Blue eyed boys meeting brown eyed girls

After years and years of being considered (by the Average Italian Guy) a classical example of a “not that pretty (i.e., quite ugly), but smart and fun” kind of girl, I moved to Holland, where, well, things are… different.
Okay, it’s not that – as soon as I got off the plane in Schiphol for the first time – the magical Dutch air transformed me in a tall, blond, hot supermodel. It would also be untrue if I said that, at the moment, I’m surrounded by bunches of admiring ADMs (Average Dutch Males). It’s not even that in Italy guys were never interested in me at all.
It’s a fact, tho, that Italian girls with my kind of physical features (short, fleshy, brunette, brown eyes) raise more interest among Dutch guys than among Italian ones.
All this “romantic” (honestly, most of the time it’s anything but romantic) interest towards me used to be quite puzzling, as in Italy it’d always been all a: “I’ve never met this friend of yours, Alice… how is she?”, “Hmm… simpatica*!”, then you arrive in Holland and… wow, guys actually find you attractive! Or at least they are like: “Not my type, but can’t say she’s ugly”. You can imagine I was kinda: wait, what happened? How is this possible?
So – since my life is empty and boring – I started thinking about it and eventually got to the conclusion that there are two main reasons why Italians girls like me are sorta popular among ADMs:
a. “Typical” Italian girls are like an exotic species, here where the average Dutch girl is tall, blonde, has blue eyes and doesn’t know how to dress properly.
Those brown eyes that in Italy have always been considered common and ordinary, suddenly become special, charming and magnetic. Being short means being cute, when you’re the first girl ever who has to stand on her toes in order to kiss this ADM. Plus, you are Italian, so you surely can cook, have a passionate temperament, are a naturally loving and caring person and I could go on for hours with other stereotypes we all know aren’t always true, but whatever.
b. Dutch guys, in general, seem to me to be less superficial than Italian ones.
Obviously there are exceptions, but only in Italy it happened to me to hear, quite often, bullshit like: “Nah, I’d never go out with that girl: she is too fat/skinny, has less boobs than me, has such a big nose…”.
My Italian male friends can be very mean when talking about girls, even if other girls (i.e. my friends and I) are around. Here in Holland it has never occurred to me to hear stuff like that. Yeah, sure, also here guys like to point out what they don’t like about a specific girl, but in a less rude and categorical way: “Hmm, she’s not really my type, she’s too skinny in my opinion” or “I don’t think she is ugly, but she definitely uses too much make-up for my taste” and things like these.
Of course, I’m not saying that Dutch guys can’t be superficial (probably they say horrible things when no girls are around) or that all the Italian ones are, but – for what I’ve experienced – ADMs seem to be not exclusively focused on the physical appearance, are usually more keen in finding positive aspects in girls they are not interested in and are surely more aware of the fact that, if you don’t like a specific girl, that doesn’t mean nobody can find her attractive (typical Italian guy’s way of thinking: I don’t like that girl. That girl is ugly. Universal Statement. End of the story).

Now, I wanna warn all the Italian-looking girls out there interested in Dutchies: the fact that ADMs would probably find you pretty doesn’t make hooking up with them an easy task.
In the Netherlands there’s kind of an actual equality of sexes: that means girls are as much active as guys are, when it comes to flirting and all that stuff. So, when in a club or a bar in Holland, don’t expect to receive the same kind of attention you are used to in Italy or in other southern European countries: ADMs seldom start flirting and – when they do – they aren’t really the best in it. They try, sometimes, but not with brilliant results.
Here are some examples of approaching techniques used by ADMs with me or other Italian (better: Italian looking) friends of mine:
– the overused method of making fun of your height. Classic. It occurred to me and friends of mine several times. Imagine this scene: you, Italian girl, are in a club; an ADM starts “dancing” next to you and eventually finds the courage to make eye contact: his blue drunken eyes stuck into yours, a hesitant smile on his face, then… he raises a hand, puts it parallel to the ground (some 120 centimetres from it or so) and starts moving it a few times from right to left and vice versa, eloquently informing you that you are short. You know, just in case you’ve never noticed it before. After this, the guy expects you to thank him for having given you this life-changing information in order to start an actual conversation. Of course, you actually just throw him a sarcastic look and move somewhere else.
– sometimes you are naive: the guy uses the lame, sad strategy of pointing out you are short, but still you start talking with him (he must be really cute, then!). After a first failed conversational attempt in Dutch, he realizes you are a foreigner. Even better: he finds out you are Italian. Now, Italian people who are reading this, do I seriously have to continue? Be prepared for a list of mispronounced Italian words, mostly referring to food, accompanied by annoying random gesticulation.
– while drinking a beer with a friend after a gig, I noticed that a nearby ADM was showing some interest towards me. Still overexcited by the great performance of one of my favourite bands, I wasn’t really paying attention to him, who was instead expecting a move from my side; a move that obviously didn’t come. This creative ADM decided to be brave and started walking in my direction, stopping halfway to collect something from the floor. A few moments later he was right in front of me, showing a badge and saying, with all the seriousness his drunkenness allowed him: “Hello, I’m from the press and I’d like to know your opinion about tonight’s concert”. Original way of approaching a girl, I have to admit that. Unfortunately, the comments his fellows and he made about my friend and me (in Dutch, thinking we couldn’t understand) weren’t so original. Neither so funny.
– Dutch are direct (have I ever said that?), so sometimes even their pick-up lines are: “Hey, my friend here is turning nineteen tonight! Would you like to celebrate with him, privately?!”. Nineteen? For God’s sake, I could be his mother!
– I was partying one night, as we old ladies still like to do once per month or so, when an ADM approached my friend and me, handing us a coaster with a phone number, a “Call me!” and a quite typical Dutch male name written on it. Accepting this valuable present, I asked him who was it intended for. “Both of you”, he happily replied. “Well, she has a boyfriend”, I told him, referring to my friend. “Then it’s only for you”, he said in all innocence. Gosh, the lad definitely knows how to make a girl feel special!

