Are you gay, or Italian? … Or both?

Well, I’d say that the guy over there with the glittery belt, tight package-showing jeans, bright pink t-shirt, perfectly blow-dried and flat-ironed hair, small diamond nose piercing, and Gucci man-bag is gay. Or, he’s Italian. Same thing.

It’s really hard to tell gay guys from “fashion victims” in Italy, and it’s been seriously screwing with my gaydar. The gay fashion and Italian fashion circuits are not mutually exclusive circles. (Oh my God! Did I just make a Venn diagram reference??! I suck at math! I’m proud of myself!)

slightly vagina-like Venn diagram

Now, of course I’m using stereotypes here when I talk about this particular type of gay man or Italian fashion victim. I’m the first one to get upset over stereotypes, so I just wanted to clear that up (though stereotypes are based on a bit of factuality that may hold true for some people). That being said, the fashion culture is so different between America and Italy. Italian guys (both gay and straight) tend to do things brighter and tighter than their American counterparts, and this can lead to some confusion for a gay American guy living in Italy.

I think that a straight, male, Italian, fashion victim wold have a hard time convincing any American girl that he wanted to go to bed with her, and not her brother. They really dress to impress, and put a lot of time and effort into how they appear. Think MTV’s Jersey Shore, only less “guido” and more gay. Now, sometimes a guy may be gay and Italian, but in the other cases it’ll certainly be a challenge trying to understand if the guy who’s dancing with Ray Ban sunglasses on, sipping a martini, and sporting a fake tan is homosexual or comes from bella Italia.

So, what does all this matter? Nothing! Who cares if someone is gay or straight or Italian or American? Not me! I just get a kick out of the fact that I could spend half my time going around Milan asking “Hey, are you into dudes, or are you just Italian?”

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40 thoughts on “Are you gay, or Italian? … Or both?

  1. A friend of mine (half British, half Brazilian) had the same problem: his gaydar was completely screwed up, especially by the overly redefined eyebrows of Italian straight guys 🙂

  2. Guys, I think that this is simply the Metrosexuality definition…it wasn’t created in Itlay but YES it’s very popular here (Beckam “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrosexual”)

  3. Well, that explains the curious fashion statements I observed in Italy last month. As confusing as it may be to many including myself, I think it’s great that Italians seem to be less concerned about conforming to stereotypical dress codes and more concerned about expressing their own sense of style. . . . That really is Bella Italia!

  4. Man bags are essential accessories for a modern metropolitan man about town, gay or straight. And if you think your gaydar’s goes on the blink in Italy you should try Turkey where sexual ambiguity is an art form. My gardar mafunctions as soon as I hit Turkish airpace. It must be a Mediterranean thing, Too much olive oil in the diet.

  5. Fake tan is such a turn-off to me …so many people in Italy walk around without even realising how orange their face is (women and men!). Handbags for men? Why not – it’s about time that us, women, stop carrying our stuff AND theirs because ‘it doesn’t fit in my pockets’. As long as the bags are not like the one in the picture above though!

    I looove your blog posts – everytime I am too stressed out by work or studying and stop by to read your latest posts, I laugh a lot and it really helps me to relax. Thank you !!!

  6. hi garrett! You see, when I am the one going abroad – I am Italian – I am always wondering how a lot of men could benefit from a good fashion advice.. half an hour ago I was travelling on the highway and I stopped to eat at one Autogrill, and I saw this couple, and I thoght: they are from Switzerland. Later I saw their plate: they were from Canton Ticino. ..The thing is: I knew they were not from Lombardy even before seeing their plate or listening to their voices..
    She was dressed with a white shirt with pink polka dots and a pair of green trousers;
    he was wearing SANDALS with SOCKS…the problem don’t lie in the Italian men, but in the rest of the world – you , Garrett, are excluded as now you can be considered an Italian 😉 – . These two people were driving in a very expensive Mercedes Suv; they have money. I always love to read your blog; I can understand the way in which non-Italians see us, and learni a bit from other cultures..
    P.s. Garrett, if you want to buy a “man bag”, don’t buy rhe one in the image, please.. 🙂

