that’s enough,” like you say to a child you’re trying to calm down.

And this is where the real American came out of me.

Going on six years here, I’d like to think I’ve inherited some real Italian qualities: I never go out with bare legs from October to April, I don’t order cappuccino after 11AM, I don’t ask for a doggy bag, I wear scarves more than I used to, I have Italian complaining down pat, I know how to manhandle that bidet, I never buy fruits and vegetables out of season (mostly to avoid ridicule), dinner before 8PM is absurd, pesante has infiltrated my vocab and waiting in line is a fool’s game.

But Jesus….kiss me in public, and we’re gonna have a problem. I magically transform into a grande, prude-like, figa di legno.

For a country that seems to be overly concerned with appearance, how things look to others and maintaining this Bella Figura, Italy has absolutely zero issue with PDA. I would say it’s rather a part of their genetic make-up.

Whether it’s on the metro platform at morning rush hour or at the Fountain by Castello Sforzesco in front of a group of nuns, Italians will be tongue-deep in their significant other as if nobody else around them exists.

A situation I awkwardly found myself in this one Friday evening.

Not in a club or a dark bar, or a desolate side street, no. That, fueled by some cocktails, is a bit easier. Been there done that. But this was in a brightly-lit pizzeria where we were already eating on top of other people to begin with and he “just couldn’t wait.”

After we joked about it, I told him I was sorry, but we’re just not used to doing this in the States. Then he wanted to know (I suppose to prepare for his move to the States), if holding hands was socially acceptable. Well, of course it is!

Although on a personal note, I have some issues committing to this as well and strategically try to wriggle out of a hand hold, but that’s neither here nor there.

When I think about Italian culture and what I’ve learned from observing people over the years, this easy, go with the flow attitude towards PDA just doesn’t add up….yet it’s EVERYWHERE.

Last weekend I took a little day trip to Pavia with some girlfriends.

Pavia

This is me on a gloomy day in Pavia. Look a little closer over my left shoulder….

Pavia

And for the final close up:

PDA

Nothing screams PDA like a girl straddling, who I assume is her boyfriend, on a park bench. You go girl.

The park is also a place I like to go to often here in Milan. In the Spring and Summer time, there’s some great parks in the center of Milan to just go, chill, and apparently……dry hump your girlfriend:

PDA

My American friend and I just sat there and watched in awe. Like, get a room…or at least a bush for some coverage.

Whether it’s a lush green park in the center of Milan or a sandy beach in Tuscany, the urge to straddle each other in public remains all the same here in Italy. I snapped this on the beach in Viareggio:

PDA

Then there are the usual settings. If you find yourself at any airport, train platform or bus terminal in Italy, expect to wade through a sea of passionate couples who seem to be sending their loved ones off to electric chair by the looks of their always intense make out sessions:

kissing in Italy

Then there’s your lunch hour on a park bench in Palazzaccio in Rome:

kissing in Rome

And of course outside Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome:

kissing in Rome

Though, to be fair, this place makes me wanna make out with someone too.

But me sitting here wrinkling my nose at the thought of it tells me I’m just not “there” yet.

I’m just not that Italian yet.

Maybe next year.