We all know the stereotypes: slicked back hair, gold chain, talking animatedly with your hands, being kind of sexist. It’s the Italian-American man! Of course, these stereotypes are perpetuated in the media — and while some men relish this identity, a majority are embarrassed.
One Redditor who actually speaks Italian had dinner with his new girlfriend’s Italian-American family — and when they got rude, he got fluent with them.
“Backstory: due to my dad’s job we lived in Italy for 3 years when I was younger, so I speak Italian almost fluently (it’s been awhile, so I’ve lost some of it). Recently I started dating a girl. She’s great and I love her so much. I met her family a few nights ago for dinner. She warned me that the male side of her family is very big into being macho, into ‘testing’ the boys the women date and are VERY big on taking pride in their Italian ancestry. I think besides the grandfather, however, they were almost all born in Bergen County, NJ but whatever, it’s nice to take pride in ones heritage,” the OP said.
“Long story short at dinner they kept making jokes at my expense (I honestly would not call it bullying, just things about my height, beard, shaved head). They tried making fun of my IT job too but stopped once I told them my income. It was overall not a bad experience, but a not so pleasant one.”
“Anyways, her older brother kept pushing things, giving me exceptional amounts of sh*t for playing Lacrosse in HS (apparently its a sport for prissy rich kids and not manly like football or baseball). He ended his rant by saying ‘hey, we’re just a big Italian family, we’re loud and tell it how we see it! Hahaha!’ and all the family except my girlfriend laughed. So I, for the next minute, responded to everything they said in Italian.
“My girlfriend buried her head in shame, the grandfather laughed and everyone else kept looking at each other confused before telling me they didn’t speak Italian. I replied, ‘then don’t use your Italian heritage as an excuse to behave poorly when you can’t even speak the language.’ They got mad, but the grandfather told them all I was right and to be quiet.”
“My girlfriend isn’t mad, just ashamed, I think the grandfather likes me, but word from my gf’s sister is that all the men are furious, think I’m a smart ass and that I disrespected them and their masculinity in an unforgiveable way. So AITA?”
Nope! Speaking as someone of Italian heritage, you did the absolute right thing. Brava!
“LOL NTA. The grandad knows it! He probably half rolls his eyes every time they say they are Italian when he knows he’s the last speaker. You shut them down in the most epic/appropriate way possible! Your girlfriend should be proud flaunting that her boyfriend is more Italian than any of them,” saidbigbrainvirus
“The old man has probably been waiting for something like this to happen for the last tens of years. They’re not proud of their heritage, they live out a stereotype without the slightest care for learning anything about the country or the language. A particularly insulting stereotype too,” explainedScarcityExisting8206
“LMAO – the pure savagery from what you said & did is so golden. You totally won the heart of your GF’s grandfather (I wish I had that kind of grandfather, but mine is an AH). You and your GF are lucky to have each other,” said.splbm
“Yeah, also want to add that this is more ‘Italian American’ culture than ‘Italian.’ More specific north east US. I’m from the area and you didn’t have to say ‘Jersey’ for me to know where this took place,” saidTheGoblinPopper
“NTA, they were being jerks. As someone who has also been to Italy a bunch of times, I know there is a big difference between Italian Americans and real Italians. Real Italians are not loud in public, or ‘call it how they see it’. In fact, that is how you spot an American tourist in Italy,” statedAfterMoonSet