Italy is the worldwide known homeland of Aperitivo, although this cultural institution substiantially changes if you scroll from southern to northern Italy.
Now, if you’re in love with Italy and Italian Lifestyle you might have attended to more than one aperitif in your life, even in Italy. And surely you have been able to identify these 5 particular kinds of attendees which are infesting every aperitif or happy hour in the world:
- Mr. Know-It-All – Are you talking about your late holiday in that far away island located in the middle of the Pacific? He probably had been there before you even knew of its existance. Are your friends discussing about a very obscure czech novelist that they have just discovered? He spent the past five years writing essays about his works. In few words, there’s no subject in which this charmless mr. Know-It-All cannot put his long nose. And believe me when I say that alcohol can only make thing worse, giving the guy an amount of self-confidence which is frankly unmanageable by a regular human being. Anyway, as our saint patron Morrissey used to say, “there’s gonna be someone somewhere, with a big(ger) nose who knows, and shuts you up and laughs when you fall”. Just wait and see.
- The Wine Expert – Italian aperitif is a magnificent occasion to taste good wine and wine-based drinks such as the spritz, but this wonderful opportunity has its scary downside: it attracts hordes of self-proclaimed wine experts which will make your head explode with neverending descriptions of the wine they (or you) are tasting. Letting alone the fact that adjectives such as “laser-like” or “intellectually satisfying” should be banished from any conversation, the truth is that if you blindfold the poor Wine Expert you will find out he’s not able to recognize a carton of Tavernello from a bottle of Amarone.
- The Always Tipsy – Hold on: aperitif is not for getting drunk. It is a social occasion, a mean to converse and take a pleasant break after a working day or before a long night. This is why the Always Tipsy type looks particulary ridiculous in this specific context. He\she gets to the bar usually suited up after having worked behind a desk for the whole day, and right after the first sip of prosecco is already giggling like a teenager. This type of person usually starts to lose his\her dignity (i.e. loosened tie, heeled shoes off etc.) at the end of the first drink and becomes actually unbearable at the second one, which usually coincides with a collective “sorry, I need to go home, tomorrow I have to work” pronounced in unison by his mates, leaving the poor guy alone with his (fake) hangover.
- The Gourmet Guy – Every respectable aperitif offers a good selection of food to accompany your drink. But bear in mind that the meal you will get during an aperitif in Italy won’t always be as good as you might expect. Italians tend to be aware of this, and although we are traditionally picky about our food, we usually turn a blind eye on the lack of quality of some buffets. This is not always the case though, especially if you live the unpleasant experience of meeting the infamous Gourmet Guy: constantly bitching about the texture of his tartine, the freshness of his caponatina or the real origin of his olive taggiasche, this type is a real nightmare. If you want to enjoy your not-so-wonderful meal without feeling like you’re eating at the soup kitchen, just stay away.
- The Silent One – As we said, aperitif is a mean to socialize. Nevertheless, you will always find a guy who joins your group and doesn’t utter a word for the entire evening. Is he too tired to have a chat? Doesn’t he like your company? Is he dumb? Nobody knows. The only thing you know is the embarassing feeling of sharing your table with the cardboard cutout of a person.
Not in the mood of joining an aperitif after reading this? Well, not all aperitifs are the same. For instance, you can join our Linguistic Aperitif, every Tuesday in Trastevere and every first Thursday of the month in Monti, and meet new, international friends while practicing your Italian. And if you’re not in Rome just don’t panic: there’s still the chance to have a radio-aperitif offered by our Italian Language School. Just invite your friends, play one of our podcasts and practice some Italian with us: this will surely save you from the embarassing silence of a struggling conversation…