    • Thanks for adding something to the conversation! I think sandals with socks really should be outlawed! 😉

      Also, it’s nice to know that not only non-Italians can get something from my blog, but Italians themselves too! Thanks a lot! 😀

      Piesse: I will not be buying that Gucci bag, don’t worry … I already have my man-bag (sort of)…

  7. its not just reserved for italy, believe me. there is a guy that works in starbucks across the road who looks like hes trying out for oompah loompah in the next charlie and the chocolate factory remake. and he has a rather fetching man bag. love the posts hun!

  8. Love this post! It’s hilarious.. Being an American, I struggle to understand how the men can wear some of the things they do!

  9. I have a gay friend who visits me regularly in Italy. He says he can’t read the signs at all and has no idea who is gay or straight. I love the way Italian men dress. Some go a bit too far but that has to be better than making no effort at all.

  10. When I first came to Turkey, I was “Wow, I can’t believe how many openly gay men there are in a Muslim country! Hippest Muslim country ever!” It wasn’t just the well-cared for shoes and excellent personal grooming– it was all the kissing and cuddling and touching between men. Men walking arm-in-arm in the street, or with their arms around each others’ shoulders, or a man grabbing the guy he’s talking to and kissing both cheeks because he’s said something amusing…

    They definitely don’t show their feelings for their friends and family with a manly punch on the shoulder, and there aren’t many skeleton hugs among women (though later I noticed there are ways of doing skeleton kisses for both genders…). It’s rather sweet, actually. A lot of Turks have expressed horror from watching foreign films, where a dad greets his long-lost son at the airport with a handshake and a meaningful nod…

  11. Well well, I agree with your post. But mind: this is true for guys living in Milan, you won’t probably find so many gay-acting dudes in Rome or Naples, I suppose…

    Anyway my answer to your poll was “What the hell does a guy need to carry around besides his wallet and phone?!?”

    A gay guy I knew once kinda answered this question. I remember him proudly showing me his new HUGE Gucci bag, something really big that could be easily used to carry a phone box instead of a Nokia. When I asked him what the hell he used it for, he opend it and showed me a special plastic bag filled with nothing but AIR – a sort of balloon – whose purpose was just to fill EMPTY Gucci bags and keep them in shape. He really didn’t need a BIG bag: he just needed a big GUCCI bag to show while walking down in Montenapoleone…

    OMG…

    • Thanks for shedding some light on the mystery of big guy bags. So, it’s all about the look.

      I also answered “What the hell does a guy need to carry around besides his wallet and phone?!?” to my own poll. Though sometime, if I’m around the city all day, I don’t mind having a backpack or messenger bag with me for carrying things like a book, eyedrops, gum, chap stick, and tissues. Though, having a handbag would drive me crazy! I mean, not having one hand free all day! No thanks!

  12. I’m living in Viterbo (north of Rome now) and I found this post after googling “how to tell if an italian guy is fashionable or just gay”. It really is a problem, you think a guy is really cool and really gets you and then he’s gay. It’s just annoying that you CAN’T TELL EVER. sorry for the mini-rant, but I am glad to have some sympathizers.

    • I’m glad you stopped by and it’s always interesting to know what search words people use on Google to find me!

      It’s crazy isn’t it! I mean, what culture do we live in when a guy can don a sparkly PowerPuff Girls belt buckle, yet still be into chicks??!? Crazy!

      Piesse: Where are you from?

  13. i have this huge crush on an Italain guy in my class. Dont know if he’s gay or not, but he gives me a killer look every now and then. Since im not sure, i just play hard to get (also, because ive never mustered the strength to get out of the closet). Just googling what Italian men are into and i came across this page. Interesting stuff here. Anyway, feels good to let this out. And yes, Italain Men do groom well. And GOD they make you go weak on ur knees when they give you that killer look.

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