Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Survive an Italian Woman

Italians. They're everywhere. Or at least a lot of places. There's a good chance you'll come across one at some point in your life. You may even have the good fortune of marrying one, as the husband did. He may not refer to it so much as "fortune" but rather a life sentence. I can assure you, he's kidding.
That husband, such a jokester.
I am also Irish. If you are thinking that perhaps that is the most deadly combination in the history of ever, you are right. But I will save tales of my Irish charm for another post. Today is all about being Italian and telling you what to do should you ever come across one.

In short, run like hell.

Kidding, kidding. We're actually an amazing people (as I'm sure you've witnessed by reading this blog). But still, it's good to be prepared. Following are a few things you should know about Italian women to make your experience with them more rewarding.

Food. Life revolves around it. If an Italian woman is hosting a dinner for five people, she will, at minimum, have enough food for 15.

Now, although the Italian woman is preparing and cooking enough food to, literally, feed an army, she will at one point, stop what she's doing, turn to her sweet long-suffering significant other and woefully ask, "Do you think I'm making enough food?"

The answer is obvious, right? "Of course, dear! There's plenty!"

WRONG! Do not ever say this to an Italian woman during the food prep stage. Unless you want it to be your last day on earth. She won't so much as kill you as she will weep and worry and accuse you of not caring about the party to the extent you will wish you were dead.

However, don't let this fool you into thinking you should respond with, "Hell, no, honey! There's not enough food." If you say this, you might as well jam a meat thermometer in your jugular because you have just insulted her ability to host a party, which is like saying there's a flaw in her DNA.

Basically, being married to an Italian woman is like walking a tightrope thousands of feet in the air over a jagged, rocky canyon with blood-thirty alligators at the bottom. One small slip and you plunge to your death.

Italian women are fixers. As the great Vanilla Ice once said, "If there was a problem, yo I'll solve it."
Lyrical Genius, this guy
The correct, and only response, to the "Am I making enough food?" question is to silently assess the food in varying stages of readiness with a look of extreme concentration and thoughtfulness before finally responding, "Er, um, well, maybe there could be more..."

This will make the Italian woman extremely happy because she senses a problem (not enough food) to which she has a solution (more food waiting in the wings). There's always more food waiting in the wings. In fact, it probably is wings. And ribs. And cutlets. And three types of dip. And eggplant parmigiana. And linguini, shrimp scampi, bacon-wrapped scallops, mini quiche, crab legs, soup and pretty much any other food you can think of. And if, by chance, she did not make your favorite dish, you can guarantee she will have made it at the next dinner party, along with all the other aforementioned food.

Which is why you should alternate between fasting and stretching out your stomach for weeks in advance of attending an Italian woman's dinner party. The reasons for this are twofold: 1. If you don't pace yourself, very bad things will happen;

Mastering the art of pacing yourself. The end result is the same, it just takes longer to get there.
and 2. You may think you're done eating, but the Italian woman has other ideas. Which brings me to point number 2...

The guilt. Italian women are always watching...and waiting. After heaping a mound of food high enough on your plate to rival Mt. Everest, she will wait until you've scraped every last morsel off of said plate and look as though you are about to explode to say, "Aren't you going to eat?"

All aboard, folks! The guilt train is leaving the station.

You: I did eat. I ate A LOT.

Italian woman: Here, have some more.

You: Oh no, I couldn't possibly. I am so full.

Italian woman: You didn't like it?

You: I loved it! That's why I ate so much.

(Look at you, trying to use logic to reason with an Italian woman. Your naivete is so cute.)

Italian woman: What, specifically, didn't you like? Everything? It was all bad, wasn't it? I knew I ruined dinner.

You (starting to panic now): What?! No! It was delicious!

Italian woman (weepy eyes, quivering lips): You don't love me. If you loved me, you would eat.

You (look of total bewilderment): I do love you! Look! I'm going to eat. Are there any chickens left?

Italian woman: Yes! There are eight whole chickens left. How many would you like?