* Italian adjective meaning “nice, pleasant, fun, likeable”


Where is the friendship?

I’ve been living abroad for almost two years and I totally don’t miss my life in Italy. I’m actually quite glad (and proud) I’ve found the strength to run away from my Country and from that kind of persistent unhappiness I used to live in when I was there. I rarely feel homesick, even though my life as an expat isn’t perfect or always easy. There are certain things I left in Italy that I deeply miss: all of them are pretty obvious and – I’m afraid – stereotypical. Some are related to food: I miss the simplicity of my grandma’s tomato sauce, I miss a cup of authentic, dense hot chocolate on a freezing winter day, I miss a good pizza at a reasonable price. Some are related to places: I miss walking through the streets of the village where I grew up, I miss spending hours among the shelves of my town’s public library looking for nothing in particular, I miss seeing the mountains from my bed when I wake up. Some are related to people (or animals): I miss my family and my dog and my old friends, the ones who know me better than I do. Most of the things I miss are actually related to all these three aspects at the same time. I miss having a walk by the lake with a friend on a sunny afternoon, stopping by our favourite gelateria for an ice-cream. I miss the “classic scheme”: panino at the same old place, followed by a few beers (or a cup of tea) at the same old pub, ending up chatting with the amazing Dutch owner about bitterballen and prostitutes, De André and Italian politics, until it’s 2 a.m. and we are all longing for our beds. I miss laughing my head off at the other same old pub, while getting drunk with a couple of Tennent’s Super and sharing a portion of forzutelli (fried balls of pizza dough served with Nutella), impatiently waiting till I can collect with my fingers the Nutella left on the dish. I miss my friends left in Italy. I love them, I really do, even if I’m harsh and I don’t often show them my affections in common ways. However, it’s not only that: I miss the most the kind of friendship I have with them, the kind of friendship I’ll probably never find anywhere else, or at least not here, not in Holland. Here where I still haven’t managed to get through that icy emotional armour of the Dutchies. I’ve tried so hard, but they haven’t let me in, yet. I’ve become an acquaintance, a friend with benefits, a girl they always meet in the same club/bar/pub, but I still haven’t found that friendship, with all the silly chatting, laughing, deep conversations till late night, appreciated good advice, warm hugs. I know that this kind of close friendship needs time to be built. I’m totally aware I can’t expect to have, with people I met a year or a few months ago, the same kind of relationship I have with those I’ve known for a decade. I’m just looking for someone who’d show true interest in me, I want to listen to great stories, I want to be listened to, I wanna share past experiences and then share new moments, I wanna start to build something, step after step, little by little. That, unfortunately, can’t happen if there’s no willingness on both sides. If you always end up in a corner, surrounded by people talking and laughing in a language you don’t understand. I’m not saying it’s all their fault: for sure I haven’t tried hard enough and maybe I should be more open, more into the “Dutch way of socializing”. Nonetheless, it’s a fact that the Dutch are kinda close and don’t easily befriend new people, especially if they are foreigners. Certainly not all Dutchies are like this, but most of them for sure. I think this (real!) conversation I had a few days ago with a young Dutch person sums up quite well the difficulties of befriending a Dutch (male or female, it doesn’t matter): Random Dutch: So I can take a few days off from work, but I don’t know what to do with them. I mean, all my friends are abroad or are working: I’d surely get bored, spending all that time by myself. Me: Well, you can travel a bit. Visit new places. RD: But my friends are working. Me: You can go by yourself. RD: Nah, it’s not nice to travel alone. Me: It can be an opportunity to make new friends while travelling. RD (shocked): Why should I want to make new friends? I already have mine! I’m kinda losing hope.

Il MOM (Maschio Olandese Medio), parte seconda

Attenzione: quanto segue è stato scritto in un momento di folle intolleranza nei confronti del MOM; di conseguenza, esso contiene un alto contenuto di acidità e cattiveria gratuita. Non me ne vogliate e fatevi una risata: si scherza! Anche perché – se non ridessi di tutto ciò – avrei i miei buoni motivi per piangere, credetemi. In fondo in fondo, Olandesi, un po’ ik hou van jullie. E, dai, ve lo concedo, forse da qualche parte là fuori esiste un Olandese che non sia stronzo.

