The fantabulous bloggers of COSI’ come to you today, February 13th, in the spirit of amore, love, romance, dating and marriage in this crazy land of Latin Lovers and their starry-eyed expats. So, really, we mean sex.
Due to the popularity of my post on Valentine’s Day two years ago about the etymology of slang sayings associated with the fig fruit, I thought I’d touch on a few more language related discoveries I’ve made over the years. A couple of these might just help you through this weekend!
“fare il pomodoro/prezzemolo“
Let’s start with a classic, shall we? Think of “il pomodoro” or “il prezzemolo” like dance moves. To “do” (fare) the tomato (il pomodoro) or the parsley (il prezzemolo) is to exhibit one of the most stereotypically hilarious attributes of Italian men – shameless flirting with anyone and anything that moves, regardless of his own marital status or that of his victim. You all know that guy. We’ll call him Sergio. If there is a female within a 10 km radius, Sergio is ON IT, throwing that tomato and parsley in her direction as much as he can.
Why tomato and parsley? Well, clearly everything in Italy relates back to food.
People who don’t know how to cook just put tomato or parsley everywhere as filler. What the dish lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity. Much like Sergio, and other men who fare il pomodoro, what they lack in appeal, they make up for in persistence.
“dare il due di picche“
More often then not, Sergio is met with the experienced cold shoulder of an Italian woman who knows quite well how to cook and prefers not to smother her dish with tomato. In these cases, she chooses to give (dare) him the Two of Spades (il due di picche). Yes, like from the card deck.
It’s the lowest of the cards, and receiving it is a blow to Sergio. It’s hard to bounce back from il due di picche, no matter how thick he lays it on.
“in periodo carestia, ogni buco è una galleria“
At this point, our hero in this adventure is pretty happy to get anything he can. Valentine’s Day is approaching and Sergio’s getting a bit hungry for love. That’s where this next little saying comes in, and it’s where we start to get a little more scandalous with our Italian. Don’t go repeating this one at the dinner table unless you want a pop on the head from your mamma.
In times of famine (in periodo carestia… again with the food references, note), any hole is a tunnel (ogni buco è una galleria). I’ll leave the explanation of that to your own interpretation.
“reggere il cero“
For, you see, Sergio’s biggest fear is to end up as the third wheel, while his friend gets all the action instead.
In Italian, instead of referring to the “third wheel”, they refer to the one who has to hold (reggere) the candle (il cero)… a much more relevant scenario, if you ask me, than a “third wheel”, which instead sounds like he’s just interrupting a day of bicycling.
“andare in camporella”
Sergio’s ultimate goal in this journey of tomatoes, cards, tunnels, and candles, is … well… to get some… right? I mean, a man’s gotta eat.
Here in Emilia, the ultimate goal of all young men, Sergio included, is to use our region’s naturally provided blessings to their advantage. What do we have a lot of in Emilia?
Fields… lots and lots of fields…
Flat fields, hilly fields…
Sunny fields, snowy fields…
Foggy fields, stormy fields …
Fields above the fog, fields after the storm…
Fields in the Bassa, fields in the Appennines…
Fields with castles, fields with €30.000 chunks of Carrara marble in the shape of Parmigiano-Reggiano…
Fields covered in sisso, and fields with Gypsy encampments on them….
You see, lots and lots of field options.
“salto della quaglia”
Ok, so now we are leaving the PG rated portion of today’s post, and we are entering a more … advanced … level of discussion. Ready? Don’t worry it’s not as bad as the fig slang.
If Sergio has done his homework correctly and chosen a field that doesn’t smell too badly, he may get lucky. If he’s really really prepared, he may have even brought a condom. But don’t count on it. More likely than not, Sergio is going to have to do a manoeuvre called “the jump (salto) of the quail (della quaglia)”.
Any rural Emiliano worth his salt will tell you that a bird like a hawk or a falcon flies when it see you from far away. A quail, on the other hand, is so absorbed in it’s own activities, that it usually doesn’t take flight until a moment before you sneak up on it.
Right as you’re about to fire your gun, the quail manages to “pull out” of the situation and take flight.
And so ends Sergio’s journey through Italian slang to find sex this lovely Valentine’s Day weekend. Ok!! So! What are some of your favorite amore-related Italian sayings?!
Remember to check out the other V-day posts on the theme of amore and love in Italy from my fellow COSI bloggers. If you’d like to join the conversation, use our hashtag #COSItaly to publicize it!
(links to be added as their posts are published):
- Misty of Surviving in Italy – “Valentine’s Day: Seducing your partner the Italian way“
- Rick Zullo of Rick’s Rome – “Gods, Saints, and Other Valentines Myths“
- Georgette of Girl in Florence – “When your Love Story is best answered: ‘It’s Complicated‘”
- Gina of The Florence Diaries – “What it’s Like to Fall in Love with Italy“
- Rochelle of The Unwilling Expat – “Searching for San Valentino“
- Pete of Englishman in Italy – “How Pecora Nera wooed Mrs. Sensible or a Valentie Post“
- Andrea of Sex, Lies and Nutella – “Be my Italian Valentine ‘Viva l’amore, abbasso i sedili’“
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