Latin lovers lose their touch and Vespas
Italy’s fabled “Latin lovers” are missing the mark with foreign belles, according to a poll that said nearly four in five women tourists were unmoved by Italian men’s charms. Source: AFP
A NEW survey has suggested that Italian men have lost the art of picking up women.
It was only last month that Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister and self-professed Casanova, urged ambassadors and businessman at a Milan conference to “bring some pretty girls over to Italy some time” because they would be appreciated by “us Latins”.
But as Mr Berlusconi’s political career apparently founders, so too, it seems, does the myth of the Latin lover.
According to a survey released yesterday, a majority of foreign female visitors find Italian men humourless, infantile, feminine and unathletic.
Italian men still win points for being gallant, well-dressed and attentive. But 79 per cent of the 1,000 foreign women interviewed for the tourist and gastronomy magazine Vie del Gusto said that they would not fall for an Italian.
Fifty-one per cent said that Italian men lacked “cheerfulness and a sense of humour” and 49 per cent complained that they were childish – a reflection, perhaps, of the phenomenon of “mamma’s boys”, in which Italian males stay at home as long as possible to be cossetted by their mothers.
As a result, Italian men “show more of their feminine than their masculine side”, according to 57 per cent of the women polled.
Those most likely to win female hearts, despite all these failings, are students, followed by businessmen and holiday resort DJs and entertainers.
Some comfort there, perhaps, for the Prime Minister, who is not only a wealthy businessman, but began his career as a cruise ship crooner.
However, he recently told a news conference that “my playboy days are over”, admitting that he was a bit past it at 73.
Italian women still find their men attractive – although even here there are some doubts. A few years ago a medical congress in Rome was told that six out of ten Italian women claimed to be “sexually dissatisfied” with their husbands, partners or lovers.
A more recent survey suggested that Italian men had lost the art of picking up women, including foreign tourists, at beach resorts, bars and pavement cafes. “Death of the gigolo”, ran one headline.
As if to confirm the trend, La Repubblica newspaper yesterday reported a one-third drop over the past year in sales of motor scooters such as the legendary Vespa.
This was once an essential part of the Italian male’s armoury of seduction, as symbolised by Gregory Peck’s iconic ride around Rome with Audrey Hepburn in the film Roman Holiday.
In the past many an Italian male has whisked his beloved off into the countryside on his Vespa, her arm round his waist. Corrado Capelli, head of the National Association of Cycles and Motorcycles, blamed the decline on the economic crisis.
He said that Italian manufacturers hoped to make up for the drop in sales of a “symbol of freedom and romance” by exporting scooters to China and Brazil instead.