Nothing makes an Italian woman happier than watching people eat mass quantities of food that she's cooked.
Warped sense of reality. The husband could probably give you many examples of this, but I shall only give you one. Last fall, when my mother and I were planning the menu for Christmas Eve dinner, my mother bemoaned the fact that she doesn't have any recipes.

Me: What do you mean? Like a recipe book?

My mother: Like, recipes. I don't have any recipes.

Now, in addition to the the literally countless number of cookbooks lining her shelves (I seriously mean "countless", numbers have not yet been invented to count that high) she also has this:

Not one, but two binders full of recipes she has gathered from all over creation. Recipes are organized by type, but not just "appetizers," "main dishes," "desserts" but by Lemon Bars! Apple Pies! Spinach Quiche! Peach Cobbler! Bread! etc, etc, etc.
A closer look at one of the books. My mom, the queen of organization, deserves mad props for allowing me to photograph this and post it on my blog without it being in perfect organized condition.
Clearly, the woman has no recipes.

And finally...Communicating. There is only one way for Italians to communicate: by talking loudly and gesticulating wildly. The first time the husband came home with me to meet my family, he walked into the kitchen where my mother and I were talking, and quickly left.

The husband (later that evening): Wow, what were you and your mom fighting about?

Me: We weren't fighting, we were talking.

Basically, Italians have two volumes: loud and louder.

There you have it, a few things to keep in mind so that your time with an Italian woman will be the most enriching, rewarding experience it can be.

Cannoli, anyone?

I do realize this post was rather long. But that was intentional, lest anyone ever accuse an Italian woman of getting directly to the point.

Thank you all for your sweet words and support in response to yesterday's post. You have no idea who much your words mean to me. THANK YOU.

And now! Time for some comment gems from the last few posts:

Coffee Lovin' Mom: Facebook blows - but my family is there so I have to stay until they all unfriend me...

Pish Posh: Oh yeah, Facebook, weird. Most people in real life talk about facebook all the time like it was a party we all went to last night.

Jaye Robin Brown: I loathe Facebook. Mostly because I spent a winter playing Farmville where I couldn't grow Fava beans or keep my Flowering trees from dying because I'd forgotten about Farrowing the Fields.

Coffee Lovin' Mom: I am almost a bottle in and about to be the easter bunny...there are 15 hard boiled eggs - please remind me of that tomorrow okay?

Jennifer A. Hall: You are so insane!

Quote of the Day:
The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.  By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. 
 ~Mark Twain

Word of the Day:
imbroglio: a complicated and embarrassing state of things



  1. Hahahah oh man, the chicken thing reminds me of pretty much every conversation between me and Boyfriend ever. (Including today's.)

    1. Me and hubs and you and boyfriend should hang out.

  2. I really enjoyed this! I've always been fascinated with Italians. I wish I was one. I'll have to settle with 1/24 Jewish, 1/8 Sioux Indian and 3/4 Southern. I don't even know what that adds up to. Hope you're feeling better. Glad you blogged today.

  3. Yep - my significant other is an Italian woman. And I'm all Southern and half Jew - it's a big old guilt fest in my house twenty four seven.

  4. Last Fall when you were planning X-mas Eve dinner? Last fall? As in autumn? As in before Halloween?

    1. Yes, the Christmas Eve menu gets planned MONTHS in advance.

  5. ah it was like reading about my grandmother she is still like that and i noticed that i turned out semi like her when i host dinners ( even though im a guy, does this mean the above applies to guys too?!) gotta love Italian women!

  6. OMG! I think we're related! I'm Italian & Irish too. My husband is Russian and Polish. My poor kids. Do you know what they're best at? Carbo loading!

  7. My husband is Italian. In fact, the only boys I ever knew were Italian or Polish. And they were all Catholic, which was a serious problem for my mother, the Presbyterian from Scotland. In fact, I had to go to Presbyterian college to meet a nice Presbyterian boy. They all dumped me, even though one is a facebook friend now. I think he is having regrets. He should, dammit. So my brother, sister and I all married Catholics. Not necessarily to spite my mother, but in order to have fish fry on Fridays. As if I needed an excuse.
    I am very sorry about your kitty. We have two grandkittens, and we love them very much. I am thinking of you.

