Desperately seeking something

I hope this isn’t jumping the gun, but I think I may have found ‘the one’. Through a website. Yes, seriously. The best thing was that it wasn’t even me that did the running – I got an email out of the blue based on the information I’d given in my profile and – well – it just seemed perfect right away.

It’s at this point that I should confess I’m talking about a flat, not a man. The similarities between the hunt for the two are striking, though. Over the years, usually at times of black desperation when I shouldn’t even consider starting a new relationship without first taking part in some serious therapy sessions, I’ve dipped my toe into the online dating pool far too many times. It always starts out with idle curiosity and before I know it I’m filling out all my details, shelling out a load of cash and sitting back to cross my fingers for a good result while pretending to myself that I really couldn’t care less whether anyone contacts me.

Do I sound jaded? Maybe I am. I have no objection to the concept of internet dating. In some ways it’s a far better way to get to know someone than the English tradition of fancying someone in a pub, getting pissed with them and having a drunken fumble that may or may not turn into a relationship. On the other hand, internet dating is a cynical business that profits from people’s unhappiness. I get it – the key word here is business. They’re trying to make money, the same as all of us. But there’s something about shelling out money upfront, rather than if or when you get results, that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Punters are reeled in with free viewings and promises of guaranteed* love (*terms and conditions apply) which may or may not ever come to fruition.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about the tease; something that the Italians excel at. And the Brits? – well, not so much. I recently had a conversation with a couple of Italians about one-night-stands and how they find the concept absolutely appalling. In many ways I agree. However, they then revealed that in Messina and Catania, rather than going through with oral sex in the early stages of a relationship, they merely – er – sniff the area*. I think I was more shocked by that than they were by one-night-stands.

Cultural differences exist in the hunt for flats just as much as the search for love. I spent ages combing ads looking for a double room and wondering why they were all so cheap. Then I realised that what the Italians call a double room is what we would call a twin, and each *bed* can be rented. I changed my search parameters quick-smart.

And so back to my flat. Much the same as with any new relationship, I don’t want to say too much about it at this point in time, for fear of jinxing things. We’ve agreed to give it a go for the next year, but I haven’t even moved in yet, much less got to the stage of introducing my friends and family. However let’s just say that early signs are good, and I’m hoping for something long-lasting.

I’ll keep you posted.

*correction: After speaking to a friend of mine who’s married to an Italian it seems I was translating too literally from the original conversation, and it’s more along the lines of ‘look, don’t touch’, or ‘touch, but nothing more’. So it’s still all about the tease, but just not as twisted as I’d thought.

I feel like a public information service.

You’re welcome.

Image: Brandon Christopher Warren (Creative Commons)

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About Kate Bailward

Kate Bailward is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
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12 Responses to Desperately seeking something

  1. IanB says:

    Sniff? Sniff?????


  2. That was kind of my reaction, too, MrB. Sort of brings to mind that urban myth about the vending machines in Japan that sold used knickers.

  3. Georgette says:

    hilarious post kate! and yes the Japanese underwear vending machines came to my mind as well. I have met a number of Italians here in Florence that also think one night stands are revolting. I always thought that maybe this had to do with the fact that many Italians (still) live with their parents, hence not wanting to bring a girl home for a romp in their single bed next to fratello/sorella.

  4. There’s an awful lot of stuff in the Italian psyche that’s linked to not wanting to have sex in the parental home. For instance they’re quite happy to do it in the back of a car, whereas in the UK that’s the height of sluttishness. The whole PDA thing here as well is, I’m pretty sure, due to the fact that they never get any privacy anywhere, so might as well just grope in public.

  5. Cassie says:

    HA! I had to snort at a couple parts here. Interesting reading about the cultural differences and social norms when it comes to, er, canoodling. I’m glad you clarified the bit about “sniffing,” though I think that would make for a very unique love-making ritual.
    Cassie´s last post ..Five things you (and I) need to stop doing. Now.

  6. Definitely. I think my face was probably an absolute picture when they told me. Which they, in turn, probably misinterpreted as me being a complete slut who can’t keep it in her knickers. Oh god.

  7. I can just picture your face. :)

  8. Krista says:

    Laughing so hard! :-) Oh you crack me up. Yes, there is such a difference in how cultures date and move the relationship along. I’ve been with my Aussie for four years now and I’m STILL finding things that culturally are so different than what I’m used to. Not bad, often hilarious, but always interesting. :-)
    Krista´s last post ..Photo Essay: Rome in Black and White

  9. Thanks Krista! It’s only when you date someone from a different culture that you realise how strange some of your own customs must seem to them. What are the biggest differences you’ve found between you and your Aussie? :)

  10. John P Brady says:

    FFS would someone please tear these Italians away from their mamma. It’s their living at home repression that has led to them doing such bizarre quasi-sexual acts!
    John P Brady´s last post ..Daily Sicilian Life

  11. Ha! Ma, c’è crisi …! Although I heard recently a theory that, in fact, the crisis has pushed more people out of home as they head further afield looking for work. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but it would be interesting to find out the facts behind it.

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