November 28, 2007 at 2:31 pm (Italy, life)

Since living in Italy, I have realised that us English are sometimes not particularly honest and definitely not very open and welcoming. The Italians have no problem telling you that you look shit or that you look excellent! It’s very refreshing, if a little disconcerting at first. I was beginning to wonder what was going on when my manager told me that I looked beautiful every day for 2 weeks but when I got a spot on my chin, he told me that I look like crap and what the hell had I done to my chin? Apparently I need to eat better! (Although at first I translated it as “You ate well at lunch, you’ve got it all on your chin!”)  Then about 3 customers felt they wanted to mention the spot too! Come on guys!

So it turns out that they just tell it how they see it at that particular moment.

Another example is when the man who makes the pizza was having a bit of a smelly day and the manageress of the restaurant said “Bob, (obviously I’ve changed his name, we don’t get many Bobs here) do you still have a shower at home?” “Yes” replied Bob. “Well can you use it tomorrow morning before you comne to work, cause you stink! I thought yesterday and the day before that you were a bit smelly but also thought that you’d have a shower this morning, but you haven’t, so I have to say something. Isn’t that right Rebecca?” In my head I said “F*%!, don’t include me! I have no idea how to talk about bodily odours, we don’t do this in England!” What I actually did was giggle and go bright red! At the moment they think it’s really funny when I do that but I’m sure the novelty’s gonna wear off. So, I better start learning how to embrace difficult topics like bodily odours, weight problems, facial hair and all the other topics that I’d never dare to bring up in conversation in England!


  1. Sugargirl said,

    Ha! That’s funny!! In Thailand they also had no problem telling me “Hey, you put on weight”. Or one time I was in a meeting with an agent and he tells me that his staff (who is sitting there with me) is fat, so she can do heavy work like lift boxes, not like his other skinny staff that are too weak. I never got used to that blunt honesty!!

  2. Rj said,

    Yeah, not sure that I will either but it’s definitely an experience!

  3. Crafty Green Poet said,

    I liked the straightforward honesty of people I met in Torino when I was there a couple of years ago. Only twice were people actually rude to me, thankfully. The story about Bob and the shower made me laugh!

  4. crunchcorner said,

    That’s one good thing about not being able to speak the language yet; I have no idea if anyone’s been rude to me, as I often have no idea what they are saying! ha ha!

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