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  • Stuff Our Italian Fathers Say
    Discover the crazy, funny, touching things Italian fathers say to their children over the years
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    The Italian father is a unique breed. He's part protective lion, king of the jungle and part teddy bear, cub of mamma. One of the characteristics that most Italian fathers have is their willingness to say whatever is on their mind, often without consideration for the consequences. We say, "All the better." These outburts bring us laughter and usually make our Italian fathers all the more charming. Here is a list of stuff our Italian fathers say—

    20. My mother was a saint and my first love.

    19. Always make time for an espresso.

    18. Never hold it in when you have to go to the bathroom. You might die. It happened to someone I know. Believe me.

    17. Quando si mangia, non si canta. When you eat, you don't sing (or make any noise).

    16. Computers are for people without souls. We Italians go to the piazza and do everything, even business, face to face.

    15. Eat whatever you're craving, even baba'. It means your body needs it.

    14. If I have to be honest, the first thing I noticed about your mother was her culo.

    13. People who drink wine from the store with all its chemicals, as opposed to the homemade kind, are the ones who have hangovers.

    12. Drinking ice water on a hot day will kill you. You will die. It happened to someone I know. Believe me.

    11. You're playing tombola, Italian bingo. You are calling the numbers. "Diciassette or 17." Your father says, "Did you say 27?" You repeat, "Diciassette, 17." He replies, "Ahh, so you did say 27!" And then he calls, "Tombola."

    10. At 16, you're caught joyriding with your friends – in your father's car. He runs out into the driveway to greet you with his fist in the air, as if shouting to God. He yells, "Disgraziato!" Then, he returns to the house and says nothing more…for days.

    9. You wake up at 6 a.m. and feel like an early riser. Your father sees you coming down the stairs still in your pajamas and says, "What are you a lazy bum? It's already 6 a.m." Did I mention that your father doesn't live in your house but has already been there an hour and prepared you breakfast and lunch?

    8. Your father sees a bird flying around your backyard, and he'd like to eat it. He grabs his hunting rifle on a Sunday afternoon and shoots the bird in broad daylight in your quiet suburban town. That's not even the crazy part. Neither is eating the small bird that most of us would imagine helping Cinderella make her gown. After he grabs his kill, your father sees some guys on motorcycles wearing leather vests and no helmet and says, "Those guys are the craziest in the neighborhood. Can you believe them?"

    7. You're arguing with someone, anyone really, about anything. Your father's comment is always the same, "FILL IN BACCIAGALUPE'S NAME is just jealous of you."

    6. You're sick? Eat something, maybe some pasta in bianco (with just olive oil and cheese). You're sad? Eat something, maybe some prosciutto on crusty Italian bread. You're happy? Eat something, maybe some mozzarella. If you don't eat it, your father will make it for you, and then feed it to you.

    5. Never use a microwave. Whatever you cook in it is not real food. You might die. It happened to someone I know. Believe me.

    4. No one will ever make a meatball like your mamma. Don't you forget it!

    3. Be a man for once in you life, he says in his broken English. (Please note that this can be said to sons and daughters.)

    2. My tomatoes are redder and bigger than yours.

    And the number one is...

    1. I love you, which is always accompanied by two Italian kisses, one on each cheek, whether you are a son, daughter, relative, or friend. The wife, on the other hand, gets a much more passionate, special bacio. Wink, wink.

    Di Meglio is the Guide to Newlyweds for About.com, and you can learn more about her life and work in Italy and the United States at the Two Worlds Web site.


    Article Published 5/9/2011

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