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One thing to say: From the moment you step in the door you will be given tons of food, as though you were a small army. Afterwards they will drop you off where you are staying and spoil you until you are officially out of their care. While we might be a little bit bloodthirsty on the roads, we are kind and hospitable everywhere else.
It is inevitable if a Sicilian is waiting in a line, we are going to try and weasel our way to the front of it no matter where we are. If we see an opening in a line, we will shoot into it and then talk our way out of it.
We might not be rude, but we are definitely an impatient people. The exception to this is when there is a girl in line with any Sicilian alpha male. If this situation happens, you are not only going to get treated like a true princess, but you just might fall in love right there in the line. You will be overwhelmed with kindness as you are treated with the respect you so rightfully deserve. Sicilian women are difficult to charm and impress, on the other hand.
So what the rest of the world sees as an abundance of passion and charm, is really Sicilian men futilely attempting to court Sicilian women. Even aside from the economic crisis, Sicilians are not big on laborious things in general. It gets worse when you get into the realm of guaranteed salary positions like public offices or the postal service.
This might explain why public services in Sicily are so lacking, as we are much more prone to encourage someone else to do the job we were supposed to do. We are like the Island superheroes. Even if you are a little leery of strangers, within minutes a Sicilian can have you laughing out loud with their antics. We are especially fond of turning every situation into a joke of some sort. Many Sicilians base their whole lives around primary instincts like eating, sleeping and reproducing.
This general lack of knowledge, and an unwillingness to pursue it, has made the Sicilian people as a whole more susceptible to control by politicians and mobsters throughout the years. This, along with a bad parental example, have made the youth ignorant in Sicily. Try not to be too surprised when you see a ten year old speeding down the roadways on a moped during school hours.
He no longer cares about his education, and is much more concerned about plotting his first crime. Many kids leave their houses much later in life than what is normal around the world because the bond is so strong. Well, somebody has to. The best way to compare life in different places is to actually live in one place and then another.
Getting to know the people, the customs, the language. The observations will be endless. People are the same yet different. The opposite of firsthand experience is an investigative technique used by police called "profiling" that uses certain traits to identify entire groups of people. It's a controversial form of state-sanctioned stereotyping, and usually not very nice. But certain superficial generalities are innocuous enough: Most Italians eat pasta.
Most Americans speak English. Most Chinese have dark hair. It gets trickier when individual behavior is at issue, and when a generality seems to be true, most of the time.
That's what happened a few weeks ago, when I was out with my usual female tribe --eight single Italian women and one American between 30 and We didn't talk too much about actual sex, sexual harassment or platonic friendships. The subject was long-term relationships, especially with Sicilian men in Sicily. In reading my notes for this article, my man wasn't offended but he compared our observations to the kind of things he reads from a male perspective on Ask Men.
Unlike nine out of ten of the men one meets in Sicily, mine speaks English fluently, having spent two years in London and a few months in New York, and he's nothing like the ones described here. Fortunately, we all agreed, most of our relationships were perfectly normal, but the consensus was that by the age of about 35 the average single Sicilian woman had been involved in certain types of unconventional relationships.
It was amazing that every one of us except our American friend who has lived in Catania for about a year and was scandalized by some of our candid revelations has had the same kind of experiences.
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Profiles of some "typical" boyfriends: Also known as the Bambinone "big baby" or "Mama's Boy"this is one of the most common profiles of Sicilian men, or perhaps we should call them "boys. The best solution would be to date orphans, but if your boyfriend has a mother it's best to gauge the situation before entering into anything long-term.
It is also possible that the problem is primarily the boy's, and not his mother's. Few Sicilian men know how to cook or, for that matter, survive on their own, and therefore they usually live with their mothers until getting married.
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A little ridiculous when he's 30 or even 40 years old! If you think I'm joking, come to Sicily and see for yourself. The main question is simple: Do you really want to be involved with somebody whose social development is that of a 16 year-old boy? It's not really a Sicilian thing, but part of an Italian trend. It's virtually impossible to meet a reasonably attractive woman who has not been involved, however briefly, with a married man --or with a "two-timer" who has another girlfriend that he doesn't tell you about.
It's not always as crazy as it sounds, if you know what you're getting into. But usually the lies that accompany this kind of relationship get tiresome after a few months.
After a couple years of this situation, one of our friends who was around 35 at the time broke off her affair with a guy from Catania on trial for alleged Mafia activity and married a short, fat, ugly man twenty-five years her senior. This brings us to the next profile. We agreed that, with some notable exceptions, these relationships don't usually last very long and are most appealing for their novelty value --as a different experience.
But if you walk around Palermo, Catania and especially Taormina during the early evening passegiata, you'll see the occasional man in his fifties or sixties with a woman well under forty. We don't like the American phrase "trophy wife," but Italy seems to be full of these couples.
Typically, the man is a divorced father whose children are about the same age as his girlfriend. When the older partner is the woman, she is usually in her thirties and her boyfriend is a youngish "stud" in his early twenties.
In those cases, the man may at least be in good physical shape; older ones are too often scrawny and flabby or fat and sluggish, factors conveniently overlooked by the younger women attracted to them.