In the tradition of Stuff White People Like, I’m going to take a stab at Stuff Italian People Like:
1. Putting you up for the night. You’re going to some backwater town and need a place to crash? Put the word out – within an hour your phone will ring with the address, phone number and complete history of someone’s sister’s boyfriend’s cousin who will not only house you for the night, but will pick you up at the train station and have dinner waiting for you. You’ll be expected to do the same one day.
2. Sunday lunch. You’d think this would be a family thing, but you’d be wrong. It’s like brunch for New Yorkers – everyone does it, and it’s rarely done alone. But, it is more often than not done in the home. Organizing the Sunday lunch can start as early as immediately after last Sunday’s lunch, up to about 11AM on the current Sunday. After that, everyone’s started cooking.
3. Lengthy goodbyes. When you’re leaving someone, be prepared to launch into an entirely new topic of conversation from the moment you head for the door until the moment you’re physically too far away to hear the other person. Build in a cushion of about a half hour before you really want to leave to start saying goodbye.
4. Treating children as if they were adults. You’re not going to hear any “coochie-coo” fawning from an Italian unless the child is under a year old. If you bring your kid along to spend time with a bunch of Italians, you’d better have taught him how to sit at the table like the rest of them, or entertain himself. Also, be prepared for your child to be disciplined, assisted or spoken to by any Italian in your immediate vicinity.
5. Group events. Italians love to invite the whole gang along to any outing – whether it’s dinner at a restaurant or running errands around town. The hierarchy goes like this: Bring as many people as can fit in your car. If not, at least one other person. If not, a pet. If not, the Italian da solo call or text every person in their phone list until they find someone else who is doing something alone, and they will talk to each other for the duration.
What’s your list of Stuff Italian People Like? Please note: This is a rant-free zone! No thinly veiled complaints!