I can’t imagine ever being mistaken for un’italiana, despite my dark hair – I just don’t carry off “the look” right. (I’d be willing to try harder if we moved there, of course, but that’s another story.) But apparently blondes in Italy are “considered exotic,” even if some of them are native Italians. This is an excerpt from a recent blog entry by guidebook author and tour guide Rick Steves:
Rome epitomizes the male-dominated Mediterranean world. Going to dinner with Chiara, a Roman guide and friend of mine who’s petite, blonde, and with a thin (almost cartoony) voice, I learned a lot. Chiara explained, “Italian men just can’t take a blonde seriously — especially one with a thin voice.” In fact, she refuses to guide Italian groups now that she knows American groups take her seriously. … “About 20 percent of Roman women are blonde like me, but we’re still considered exotic.”
In addition to commenting on the relative “exoticism” of blondes in Rome, Chiara also spoke to Rick about what Italian diners expect vs. what American diners expect:
“American food has to travel, look good, and be available all year. Italian food does none of that…just taste good. We Italians have never seen apples with wax. I even saw waxed lemons — shiny only in the USA. For Italians, your lemons are too uniform.”
“An American can’t wait in a restaurant. They eat bread dipped in oil before the meal comes…as if to escape the actual meal. Talk, sip your wine, relax…the real food is coming…and worth the wait.”
It’s a brief blog entry, so do read the whole thing.
Photo by: Riccardo Diotallevi