Tess, American

How long have you lived in Italy?
Long enough to crack and settle down with a native.

One word to sum up the dating experience in Rome?
Exhausting

Can you describe the worst date you’ve ever had here?
Gladly. This guy I had seen a couple of times invited me and my friend, who was visiting me from the US, out to dinner. The first thing he said when I arrived was “you cut your hair.” When I asked what he thought of it, he replied that he preferred girls with long hair (mind you, I had trimmed about 2 inches off). His initial rudeness aside, everything was going fine – despite the fact that he picked one of the most overrated and overpriced “trendy” restaurants in Rome – until he went outside to smoke a cigarette with his buddy.

When dinner arrived 30 minutes later, they were still nowhere to be seen. After our attempt at civility left our food lukewarm, rendering it even less appetizing, we started eating and he finally graced us with his presence, finished his plate, and promptly returned outside to have another smoke. After another half hour passed, I was seeing red and decided to get my coat and leave before the dessert, the check, or he arrived. As my friend and I were leaving, he was coming in to “check on us” and acted surprised when I told him I was going home. In the end, he picked up the tab and I picked up a new Italian vocabulary word: cafone.

And the best date so far?
My current boyfriend owns a bicycle shop on Via Monte di Brianzo and he’s always building new bikes for us to adventure on. When we first started seeing each other this summer, I had to go and meet a friend at FCO very early in the morning as she was changing planes from New York to Sicily. Wanting to make the trip out worth my while, he decided to take a train to Fiumicino just after I left, bringing the tandem bike he built along for the ride. When I came out of the airport, he was waiting for me on the bike, which had been loaded up with an umbrella, towels and a picnic lunch for the beach.

Do Italians go Dutch or does a gentleman pay for a girl’s meal here?
It depends if he’s a real man or a rich asshole. The rich ones usually pay, but I guess, so do you in the end.

What is the pick-up line you hear most often in Rome?
In this case, I’d say the stereotype holds true: Ciao bella!

Are the Italians more passionate than Anglosaxons or is this just the stereotype?
They are certainly more forward with their emotions early on. I don’t think I’ve ever been doted on so much by any American man. It’s easy to be fooled by the Latin charm, but once you find the right Italian, you are loved so well that it makes all the cowards, two-timers and mammone along the way well worth it.

Is the dating culture easier than back home or harder and why?
I’d say harder, especially for foreign women who haven’t been in giro long enough to know that their “boyfriend” has actually been fidanzato with his Italian girlfriend since middle school. I haven’t had this happen to me personally, but I’ve seen enough of my friends be fooled by this behavior, in one case for 4 months!

Your favourite bar/discoteca to flirt in Rome?
Anything where FCVG is spinning.

Your favourite restaurant for a dinner date?
Bibliothe – the cute little Ayurvedic restaurant around the corner from the Gesù.

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