No tears shed in Italy as opposed to Korea

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No tears shed in Italy as opposed to Korea

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“In Italy, a lady is never left alone for over 10 minutes,” Europeans joke about the flirtatious Italian men. Indeed, Italian men are known for the smooth approaches to women. Cultural anthropologist Clotaire Rapaille said Italians “expect love to contain strong dimensions of pleasure, beauty, and, above all, fun.” It is no coincidence that legendary 18th century womanizer Casanova was an Italian.

Researches and surveys prove that the Italian men are masters of the art of seduction. Signified by dark hair and eyes, the Italians project a romantic and bold image. A few years ago, the Wall Street Journal surveyed 19,000 men and women in 20 European countries, and the poll showed that the Italians are the best lovers in Europe. The women had higher expectations for Italian men over those from their countries. They preferred the Italian men and their lifestyle of “dolce far niente,” or “sweet doing nothing.”

An ancient Roman saying goes, “You don’t count the age, the number of lovers and wine.” However, even if you take into account the distinctive Italian culture, 74-year-old Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a mysterious figure. He has both money and power: he is the third richest man in Italy and the longest serving prime minister since World War II, serving for 16 years on three separate occasions. And he is also making frequent headlines with sex scandals. How could Italians tolerate the political leader who obviously lacks morals?

Italian journalist Beppe Severgnini made an interesting analysis on Berlusconi’s popularity in his book “La Pancia degli italiani,” or “The male instinct of Italy.” In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Severgnini explained, “You’ll find a little Berlusconi in every single Italian.” The strength of Berlusconi is to assure the people that he is just an ordinary man who adores his kids, talks about his mamma, knows his football, makes money, tells jokes, swears a bit, adores women.” Severgnini added, “Berlusconi is a master of making us feel like his accomplices. He’s winking at us.” When a scandal with a prostitute was exposed, the prime minister argued, “I am no saint, you all know that.”

French writer Michel Tournier said that being young means never having lost the loved one. At the verge of losing his wife over his womanizing habit, Berlusconi might still be a young man despite his age. The Italian sentiment is so different from the Korean concept of love as the seed of tears.

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.


By Ko Dae-hoon
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