October 13, 2005

My Big Fat Italian Life

I received this e-mail the other day and it made me laugh. I married into an Italian family. High energy would not even begin to explain it. Quite honestly, I could do my entire blog, entries every single day, just on marrying into an Italian family.

Did you see “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” That’s my life… except in reverse. I laughed so hard, I cried in that movie. My best friend from High School, PFB, was in town and she and my husband and I went to see it. At one point, the main character’s sister, who had three boys, is leaving the restaurant with one of the boys and pops one in the head. I looked at her and she and I said together, “That’s you/me!” I’ve picked up a lot of the family’s traits, although by far, I am the biggest introvert.

My meeting the family is huge blog fodder. I’ll have to remember to post on it one day.

Anyway, so I got this e-mail and I had to add my own responses. It’s in the Extended Entry as it’s so long. My replies to the e-mail are underlined.


Why do Italians hate Jehovah's Witnesses?
Because Italians hate all witnesses.
I’d not heard this one!

Do you know why most men from Italy are named Tony?
On the boat over to America they put a sticker on them that said - TO NY.
In all seriousness, I think every Italian family has a name that every branch of cousins has within it. In the movie I mentioned above, the Greek’s common first name was Nick. We have one in my husband’s family, I won’t mention it out of his family's privacy, but I swear that name is ALL OVER the family tree.

You know you're Italian when . . . . You can bench press 325 pounds,
shave twice a day and still cry when your mother yells at you.
Oh hell yeah, you don’t mess with the Mamas. And I am officially one, even though I’m not Italian. The Mamas rule.

You carry your lunch in a produce bag because you can't fit
two cappicola sandwiches, 4 oranges, 2 bananas and pizzelles
into a regular lunch bag.
Good Grief. My husband is 5’6” and weighs 150 pounds. When we would go visit my folks when we first got married, they would have to literally DOUBLE what they cooked for dinner as my husband could EAT what ALL OF US combined could eat. One day we were at Thanksgiving at my folks house and my husband leaned over and said, “Hun, I just realized, my family grossly overeats. This is our typical Sunday dinner.” You don’t EVEN want to know what Thanksgiving looks like if the typical non-Italian Thanksgiving looks like an every day Italian Sunday dinner.

Your mechanic, plumber, electrician, accountant,
travel agent and lawyer are all your cousins.
Hmm. If we lived in New Jersey, the answer would be yes. Our accountant is an Italian childhood friend of my husband’s. Our lawyer is family (of course. What’s an Italian family without their own family lawyer?!). We don’t use a travel agent. The rest are people we’ve known for years and have grown to trust. BUT, as I said, if we lived in Jersey, yes, that would be so.

You have at least 5 cousins living in the same town or on the same block.
All five of those cousins are named after your grandfather or grandmother.
If we lived in New Jersey, this would be so. And yes, there would be a ton with all the same name.

You are on a first name basis with at least 8 banquet hall owners.
Yes. This is true.

You only get one good shave from a disposable razor.
Coud be. My husband's 5:00 shadow is a beard for some men. He uses an electric razor. And I personally have a thing for hairy men, so this is very cool with me. Very very cool.

If someone in your family grows beyond 5' 9", it is presumed his Mother had an affair.
Hmm. Yup. Pretty much. We do think Bones will top out at 5’8, having the height in the family. As a matter of fact, a good friend of mine went to Italy and when she came back she said her husband said, "Oh man, Bou would love it here. All of the men here look like her husband." In general, Italians are not tall people.

There were more than 28 people in your bridal party.
No. I was the bride and I'm not Italian. The very first Italian wedding we went to, however, this was true. Blew me away.

You netted more than $50,000 on your first communion.
I don’t know about first communions, but I will say that after our wedding, we had enough cash to buy my family room furniture. And we bought the good stuff…

. . . . . . . . . . . .

And you REALLY, REALLY know you're Italian when . . .

Your grandfather had a fig tree.
Nah, they didn’t. I asked my spouse. But, MY DAD (TGOO) owned a fig tree. So I think that counts.

You eat Sunday dinner at 2:00.
When Ma was alive, yes.

Christmas Eve . . . only fish.

Your mom's meatballs are the best.
His Mom’s were not only the best, but we have the recipe, making my husband’s the best.

You've been hit with a wooden spoon or had a shoe thrown at you.
I’ve heard stories about his Mom and the wooden spoon. I use the back of a hairbrush.

