Many modern women in Rome are torn between the multitude of family expectations, then peer pressure and finally their own (often conflicting) ideas about love and lust in the eternal city. These three dimensions of one’s love calculus also needs to be balanced with the realities of life in a city as widespread as Rome. Places to hang out are plentiful; yet, once you live in Rome you somehow decide to stick to (1) your neighbourhood and (2) one or two familiar zones for going out. Although in summer the choice is much bigger (with new bars, clubs and other areas popping up for the ‘in-season’) a major geographical obstacle to relationships in Rome can be the distance (especially when Metro isn’t working and you are planning to go out partying after 11pm). For some, workplace is where they often find consolation or love.
I have met many smart, educated women pursuing their professional dreams in the 3+ million city of Rome. They are usually very self-assured, have a daily gym routine, love a good night out with friends and work very hard in their daily jobs. Yet, despite all the plentiful available Romans around, they somehow manage to stay single. What is the problem?
Comparative stats teach us that modern-day women face numerous challenges, but are also provided with many more opportunities in comparison to their mothers and especially grannies. Roles in Italian society have traditionally been divided along mother-carer-nurturer-home stay roles, while men were expected to not only provide for the family but also to resolve disputes, be they in town, family, church, business or similar. Men were traditionally expected to be resourceful and able to accomplish big things, whereas women would provide the support role and be managers of domestic affairs inside the family unit. Wind that forward to the year 2013, and you will meet many happy and awesome women around town in Rome, enjoying their single freedoms, and pretty much living not like Samantha but more like Charlotte: on the surface sweet and a bit conservative, but inside ready for passion and happy to experiment, but Not to settle for any Marco that walks by and gives them a wink.
In the times of economic difficulties, stress has also caused many break-ups and zero tolerance policy towards others in Rome, hence people increasingly live fast and busy lives with many different personas but essentially are much more cautious about giving in to somebody else’s desires, habits and Weltanschauung. But (why) should they? The three dimensions of life again tend to complicate things a bit more than is generally the case in Australia or USA, for instance.
From an outsider’s experience in Rome, ‘Sex and the City’ lifestyle can be at times lonely for women living in the city of sins. The romance quickly fades away when tourist women occupy the minds and beds of local Roman men, hence the double difficulty for hard-working local Roman girls. Macho attitudes are also increasingly de mode among many Roman girls (a Northern import?), who are increasingly ready to settle down for a more nice-bloke-from-the-neighbourhood type and somebody they could also share ideas about culture, travel, fashion and books. Perhaps Rome is turning more and more metrosexual? It is certainly very multicultural and the next time one of you meets a single beauty in a bar or restaurant, try approaching like a well-bahaved next door neighbour’s son and you might be able to strike a conversation. The macho attitudes and ancient history type of expectations, whilst still existing, should be kept for another type of audience. Cheers, everyone!