The Recession Has Taken All the Fun and Extramarital Sex Out of Italy


Ah, August. As we learned through repeat viewings of The Seven Year Itch, it’s really the perfect time for the married man to let loose and let his wife do the same, having her run off to that beautiful second home, as he lives it up in the city, spending sweaty nights between the sheets with his much younger sexy mistress. At least, that’s what summer used to be like for Italian men, before money got tight and everyone stopped having fun.

In what might be one of the best articles published in recent memory to fulfill every stereotype you’ve ever held to be true about Western Europeans, The Daily Beast says that because of ongoing economic troubles in Europe, Italian men haven’t been able to cheat on their partners as easily. The picture they paint of a time before the recession, however, sounds legitimately awesome:

Italy’s tough recession has made it difficult for philandering husbands (and in some cases wandering wives) to hide extracurricular expenditures like extravagant gifts and clandestine romantic meals on tight budgets, which means that the customary postcoital, five-course lunch following an illicit afternoon assignation have become a thing of the past. These days, paramours have to make do with take-out slices of pizza.

In Italy, take-out slices of pizza are a sad example of how a once beautiful life has crumbled to bits. In America, they’re just a really really good after-sex snack.

Author Barbie Latza Nadeau talked to a man with the pseudonym “Giancarlo”, who she describes as “a 48-year-old married tax lawyer who recently was forced to rent out his bachelor pad in Rome because of the new tax burden” and who has really truly suffered because of how little money he’s had recently:

“It really messed up my romantic life,” he told The Daily Beast. For more than six years, he had met his lover, a 46-year-old woman who is also married, at the apartment for long romantic “lunches.” Without the apartment, he said, “we couldn’t find a way to hide a hotel bill, and it gets very old to try to keep up an amorous relationship in a parked car—especially at our age.” The two eventually split up.

The only truly confusing thing about this article is that the general consensus outside of Italy is that when Italians are having affairs, everyone knows about it but looks the other way. This piece seems to imply that these affairs are usually kept a secret. Perhaps we’ve misunderstood, and that usually the partners know but they don’t want these extramarital activities thrown in their faces. In any case, now is definitely not the time to move to Italy. Try again next year.

The Economic Crisis Makes Infidelity Too Expensive [Daily Beast]

Image via Paramount Pictures

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