Clear plastic covers on all the furniture.
Holy crap this is true. I’d never seen anything like it. We sat at the dining room table and all the chairs were covered in plastic! If you wore shorts, when you stood up, your legs would be stuck to the chairs. I remember when we were watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding, there was plastic on the furniture, but then I leaned over and said to my spouse, ‘Hunhead, I think your Mom owned a lamp like that” and his reply was, “My Mom owned ALL the furniture in this movie.”

You know how to pronounce "manicotti" and "mozzarella."
Phht. If y’all haven’t heard it, I don’t even know if I can phonetically spell it. My husband and his brother may not speak Italian, but they sure as hell know how to say manicotti and mozzarella, which comes out more of a ‘manigot’ and ‘moozereeeella’.

You fight over whether it's called "sauce" or "gravy."
No fight. It’s gravy. Well, to them it is. To me it's still sauce.

You've called someone a "mamaluke."
I’ve been called a mamaluke. Not by my husband...

And you understand "bada bing".
Absolutely. This gets said… a lot. Bada bing, bada bang…

Posted by Boudicca at October 13, 2005 09:19 PM | TrackBack

this post has excellent timing for me.....

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at October 14, 2005 12:07 AM

I laughed at the email. Being from/with neither a Greek nor Italian family, my life in no way resembles this. I had a girlfriend tell me that Mexican families in Mexico are just like that, too, though. She said hers is. But she had a tiny wedding. Of course, she eloped to Italy... That probably had something to do with it.

Two points right in a row got to me:
1. My mom used a hair brush and about every third child or turn it would break. I never used a hair brush, for that reason. Do yours break?

2. My aunt now has an excuse for her plastic. We just thought it was OCD, or "a little bit crazy" as we called it back then.

Posted by: Suzi at October 14, 2005 02:06 AM

Gee, I'm mostly French and Irish. All I can do is drink and surrender...

Posted by: Ogre at October 14, 2005 07:38 AM

My grandfather emigrated from Greece (alone) when he was a young man and married an American woman. He was not close to the family he left in Greece. As a result, we have never had strong ties to grandparents or distant cousins from Greece. However; my siblings, mom, and I are very close to each other, and we identify with much of the family quirkiness in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

Oh! Would you be kind enough to share your meatball recipe? Meatballs are a favorite in my house, but we're still searching for the perfect recipe . . .

Posted by: Dave at October 14, 2005 08:22 AM

I married someone who is as close to Italian as one can get, he's Maltise. (it's the small Island off of Sicily).

They are the same exact way! Except Maltise are tall.

I know plenty of Italians too, my first italian wedding was a shocker. Those people can eat!

Posted by: Machelle at October 14, 2005 08:25 AM

I got nuthin! I'm not Italian and there isn't an Italian in our family, mostly Irish/Polish on one side and Korean on the other. I married a Slovak, cause he couldn't pass the test for Pollack, yuck, yuck, but that's all I got!

Posted by: oddybobo at October 14, 2005 09:16 AM

I'm mostly English and French, and hubby is Scots-Irish and [we think] Cherokee, but a lot of this still rang true, especially with my family.

Posted by: Jenna at October 14, 2005 10:47 AM

it works for Armenian familiies too....

Posted by: caltechgirl at October 14, 2005 05:52 PM

Their are exceptions to the height thing (just ask Littlejoe and family).

Also, until I sample your husbands, I'm sticking with LJ having the best meatballs :)

Joe's mom used to love having me over for dinner because I could eat more than most of the italians in the family....

Posted by: Graumagus at October 16, 2005 07:51 AM

LOL! OMG, this is soooo, freakin' true! Not only am I from NY, the home of Little Italy, I did live in Palermo and Firenze when I was very young. I make the best meatballs, fish dishes and gravy sauce this side of Little Italy. In fact, I cook so good (having been trained by my Italian Nonna) that my ex-mother in law would beg me to make Xmas Eve dinner every year.

I'm not Italian but it took me till this year, to finally learn how to cook Sunday dinner just for me and my son. And that's only because he begged me to stop with the leftovers. When my friends were alive and came over for Sunday Dinner there was still enough leftover for each to take home and for me to have during the week.

OMG, I just realized I'm a stereotype, I've used the word Mamaluke!!!! LOL...

Posted by: michele at October 16, 2005 09:01 PM

I guess I am a wannabe italian, i cook italian, i talk italian and i think i think like an italian this originates from being raised in an italian neighborhood and i love it. This, i think, has kept our family together and always in each others thoughts. I love italian men and they way they talk and mannerisms it all seems so warm and cuddly to me strange i know but i like it.


Posted by: Andrea at November 14, 2005 01:23 AM