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March 2008 Cover
March 2008 Cover

 Dirty Dishes Dirty Dishes Archive  
March 2008 Email this to a friend
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Mediterranean Sensibility
By Dawn Ivory

Dawn has oft repeated that hoary jest about Italian men: What's the difference between an Italian straight guy and an Italian gay guy? The answer, of course: a bottle of Chianti. Indeed, Dawn has observed this phenomenon in real life -- molte volte.

While some cluck about the "closetiness" they find exemplified in such behavior, Dawn takes a more charitable view: the world needs more "straight" guys like this. Why get ones panties in a knot over what someone calls themselves if they're open to homo action? Alcohol has for ages lubricated the sliding away of inhibitions; straight-identified guys finding themselves with their wine-stained tongue wrapped around a dick need not be tormentedly repressed, nor fag-bashers once sexually-sated. They may be just insecure heteros (and God knows there are plenty of them) who need an excuse to enjoy another side of themselves. So the Italian embrace of such behavior seems sensible.

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Indeed, Italian sexual sensibilities often are light years ahead of those in Anglophonic enclaves, especially Puritanical America. Take, for example, the case of Antonio de Pascale, a 34-year-old butcher from Vicenza accused of having sexual relations with a 13-year-old girl. The court in Vicenza, noting the completely consensual nature of all the couple's interactions, along with the stream of what the U.K.'s Telegraph termed "torrid" text messages sent by the teen to her older paramour, decided there was "real love" between the pair and sentenced the man to 16 months, when a 12 year sentence had been possible. (And given a general amnesty for those convicted in Italy to sentences under three years, Antonio is likely to serve no time at all.)

Countering those who argued that the girl in question must be "protected" by seeing her beloved rot in prison, tormented with the knowledge she was the cause of his ruination, was Judge Simonetta Matone, who sensibly noted, "[The law must] always look to be reasonable in these cases."

Now, Dawn would like to know if Judge Matone, and her paesani, would ever be so reasonable had Antonio's partner been un ragazzo....

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