Thursday, June 05, 2008


Shelly of At Home in Rome is back with a post about some very Italian concerns:
1. Air conditioning “fa male.” It’s just generally “bad for you.”

How did I live nearly three years in Phoenix, Arizona, without dying? (Italians are so attached to this one, I’ve no doubt I’ll get at least a few angry comments telling me that it does “FA MALE” and explaining all the reasons why. I give up.)

2. Sweating.

There’s a whole encyclopedia of italianate on sweating. If you sweat, you have to change clothes before it evaporates or you can get pneumonia. Don’t stand in front of a fan if you’ve been sweating. God forbid the air conditioner.

3. Wet hair.

Not using a hair dryer can cause any number of ailments, not the least of which is a migraine in the exact spot where you neglected to dry your hair. However, for example, when my husband didn’t dry his hair thoroughly the other day and I pointed out this grave error, he merely laughed and said, “But it’s summer, that’s different.” Doh!
There's more... and her readers remind her about the Italian obsession with the fegato (liver).


Argent said...

We here in the South don't sweat, we glow.

Michael said...

My sister lived for 2 years in Italy (Gaeta) with a little blonde, blue-eyed girl (6 months to 2.5 years). Poor Caroline was NEVER dressed warmly enough for the Italians. People would stop my sister on the street to tell her so!

Ken said...

I tell you, alot of the culture transferred over to Italian Americans. My mother always said the exact same things when I was a kid.

jacobus said...

Who knew AC 'fa male.' Maybe this is the reason I'm leaving Arizona and the air conditioner's ubiquity.

Enbrethiliel said...


Filipinos feel the same way about not letting perspiration on one's clothes evaporate! I spent most of my childhood running around with a towel tucked into my top so that my sweat wouldn't soak into my clothing. A little towel is easier to replace than a top, after all.

Oh, yeah: and one Filipino old wives tale says that going to bed with wet hair--something I do a lot--makes one either crazy or blind. However, I have become progressively nearsighted over the years (and possibly also progressively nuts), so I'm hardly proof against that!

Maureen said...

My mother is Italian and Filipino? Whodathunkit?

Anonymous said...

When I made my aspirancy in the monastery many years it was during a July heatwave and I would come down to Lauds with my WET HAIR and the sisters would be all concerned that I'd get sick and tell me that one should NEVER come into a room with A/C with wet hair.. I tried to explain that I did this everyday at home and what they didn't know was that this was the age of the hair gel/wet hair look and my hair (in a bob, the latest style) wasn't as wet as they thought it was.

I never got a headache, either!

Fr. Philip Powell, OP said...

I am moving to Rome in July...and I DREAD the heat...I am an Olympic Sweater...just thinking about it makes me sweat... :-)

Fr. Philip, OP