My husband, upset by someone at work, shouted in the car today as he told me his story: “You never attack my reputation! You never attack an Italian’s reputation.”
Ah, another ltalian trait come to life in our Italian-Canadian world? It also got me thinking about my older post about a friend who found out, only after we believe he was indeed Italian in spirit and character, was actually Italian by birth. Is it stupid to try and find and define the characteristics of one race…is that racism? But certainly there are characteristics and beliefs that tie us together. A Google search later and I found a very old essay just about this very thing…Italian Traits and Characteristics.
Many times when I think of my “Italianness” and what it means to have culture and history in your life, your identity tied to your heritage, I think of an old friend of mine and his experience with his heritage. His story is one that always makes me think – what makes me Italian? What traits am I looking for? Who decides who I am at heart?
This particular guy was dating a friend of mine, she was Italian-Canadian and he was, by all accounts Italian. He had worked in Little Italy for some time and certainly, he had picked up some traits of the all-Italian machismo that surrounded him and from the patrons that were more often that not Italian. When he started dating my friend, his Italianness was even more evident – the way he loved, his passions, his love for food, his dedication to family and many other traits that at the time, we insisted – he was Italian in the most basic sense of the word. Yet, he was completely Canadian – tall and blonde and from small town Ontario.