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Do the Italian men really bother a single woman?

Do the Italian men really bother a single woman?

Old Jun 7th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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Do the Italian men really bother a single woman?

I mentioned to my friend that I'll be going by myself to Rome where she's been. She told me to be real careful being on my own. Saying that the Italian men can be really annoying and pushy at times. Has anyone here experienced this??
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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Twenty years ago, I was whistled at while walking down the street in Rome. Last year, I didn't hear any whistles at all. What a difference twenty years can make!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:07 PM
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I you don't want to talk to them, then don't. Just keep walking. Unless you are something out of this world and dress the part they shouldn't be annoying and pushy if you ignore them.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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Ahh Schuler, how we wish somebody would... if not whistle, at least acknowledge, LOL
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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Yes, it's great
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Ah, those were great days weren't they "girls"? Enjoy it while you can but at the same time, as others have said, if you don't want the attention, ignor and keep going. I also think you will invite less attention if you dress a little bit on the conservative side. I'm not going to make a presumption about what you are planning on wearing. As I posted on another thread: there were times when I wanted attention and times I didn't, and dressed and acted according to the particular situation. You'll be just fine I'm sure. Enjoy your visit.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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I just returned from Italy, 2 single women in their 20's traveling alone. we had no problems and it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. Although there was a cute waiter who didn't want us to leave his restuarant.. hehe. A couple of guys said "Ciao Bella", but it was nothing we couldn't handle. Let me know if you have any other ?'s!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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While in Italy last month with my daughter, I observed several occasions when she was verbally harassed. She has long blonde hair, which does draw attention because it seems most Italians are brunettes, so she stands out in the crowd. I was walking behind her on the crowded sidewalks, and I could observe the men who passed her and would say something to her. She was used to it, having spent an entire semester in Italy, so had honed her skills in ignoring the comments. However, several of the men would then say something very offensive to her, when it was clear they were ignored. Obscene things, even.
This was even with me, obviously her Mom, directly behind her. Two men even reached out and touched her. I was appalled by this behavior, which is apparently commonplace.
She had grown accustomed to it. and didn't let it bother her anymore. But I thought it was really inappropriate rudeness. Made me appreciate American men!
 
Old Jun 7th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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It happens, and you'll just deal with it. The best way is to just ignore them and not engage in any conversation, and keep walking.

This has happened to me a number of times in different parts of Italy, be it alone by myself, or with my fellow traveler (who is also a woman).

I never felt unsafe except for one time - I was walking by myself in Florence at night, and this man on a bike kept trying to talk to me and circling around behind me. I kept ignoring him and picked up my pace and headed towards an area where there were more people around.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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Thank you all for your replies! I'm just not used to travel by myself and I always have my hubby to lean on for safety and everything. So this will be a new exciting (hopefully!) experience. I have that vision in my head from the movie "Under the Tuscan sun" when Diane Lane is being chased by those men and she pretends to be with that one man to get away from all the other Italians.....
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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I have a coworker who went on a solo trip to Italy expecting to have all of this male attention. She was just soooooo worried that she would be pinched, etc. When she returned we all asked her about it and she changed the subject, come to find out nothing of the sort happened and she was a little disappointed. She was wondering what was wrong with her looks, so it may happen and it may not. Not all the men are like that at all. Don't worry.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 10:17 PM
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I live in Italy and have found Italian men to be more forward when you are out in a social setting than American men are, but haven't had many problems being harassed on the street, etc. The men in bars can be very touchy (even with my husband there!), but I have always felt they are harmless and haven't ever been worried for my safety. Let them know that you aren't interested and they should get the hint and move on!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 10:34 PM
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Thanks for the whistle. Or acknowledgement.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 12:28 AM
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I agree with what the other posters have said: just ignore them !

A little anecdote about how straight-forward Italian men can be:

I was with my parents and my sister in a restaurant in Rome a few years ago. My father speaks Italian and after dinner the waiter simply asked if my sister and I wanted to go out with him, with my dad as a translator

Also I noticed that when my sister and mother were walking a few meters ahead of my dad and me, that guys would literally stop and turn around to look at their behinds.

But on the other hand it's nice to hear "Ciao bella!" every once in a while ;-)
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 02:22 AM
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Hi S,

>Do the Italian men really bother a single woman?<

Some aren't at all bothered.

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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 04:08 AM
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"The men in bars can be very touchy (even with my husband there!)"
This is a cultural clash, not sex harassment.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 05:00 AM
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This post made me think of a fairly famous photo by Ruth Orkin, <i>American Girl in Italy</i>:
http://tinyurl.com/mzrk7
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 05:13 AM
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When I was 16 I went to Italy for the first time with my family. It was really the first time ever that I noticed BEING noticed. I was just a kid, and got whistled at and oogled. I even got my butt grabbed in the rome train station.

Then my husband and I went to Italy for our honeymoon 2 years ago. I remember being surprised that I had none of the same experiences in terms of men's attention. Then, about halfway through the trip I walked to get gelato - without my husband. And there it was - whistles and the whole thing! They didnt bother me at all when my husband was around - but it was nonstop as soon as I looked single !

Really its not a big deal though. They arent rude or forceful, just really obvious
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 05:39 AM
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This is outdated information, but may help with perspective.

For many years I was involved with an Italian Renaissance Festival at Viscaya in Miami. Every year the festival would import flag-throwers from Asti, Italy for the festival.

As wenches (thus ladies dressed in revealing garb) we would be warned to walk with a friend at all times. The Italian men usually spoke no English, and were very pushy/touchy. We were told that encouraging them in ANY way (sidelong glance, smile, etc.) could be seen as an open invitation, due to the cultural differences.

A couple years there were incidents. The last one I remember was one girl (who was walking alone) who found herself surrounded by five of these Italians. She tried to leave, but they wouldn't let her, circled her and kept touching her arm, her back (putting arms around her). Luckily, a friend saw and rescued her.

Not saying most Italian men are like these guys, but do be aware what may be considered innocent flirting here is not necessarily the same over there.

Keep in mind these incidents were almost 10 years ago, too.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 06:40 AM
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The first time I went to Italy (19 years old), I was literally chased down the street by some guy yelling Bella! Bella! WILL YOU MARRY ME - lol. I had to grab my (male) friend's hand and pretend he was my boyfriend. Another guy followed my friends and I (Three girls, one guy) back to our hotel and kept asking us to go out with him, would not leave us alone. Finally our male friend had to tell him off. Another friend had a guy literally jump out of a bus and run down the street yelling ciao bella! marry me! etc.

Second time not nearly as bad -- just ciao bellas, the usual. And yet again, someone asked my friend if she'd marry him (what's with the marriage proposals?!). Makes for a great story, though!

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