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Eurozone Crisis Reaches Catastrophic Level That Not Even The Most Pessimistic Risk Model Could've Predicted

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"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]


A Running List Of Things That Do It For Silvio Berlusconi

Should you ever find yourself in a situation in which knowledge pertaining to the arousal triggers of the former Italian prime minister would come in handy, whether it's bar trivia night or one of his bunga bunga parties, try and remember that Silvio likes prostitutes dressed as: 1. Nuns 2. Communists 3. President Obama One of the young women who attended Silvio Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" parties told a court on Friday that she dressed up as a burlesque version of U.S. President Barack Obama to entertain the former Italian prime minister. In testimony during a trial against the 75-year-old Berlusconi on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute, Marysthell Polanco said she had also dressed as prosecutor Ilda Boccassini. Boccassini, known as "Ilda the Red" because of her hair color and what Berlusconi says is her communist political sympathies, is one of the prosecutors in the ongoing trial. "I dressed up as Boccassini with a toga to make him laugh, and also as Obama," Polanco told the court...Previous witnesses who attended his parties painted a more sordid picture, including nudity, mimicked sex, and one described two women wearing nasty versions of nuns' habits performing a raunchy pole dance. Hope this helps. Berlusconi party girl says masqueraded as Obama [Reuters Earlier: Former Italian Prime Minister Loved A Good Costume Party

New JPMorgan CIO Doesn't Get Out Of Bed For Less Than A Great Depression-Level Financial Catastrophe

Earlier today, it was announced that Matt Zames had been named JPMorgan's new Chief Investment Officer, to replace Ina Drew, the woman who supervised the trader responsible for the firm's whale of a loss and was dismissed over the weekend. Previously, Zames served as the firm's head of fixed income and while he may be happy to be seen by senior management as a guy capable of putting out at a fire, based on his experience, is probably at least a little bit underwhelmed by the task. From Kate Kelly's Street Fighters: Matt Zames had been down this road before. He had started his career at Long-Term Capital Management in the winter of 1994, shortly after college. There he witnessed firsthand what could happen when a bunch of shortsighted executives didn't manage their risk properly...By the time he reached the sixth floor it was after midnight. His team was huddled with a group of Bear managers in one of the conference rooms. Zames had one question for the Bear team: How much cash and collateral did it have on hand?...Zames shook his head. "This isn't going to be necessary," he told them. "This whole thing is fucked." Guy had a front-row seat for LTCM and Bear's implosion and now he's being asked to do what, exactly? Clean up a minor mess at a *solvent* bank? It's almost a little insulting, actually. Call him when you've got SOMETHING REAL. JPMorgan Says Ina Drew to Retire, Replaced by Zames as CIO [Bloomberg]