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10 New Year's Resolutions for the Typical ItalianDiscover the promises people often make to themselves as the calendar turns in Italy
The new year is the perfect time to make change. You essentially have a clean slate on which you can create the life you always dreamed of…or at least that is how it feels for the first few hours after the countdown to midnight. So, I decided to have a little fun and contemplate the resolutions of typical Italians. Here's what I came up with:
10. Cut the umbilical cord. Mamma is a little too close for comfort in the lives of most Italian adults and the new year always brings with it the hope of breaking free once and for all. This resolution usually goes the way of the dinosaur after an Italian does his own laundry a few times or craves mamma's meatballs.
9. Eat fewer carbs. Most Italians are carbaholics, who can't get enough pasta and bread. This resolution is laughable because one whiff of mamma's spaghetti – and you guessed it, those meatballs – and you'll break the resolution.
8. Iron more stuff. The Italians believe in ironing sheets and underwear. Those who have given up on ironing everything that makes it into the laundry would feel so much better about themselves if they just took the iron to everything but the kitchen sink. Sadly, most of them will stick to this resolution.
7. Cut down on the espresso. I know some Italians, who are addicted to coffee in the same way some people are addicted to alcohol. They can't go on without a sip of the strong stuff. Indeed, many of them will look at the new year as a chance to turn over a new leaf. Only problem is that quitting cold turkey is near impossible in a country with a dealer – and a friend calling you to join him or her for a quick espresso – on every corner.
6. Up the ante with the bella figura. Italians are firm believers in always making a good impression. They say, "fa una bella figura," which literally translates to "make a beautiful figure." This refers both to your actions, such as bringing a hostess gift when invited to someone's house for dinner and the way you dress and look when out in public. The piazza is a place to strut your stuff, so no sweats or flip flops or anything else that you get away with on the streets in America. When someone resolves herself to upping the ante on the bella figura she is going to try to be a knockout every time she goes out. Many an Italian woman – and man for that matter – will be able to pull off this one.
5. Have more sex. Italy is the land of the Latin lover. These dudes have reputations to maintain. They'll aim for the stars. But let's encourage them to have safe sex. If they're in a monogamous relationship, then have more sex with their beloved and not with the world. We get that you're all suave and charming, but there's no shame in sharing that only with your one and only.
4. Vote for a more stable, innovative government. This country wins the award for zany leaders. The people have elected a porn star, an alleged pedophile/sex addict (hello Silvio Berlusconi), and a bunch of old men with stale ideas that didn't work years ago, so probably won't work now. Because things never seem to go well, the government is constantly changing. I'm thinking a few young people, who are tired of the antics of Italian leaders, want to set a new standard and experiment by voting in younger leaders. Would love to see this happen.
3. Cook more and better. Italians were among the first foodies, who longed for organic fruits and vegetables and fresh meats from grass-fed animals without hormone injections and the like. They tend to love to cook and linger over delicious meals. They've already been sticking to this resolution for years – and the rest of the world is grateful.
2. Hang out more with friends and family. This is a resolution I'm sure most Italians will make. But I can't imagine they could spend any more time with other people. They have coffee breaks that I've already mentioned, long lunches and dinners, and they tend to be the most social people you've ever met. I guess they could squeeze in a few more chats and espressos with folks in between their second shift of work and watching Un Posto al Sole.
1. Put down the phone. Italians might need surgery to remove their cell phones from their hands. Even though they socialize a lot (see resolution No. 2), they spend a lot of time texting even when sitting at dinner or hanging out with others. Fewer things are more annoying. Some of us – won't mention any names – who often spend time with Italians want to throw said phones out the window. If they put down the phones once in a while, they might win some more points, not to mention friends.
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