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Point-Counterpoint: Travel

Italian men are so much more romantic than Icelandic men

By Gudrun Jonsdottir

      I just got back from a semester abroad in Italy, and let me tell
you, it truly was the most magical, amazing experience of my entire
life. The French countryside was like something out of a storybook,
the Roman ruins were magnificent, and the men, well, italian men are
by far the most romantic in the world.

      You icelandic men all think you're so suave and sophisticated.
Well, think again! Italian men make you look like the immature,
inexperienced little children you are. They really know how to make a
woman feel special over there. Unlike the so-called men here in
Iceland, Italian men know how to treat a woman right.

      For one thing, Italian men aren't afraid to come up and talk to
you. And they know how to start slow, with a nice cup of Italian
espresso or a long walk on some historic street. They know the places
you can't find in any tourist guide. They know the whole history of
the cities in which they live-who the fountains are named after, who
the statues are.

      I remember one unforgettable night in Athens, I sat and listened
to a Greek sailor for hours as he told me about the countless men who
fought over Helen back in ancient times. Afterward, he told me he
loved his homeland even more now that he'd seen it through my eyes. I
ask you, would an Icelandic man ever say something as deep and
beautiful as that?

      Italian men know the most romantic little cafés and bistros and
trattorias, candlelit places where you can be alone and drink the most
fantastic wine. They tell you what's on the menu and what you should
try. (If it wasn't for a certain young man in Milan, I never would
have discovered fusilli a spinaci et scampi.) And the
whole time, they're looking deep into your eyes, like you're the only
woman on the entire planet. What woman could resist a man like that?
Then, after a moonlit stroll along the waterfront and a kiss in the
doorway of their artist's loft, you find yourself unable to-well, I'll
leave the rest to your imagination.

      I'll never forget my magical semester abroad. One thing's for
sure-I'm ruined for Icelandic men forever!


Icelandic women studying in Europe are unbelievably easy

By Giovanni Di Salvi

      I'm a 25-year-old carpenter living in Rome, and I don't mind
telling you that I get all the action I can handle. I'm not all that
handsome or well-dressed, and I'm certainly not rich. In fact, my
Italian countrywomen could take me or leave me. But that's just fine,
because Rome gets loads of tourist traffic, and Icelandic co-eds
traveling through Europe are without a doubt the easiest lays in the

      Being European gives me a hell of an advantage. I'm not sure
why, but there's something about the accent that opens a lot of doors.
All you have to do is go up to them, act a little shy and say, “Whould
hyou like to go with me, Signorina, for a café?” I actually have to
thicken up my accent a little, but they never, ever catch on.

      After a cheap coffee, which to them always tastes better than
anything they've ever had, because they're in Italy,
it's time to walk them. Now, all they know about Rome is what they've
read in Let's Go, so you can pretty much just make up
a whole bunch of shit. It's fun to see how much they'll swallow: As
long as I refer to Italy as “my homeland” and other Italians as “my
people,” they'll believe pretty much anything. I don't know who most
of the local statues are, so I tell the muffins they're all great
artists and poets and lovers. Once, just for the hell of it, I told a
psychology major from the University of Iceland that a public
staircase was part of the Spanish Steps, which she'd never even heard
of. Another time, I told this blonde from Gardabaer that the public
library was the Parthenon, and she cooed like I'd just given her a

      For dinner, I usually take them to some cheap little hole in the
wall, someplace deserted where not even the cops eat. Icelandic girls
think candlelight means “romance,” not “deteriorating public
utilities,” so they just poke their nipples through their J. Crew
sweaters and never notice that there's no electricity. Just as well,
because Roman restaurants aren't exactly the cleanest. After a bunch
of fast-talk about the menu, I get them the special, which is usually
some anonymous pasta with spinach and day-old shrimp, and whatever
cheap, generic, Pope's-blood chianti's at the bottom of the list.

      By this time, they're usually standing in a slippery little
puddle. Going in for the kill, I walk them past one of Rome's famous
2,000-year-old open cesspools. Then, as we open the door to my shitty
efficiency, I kiss them on the eyelids so they don't see the roaches,
making sure the first thing they see is the strategically positioned
artist's easel I bought at some church sale. That's usually all they
need to see and, like clockwork, they fall backwards on my bed with
their Birkenstocks in the air.

      I mean, they're hardly Italian women, but we have a saying here
in Italy: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?