Before you get on your high horse saying that only women are objectified in Italy, allow me to share with you a website that treats men like products you can purchase in a supermarket.
Adotta Un Ragazzo has been popping up on my Facebook ad sidebar for a while now, and I’ve managed to ignore it. But recently, Facebook has started slipping sponsored ads into the news feed, interrupting photos of my friends’s children and happy selfies with, yesterday, the invitation to adopt my very own Italian man. My curiosity was piqued, despite my utter seriousness in previously declaring that I would forego dating websites from here ’til kingdom come.
Like a passerby stopped short in front of a brutal train wreck, not wanting to look but at the same time not being able to turn away, I typed in my email address and birthdate to gain access to Italy’s “Adopt a Guy” website. I haven’t added any photos or answered any of the profile questions; truth be told, I really just wanted to explore the site from a marketing perspective. (heh heh heh)
This is a totally different take on the run-of-the-mill dating website concept. In fact, the site’s subhead declares “Men as cuddle objects” (here I assume they’re giving a playful tongue-in-cheek treatment to the idea of men as sex objects) and on their website, Adotta Un Ragazzo tells women: “In the supermarket of dating sites, the women get good deals,” and also, “The site where the women call the shots.”
Let’s do some trolling around, shall we?
Exhibit one: I give you France’s Adopte Un Mec, the brainchild and precursor of the Italian site. France’s version of Adopt a Guy even went so far as to open a real, live, man boutique. Mon dieu! If you don’t believe me, how about watching the video report on it? (Personally, I find Le Commandant rather irresistible. I’d adopt that mec in un battement du cœur.)
Can you imagine something like this in Rome, on Via del Corso or even better, Via Condotti?
This article from blog Milano Today, published just a couple months ago in October to announce the site launch in Italy, says that incurable romantics will no doubt love the site where women are encouraged to “put a man in their cart.”
Oh yeah—I forgot about that. Their logo:
On the website the men are referred to as “products,” and the entire design of the site aims to make the experience ironically akin to online shopping. In fact, in the photo at the beginning of this post, we see an advertisement for a liquidation sale of “RICH MEN” on offer, where “Everything Must Go.” Below that, a woman can also shop in other categories of product, such as geeks, tattooed and pierced men, or hairy men: “put a beard in your cart.”
As I browsed the pages I’d need to complete in order to set up my profile, I was intrigued by the “boudoir” tab. Hmm, what have we here?
Oh, well now. This is new. None of the other sites asked me in such explicit terms all the things related to sex that I might put on display. Examples?
“What I Like in Bed,” and you can choose from everything from an innocent enough exchange of glances or a whisper, to a slightly more risque shower for two, or even, if you feel up for it, scratching-slash-biting.
Under “My Accessories” for those of you who are real sticklers for accuracy, you can specify handcuffs with fur or without fur. And yes, there’s a whip! You silly! Of course there is! High heels are there too, along with a rubber ducky for the bath (?!), roses, perfume and music.
If I wanted potential suitors to really know “What’s Hiding Underneath,” I think I’d love to answer garter belt and thigh highs rather than simple underwear. Although boxers is also a rather interesting choice.
Hey, at least we aren’t beating around the bush here.
Yes, pun absolutely intended. Who are we kidding?
OHMYGOSH people! See, my research always brings about happy coincidences. Look at this delightful woman! Veronica Benini not only beat me to the punch on this post, in Italian, by seven whole months, but she wrote a book called 5 inch heel (OK, technically 12 cm translates to 4.7 inches, but still)! God bless you, Spora!
Well, ladies and gents, Lord knows that with my three kiddos underfoot, no help at home to speak of, three freelance jobs, an inner emotional life that continues to languish in complete shambles, and the desire to write and read until my eyes cross, you KNOW I have time for this, right?
Frankly, I don’t see myself adopting a guy anytime soon.
Unless, that is—do they have a category where you can adopt guys who want to help you with laundry, dishes, and childcare? Yes. I would adopt that man. Especially if he looked as magnifique as Le Commandant.