Donny Benet is the Italo disco funk musician who's unstoppable with a drum machine and supremely well versed in the ways of sophisticated love. Understanding that sophistication doesn't come naturally to everyone, he's generously decided to send us some of his love tips, which he's learnt over the years from many wise Mediterranean men.
Part 1 – Meeting the Parents
You’ve done it. You’ve finally introduced yourself to the beautiful girl who takes your breakfast order of panino and espresso at your local Italo café. After weeks of innocent smiles and blushing cheeks, your newfound infatuation has demanded you to step up and be a player in the game of love. And if she refuses your offer, the biggest problem for you will be finding a new place to get your Italian sweets. But you’re a man of confidence. Not overflowing in an Andrew Dice Clay way; you’re more like a better-looking Steve Buscemi. I have faith in you. So take my advice and you’ll come out on top—I guarantee.
So the deal is done and of course she said yes. You’re picking her up from her parents place this Friday. It’s the two-story house with the water fountain out front and the gold painted concrete lions perched on either side of the wrought iron gate. You can’t miss it. Be there at eight and don’t be late.
Now, this is where you need to listen. Do what I do. Dress how I dress. Speak how I speak.
One thing of paramount importance is to dress right: just enough leather to show her you’ve got the edge, and of course a gold chain adorned with the cross of approval to show her you’ll treat her right. Go for the young Elvis look when it comes to your hair as you’ll definitely meet mama and nonna at some stage during the night. I’m pretty certain that they’ll be huge fans of the King, so that’s money for nothing there. Also, make sure you have a gift for them. Maybe a box of passata or a few ciambella. They’ll love it. And make sure you confuse her mother as the other sister and ask nonna if it was her 50th birthday this year. Keep it above the belt and you’ll have them on side.
Now the toughest customer to get past is papa. He’s going to judge you even before you open your mouth, but there are a few things you can do to win him over.
Italian men love cash. Not in the Clive Palmer kind of way; they basically like to carry their annual earnings in their jacket pocket clasped tightly by a money clip. Papa is going to want to know that you can look after his daughter, so you need to show him she’s safe with you. This is what you do: as you pull your hand out of your pocket to shake his, make sure you accidentally knock your money clip out of your pocket and let it fall next to his feet. He’ll hopefully kneel over and retrieve it for you and, to his surprise, notice how fat the wad of cash is. Remember, just like Al Pacino says in Donnie Brasco: “Keep the beaner on the outside.” If you’re smart you would have inserted the napkins you took from his café at breakfast between the notes to raise your money clip from the status of Young Stallion to Made Man.
Now that he knows his princess can have her crown jewels, he’ll want to know that you’re a man. The only way for him to find out is through your handshake. Too much pressure will be a sign of disrespect. Too little and he’ll worry you’ll never make him a nonno. My advice is to look him in the eye, grab his hand, grunt and lunge forward then back in one swift motion. With so many things to digest he’ll be unable to grade the level of respect offered in this handshake. You’ll have taken care of this social obligation leaving you free to enjoy his daughter.
Follow Donny on Twitter: @donnybenet
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