“Italy’s Casanovas Hit Where It Hurts” the headline declares, and where it hurts is in the wallet and by extension in the pants. The European financial crisis has claimed many victims– from the scores of unemployed who have no hope of finding a job, to the people who can no longer afford to put a roof over their family’s heads– but the ones hit the hardest? The ones whose plight tugs most violently at the heartstrings? Italian men who in good times were able to keep dozens of women in the rotation and now can’t even afford one measly mistress. Who previously spent lunch eating a “tasty treat” and now have only a tasty treat, no wink-wink, to look forward to. They are the Casanovas– strike that, ex-Casanovas of Italy and this is their story.

One consequence of the economic downturn that has gone largely unreported is the struggle Italian men now face to woo women with the care and attention – and the financial outlay – they were once renowned for…With their country still in recession, with unemployment climbing above 12% and with the cost of living soaring, the Latin lover has had to rein in his appetite. The traditional kept mistress, secretly hidden away in her fully paid-up flat, and lavished with furs and jewels has been consigned to history. “Who can afford a double life today?” asked journalist Terry Marocco from the Italian news magazine Panorama. “Think about it – two Christmases, two apartments, two dinners, double holiday – it’s impossible,” she laughed. “Italian men are now so hard up they’re having to ask their lovers to share the bill – I know one mistress who had been taken to a hotel for a romantic break – but when they were leaving, the man asked her: ‘Can we go half and half?’” Discreet enquiries around Milan suggested there are certainly fewer, shall we say, “lunchtime visits” to hotels these days. According to surveys by an Italian casual dating website, Casanova has dispensed with the flowery niceties of wining and dining and is cutting far more quickly to the chase. “Italian men are becoming less romantic and less gentlemanly,” complained Mariangela Chimienti from the Italian online company Cdate. “Before the crisis, a man would ask a woman to dinner, would buy her flowers before he…” she trailed off sensitively. “Nowadays he just invites her for a coffee and a walk in the park,” she added…

In her sumptuous Milan apartment, Roberta Ribali, a psychiatrist who specialises in men’s sexual problems, absent-mindedly stroked the plush red velvet of her therapist’s couch. “For the older Italian man, this sudden lack of money is a tragedy,” she said sorrowfully. “You know there is a cheaper option for the older Casanova,” she said. “On the internet, with just a little money you can buy a nice friend. Well, she’s a prostitute but she can become a friend, and you don’t need to buy her furs and jewels like the traditional mistress.”

In the centre of Milan, the pavement cafes are still packed with groups of men taking their aperitivo after work and eyeing up the neighbouring tables of women. Andrea and Fillipo, looking slightly stiff in their black business suits, listened in envy to the boasts of their friend Jacapo, who in his designer T-shirt and combat pants looked decidedly cool and confident. “He works for an oil company,” Fillipo explained to me, “he basically has a girl in every country but it’s cheap for him because he only stays two nights in each place so he doesn’t need to buy presents and dinners.” I patted his shoulder comfortingly. “So you’ve just the one girl?” I asked him sympathetically. “Yeah,” he muttered, “I don’t get paid much so…” He looked miserably into the distance. “But at Christmas, maybe I’ll get a bonus?” he said hopefully.

If you’re thinking now might be the right time to start up some sort of charity for these men, some sort of fund the contributions of which go toward keeping their mistresses in the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to, you’d be right. We just pray it’s not too late.

Italy’s Casanovas Hit Where It Hurts [BBC]

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Comments (22)

  1. Posted by Robert | September 16, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Roberta Ribali, a psychiatrist who specialises in men’s sexual problems, absent-mindedly stroked the plush red velvet of her box.

    That's why I love Roberta

  2. Posted by guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    :(

    -empathetic guest

  3. Posted by Guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Casanova has dispensed with the flowery niceties of wining and dining and is cutting far more quickly to the chase. TFM.

  4. Posted by guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    tell me more about the "tasty treat"….

  5. Posted by guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I'd prefer to hear more about the tasty treat no wink wink.

    -hungry guest

  6. Posted by Guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Viva Carlos Santana?

    -UBS Adriatic quant

  7. Posted by not_announced | September 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    SPR release baby!

  8. Posted by Puck It | September 16, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Yes, tell me more!

    Oh…that kind of treat.

    Never mind.

    —Michael Moore

  9. Posted by J. Epstein | September 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    I keep telling ya, massages are the way to go.

  10. Posted by Guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Slam's roommate is this 23 yo hot, bratty half korean. I was monkeying with my cell while waiting for my piece to get ready, when Yung sits down and asks me for advice. Something about dating this young lawyer, three dates, he tried to come up to her apartment and she was like "It's only date three, I don't even know him — as if I'm some whore. Total creep, RIGHT? I think I'm done seeing him." Yea, totally (…). My chick finishes putting her face on and we leave. Next morning we're headed to brunch and I see some rando dude that looked to be about 35-40 yo leaving homegirl's room. Moral of the story is wining and dining is for suckers; sounds like the Italian grease balls just figured this out.

  11. Posted by Guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    When we got back from brunch I saw Yung leaving. My piece would tell me later the oriental was going to grab Plan B. Yikes

  12. Posted by Guest | September 16, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Main hang's roommate is this 23 yo hot, bratty half korean. I was monkeying with my cell while waiting for my piece to get ready, when Yung sits down and asks me for advice. Something about dating this first year lawyer, third date he tried to come up to her apartment and she was like "It's only date three, I don't even know him — as if I'm some whore. Total creep, RIGHT? I think I'm done seeing him." Yea, totally (…). My piece finishes putting her face on and we leave. Next morning we're headed to brunch and I see some rando dude that looked to be about 35-40 yo leaving homegirl's room. When we got back from brunch I saw Yung leaving. My piece would tell me later the oriental was going to grab Plan B. Moral of the story is wining and dining is for suckers; sounds like the Italian grease balls just figured this out.

  13. Posted by ILoveLamp | September 16, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    If you need to ask your paramour to split the bill, I think that would make you a "Half-a-nova".

  14. Posted by TheodoreBallgamePhD | September 16, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Videos and Mr. Fisters are making a come back.

    -J. Gundlach

  15. Posted by Car Ramrod | September 16, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    But I do butt stuff too. I love butt stuff.

  16. Posted by Nourel | September 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Those guys think they've got it hard, but I ask you: have they ever had to deal with New York's hot tub permitting authorities.

  17. Posted by 35 -40 y/o | September 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    I said I would take care of it, didn't I? I mean my kid is a good boy but he whines to much.

    -Young lawer's dad

  18. Posted by Guest | September 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    No the point is that they don't have it hard all that much anymore.

  19. Posted by Guest | September 16, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Isn't this groovy her flight leaves at nove, her flight lands at dici my game is just peachy.

    - Notorious GRANDE

  20. Posted by klhoughton | September 17, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    As "tasty treats" are replaced with Tasty Treats, will there be an Italian Obesity Epidemic?

  21. Posted by VonSloneker | September 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Only one bunga… **sniff, sniff** **wail**

    - Guy who can relate to these poor men and may have some tax trouble

  22. Posted by guasto | September 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    minchia. me so' rotto er cazzo n 'sta paese