There’s a reason every guy loves The Godfather.
Look how freakin’ gangster Michael Corleone looks. The icy stare, the fedora, the suit and tie… There’s nothing that’ll melt my heart quicker than a full-blooded east coast Italian man in a three piece suit. I never say “gangster,” but holy horse’s head, that’s exactly what it is. It’s sex and power, soaked in a meaty Bolognese sauce with linguine, baby.
I’m not gonna lie. I met Robert De Niro once, and I kind of threw myself at him. No luck.
I always wanted to be a Corleone. I may be just a blonde L.A. hippie chick who teaches yoga, tosses up peace signs a lot and is afraid of guns, but all that power is hotter than lips on a lollipop. Part of it has to be an east coast thing; I do believe we L.A. folk have gotten way too soft from too much fantastically sunny weather, gluten-free low-carb grub and too many cold-pressed juices. In fact, every time I go to New York, I feel like it’s going to eat me alive. The super-tall buildings, the frantic cabbies honking… I get a profound sense of loneliness. It’s overwhelming, and awfully loud. How the hell do those people hear themselves think?
I wouldn’t expect anything less from a land where crime bosses look like bulldogs. Did I mention I thought Don was actually Marlon Brando’s first name in The Godfather? What can I say, I grew up on the beach, eating Otter Pops and riding the carousel at the Santa Monica Pier. It’s possible I could use some hang-time in the borough.
I remember the first time I ever told my then-boyfriend I was going to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He wanted my homemade lasagne; I wanted him to grow out his beard, which nowadays has just the right amount of gray in it. He always tells me it’s scratchy. I’m hoping the lasagne will hep him forget.
I’m pretty sure that’s the day he decided to marry me.
Not too long ago a guy I was seeing, who we shall call “Mario,” found out I had never seen The Godfather. Mario was smooth. He was from The Bronx and wore linen suits. He taught me how to Jedi mind-fuck situations and people to get what I want. “Never take no for an answer,” he would say.
Apartment Manager: “The rent is $1,300.”
Me: “It really should be $1,250. That’s what I’ll pay.”
Market Person: “Sorry, we can’t accept $100 bills.”
Me: “Sure you can. It’s fine.”
It’s all in the attitude. It’s subtle. It’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. (With a wave of the hand) These aren’t gangsters you’re looking for.
Halfway through the movie, Mario got a phone call, grabbed his handgun he had hidden, and went off to see a “friend.” In that moment I learned all I needed to know about Mario. I certainly didn’t need to watch a gangster flick to know what life with this man would be like. Me, a mild-mannered child of the 70s and him, a gun-toting, unpredictable would-be Gotti. It didn’t last (big shock), but you know what? That guy sure knew how to treat my mother. Mamma mia, he charmed the hell out of her.
Let’s talk now about what’s really important: the wardrobe. The suits, the suspenders, a cross around the neck… Christ on a cracker! Sonny, you’re the hottest of them all, even though you don’t look one bit Italian. Sorry.
If you’d like to impress your man and your friends, get your mafia on.* (*Disclaimer: We’re just talking about throwing down some words here. Don’t go dealing drugs, robbing anyone or killing rival crime lords. Unless of course, you’re playing “Second Life.”) Here are the top five quotes from The Godfather, not from the boring sequel and certainly not from the third one. Throw some lines out, see what sticks. Consider this a guide to help you navigate through the world of mafia dons and olive oil. And don’t feel bad if you don’t really know what all this means; I didn’t eat a cannoli was until I was, like, 33-years-old. And I still don’t know if that’s supposed to be ice cream or cheese in the middle, or some kind of mixture of both?
“No Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter’s wedding day.” Meaning: It’s not really the bride’s day, it’s the father’s. Give him extra respect. And make sure your first kid is a boy; give him a masculine child.
“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” This goes for time with your parents, kids, siblings, etc. And it’s no wonder the Corleone’s are all about family; everyone else looks like they’re hiding a knife in their sock.
“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” If nothing else, remember these words. You’ll never get through life without separating the two.
“In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.” That’s because they’re undeniably, unbelievably beautiful. When Michael Corleone goes to the island of Sicily to hide from the bad guys, he meets the ever-so comely Appolonia, a woman so exquisite Michael is willing to turn his back on his birthright. Hmmm… Love or mafia… Love or mafia…
“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Use this one sparingly. Give it a go, but wait for the right moment. Surprise yourself. Believe in it—confidence is hot. Look at Tony Soprano; he’s no Calvin Klein underwear model but damn, the chicks dig him. Why? ‘Cuz he’s a crime boss. He’ll watch your back. He’ll wear his robe when he goes out to the curb to get his newspaper, which is just cute.
Part of me really wants to know what it would be like to be a Corleone for a day. I could tell people I’ve been brought up on charges of racketeering (whatever that means). I’d change my name to Anna Maria Madonna and tell everyone Francis Ford Coppola is my dad. People can kiss my big ol’ cocktail ring. I’d make my ringtone The Godfather Theme and be the wife who cooks meatballs and pasta sauce all day for the family. Seriously, all day.
My husband just walked in the door. “The sauce, it’s got anotha hour to go. But I’m warmin’ up some chicken Parmesan for ya. You like zucchini, right? “
This I say in my best Jersey accent. He looks at me weird. The entire house smells like garlic.
I married a man from Sydney, Australia; his parents immigrated there from Italy back in the 1950s. This family loves to cook, they drink wine and coffee like water, and I might be livin’ it up in Roma soon thanks to the fact that my husband has an Italian passport. When I hear him speak to his parents on the phone, I dissolve into genuine, burning want for my husband, with his sexified accent and big brown eyes. I never know what they’re talking about, and it doesn’t matter. I have Google Translate.
Ti amo mio marito stupendo… Ora mi porti a letto!
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta
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