The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - April 20

Contrary to Italy's reputation as a place where image is everything, the majority of single Italians claim they don't worry about good looks when seeking romance. According to a Europe-wide survey of single men and women, only 35% of partner-less Italians give weight to physical appearance when playing the dating game. This figure compared to 70% in Austria and 60% in Germany and the Netherlands. The survey by one of the continent's leading dating agencies, Parship, was carried out on 5,000 people aged 25-50.

The Italian claim to 'authenticity' seemed to run into trouble when respondents were asked questions about the possibility of having plastic surgery to improve their looks. Only 41% of men ruled it out categorically, saying firmly: "It's good to just be who you are." The rest saw little wrong with it. Women were even less determined to be content with what nature had given them. A meagre 18% said they would never go to a surgeon for aesthetic adjustments.

Both sexes seemed more likely to see surgery as legitimate if it helped resolve a "serious psychological problem". Exactly where the line was between a serious problem and mere vanity was not specified.