  8. Finally someone explained it to me in terms I understand. I'm Italian. Thank you.

    Happy seeing beautiful!

  9. Dude!
    My husband IS an Italian woman.
    You just described him. And his aunt. And his dearly departed mother who only married an Italian. I always hear stories about long-dead uncles who "were Mafia"
    Ok, to answer your question: GCB stands for Good Christian Bitches which is the name of the book the show was written after. Love it!

  10. My mom has printed every recipe that's ever been on the internet and has them all stuffed in a drawer because 'one day' she's gonna put them in binders like your mom's. She's been saying this for years. At least she's got the printing and stuffing in a drawer part down.

    I'm not sure I'd survive a dinner at your house. Has anyone ever exploded? :)

  11. I went to an Italian wedding once. including the dinner. the 7 course dinner. and of course, open bar.
    It was about 14 years ago....I think the indigestion is coming along pretty well. any day now I could probably eat some chicken.

  12. HEllo cannoli - yes please! This reminds me of the hours it took to get through a meal in Europe gluttoning ourselves with cheese and wine. Talk about a warped sense of reality - let's go!

  13. My family is Jewish but raised for a time in the Middle East. My husband's family is 3rd or 48th generation Canadian. Last night My Big Fat Greek Wedding was on. It was like watching our engagement and wedding all over again. Food, food, guilt, yell, guilt, food, food, food, guilt, guilt, yell. I don't know how else to communicate with my family.

  14. Your poor husband -- wearing the Peter Pan costume again, I see.

  15. I come from a German family, where half of us were fat, (I still am) so we were always being watched and told to stop "overdoing"! I wish I could eat like an Italian!

  16. I am here to attest to the fact that this is all true! I used to have such a hard time getting a word in when I was with my mom's side of the family. My voice just doesn't carry! And I took it personally. Poor me. But it's OK now. I've learned to speak the hell up if I need to say something!

    1. Oh, and that pacing yourself while eating part? I can totally do that. I'm awesome at a buffet and have no patience for others who have only 1 or 2 plates of food. Total waste of money!

  17. Yup, you nailed it, you described me and every other Italian women I know perfectly. I do this no matter when I cook, what I cook or who I cook for. If I just make my husband a sandwich, I ask him 50 questions about the goddam sandwich. I worry and obsess so much over every little thing when I cook, that I usually have no appetite by the time I sit down to eat the meal. I just watch and stare at my family like a lunatic...

    1. Exactly! I am never hungry by the time I finish cooking.

  18. This is perfect! Well played!

  19. I'm Italian and Irish too!! More Italian though, and you're absolutely spot on about the food. I would always get drilled by my grandmother if I didn't go back for "thirds" at every meal.

    1. Ah yes, grandmother's. The older they are, the better they are with the guilt.

  20. Except for the recipe part, you could just substitute "Dutch woman" for "Italian woman" in almost every sentence!

    You only ate three platefuls of food? What? You don't like? Here, have some more.

    Ahhh, but the recipes? No recipes! Recipes are for amateurs. A pinch of this and handful of that and when it smells right, it's done.

    And then I went to a christening party at the home of a family from Mexico. It was the same way! It must just be Americans who don't shove a plate in your hand before you can take off your coat.

    Got a big kick out of this one, SC!

    1. I know! That's what makes the whole thing extra hilarious. My mom never actually uses the recipe. She just makes it up as she goes along.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. This is great I am currently interested in a beautiful Italian woman.I was looking for something to read to give me some idea of what to expect.This was a great read and made my day,FUNNY Thanks for your help lol

    1. one thing is right,you won't starve if you marry an italian woman

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. I'm scared....>.> <. < j/k. Sounds like fun. So this is what my future has in store for me.


I had to change my comment settings because I was getting too much spam. You can no longer comment anonymously. (I don't think anyone besides the spammers were doing this.) But I don't want to block the rest of you from commenting! If you're having trouble, tweet me at @sarcasmgoddess or email sarcasmgoddess at ymail dot com and I'll see what I can do to fix it.