Prendete un MOM qualsiasi, il primo spilungone dal capello ingellato e le scarpe marroni che vi capita a tiro. Fatto? Bene. Mettetelo davanti a una lekker biertje e a un paio di kaassoufflé. Fatto anche questo? Splendido. Ora fategli la fatidica domanda: cosa fa di un Olandese un Olandese e non – che ne so – un Tedesco? (Nominare, senza motivo, la Germania e i suoi abitanti davanti a un Dutch è e rimarrà sempre uno dei miei passatempi preferiti).
Fatta la domanda, non aspettatevi una risposta ricca di originalità, giacché i MOM si distinguono fondamentalmente in due categorie:
Tipo A: risponderà che a rendere un Olandese tale sono l’apertura mentale, la tolleranza, un filino di freddezza, una certa dose di tirchiaggine, ma – soprattutto – la schiettezza. Ammetterà poi di possedere tutte le sopraccitate caratteristiche.
Tipo B: vi svelerà che gli Olandesi amano apparire (a sé stessi e al resto del mondo) come aperti alle differenze e tolleranti, quando essenzialmente sono tutto il contrario; aggiungerà poi le restanti caratteristiche citate dal tipo A e concluderà con un colpo di scena: voi, fortunelli, vi trovate davanti all’unico esemplare esistente di Olandese-non-olandese, nel quale, infatti, il solo aspetto tipico sopravvissuto è la schiettezza, mentre per il resto egli è open-minded, generoso e dotato di un carattere caliente difficilmente riscontrabile in un nordico.
Avvertenza: il MOM di tipo B è normalmente più olandese del tipo A.
Concentriamoci però ora sull’aspetto forse più caratteristico del MOM: la schiettezza. Come si è visto, che si ritenga tipico o atipico, il MOM – sempre e comunque – ama definirsi “diretto”. Credetemi, se mai vi capiterà di relazionarvi col popolo olandese, questo aggettivo vi darà il tormento e vi troverete spesso a domandarvi dove esattamente finisca la schiettezza e cominci invece la maleducazione.
La schiettezza neerlandese, soprattutto in campo romantico, ben si accompagna con l’altrettanto tipica mancanza di sensibilità e di tatto di questi freddi nordici individui: quasi totalmente incapaci di provare tenerezza o compassione, di rado appaiono all’occhio esterno come teneri cuccioloni coccolosi, ma più frequentemente come degli spigolosi individui senza cuore.
Alcuni esempi di schiettezza (o stronzaggine?) olandese:
– “Certo che hai il sedere proprio grosso!”. Ne sono consapevole, non c’è bisogno che tu me lo faccia notare, soprattutto visto che nessuno ha chiesto il tuo parere (già, non appartengo a quella categoria di donne che domandano “Mi trovi grassa?” per ottenere, in risposta, una evidente menzogna). “Eh, ma io sono diretto”.
– Quando, con dolcezza, riprendi un suo attimo di distrazione durante un gioco d’alcova: “Sì, scusa, è che stavo pensando al progetto cui sto lavorando in questo periodo, sai c’è un dettaglio che…”. La risposta alla tua conseguente, comprensibile incazzatura è, ovviamente: “Eh, ma io sono diretto”.
– “La tua birra costava due euro e sessanta. Mi hai dato due e cinquanta, quindi mi devi ancora dieci centesimi” … “Che c’è? Sono diretto!” (E tirchio. E non provare a tirare fuori la storia che qui in Olanda, a differenza che in Italia, la parità dei sessi è in vigore a tutti gli effetti).

Attenzione, però. Vi è un’unica occasione in cui l’Olandese non è diretto: quando gli si chiede esplicitamente di esserlo.
Uscite un po’ di volte con un Olandese, siate oneste ed aperte con lui, lasciate che apprezzi questo vostro aspetto (insieme a quelli più tipicamente italiani), cominciate a vostra volta ad apprezzarne la schiettezza, certe ormai che essa sia un aspetto immodificabile – e tutto sommato apprezzabile – della sua personalità e fate cuocere a fuoco lento per qualche mese. Bene, è ora il momento di richiedere un feedback su quanto state vivendo: ma quindi ci piacciamo sul serio? Ma quindi ci vediamo in modo esclusivo? Ma quindi non è solo mera lussuria? Lasciate che a tutto ciò egli risponda sì/sì/certo che no.
È a questo punto che… puff! avviene la magia: la sparizione dell’Olandese.
Dinnanzi a questa ghiotta opportunità di sfoggiare quella directness di cui tanto si vanta (cioè propinandovi un chiaro ed esplicito “Non mi interessi più”/“Torno con la mia ex”/“Ho finalmente trovato il coraggio di dichiararmi a Daan”), il MOM si intimidisce, preferisce fare il modesto, trincerandosi dietro a un inesplicabile silenzio. Perché, tanto, “ci frequentavamo solo da tre mesi: se non la cago più, non si accorgerà nemmeno che sono sparito”.