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Marco & Alan: Couples Project

Say hello to Marco & Alan! They are our first GAY couple to participate in the MILANO411 Couples Project. The Couples Project is aimed at spotlighting couples of all stripes (Str8 & Gay) who are married and/or madly in love.

Each of these installments will go in our Interviews Section and is about introducing the world to a sexy or fun couple that is wildly in love, and also loves fashion and design. Also, we present this in the spirit of those who love the way the Italians look at romance too. Meaning, it should always be forever and have passion. So we present Marco and his handsome boyfriend Alan. We won’t spoil the fun or a good read. Their story is beautiful and very inspiring.

Don’t forget to check out their photo gallery and Marco’s YouTube channel!

MARCO

He Said (Io amo il mio ragazzo.): Marco Loves Alan!

  1. What is love to you?
    To me, love is many things. It’s the union of two worlds coming together to enhance each other’s existence. It’s the “partner in crime” you can share the best and worst experiences in life with (including the daily routine). It’s a deep understanding and learning from each other; where meeting halfway is never a compromise, just a way to keep reinventing yourself. It’s the best support group: always there to cheer you up and root for you, supporting you in all your endeavors. It’s the “safe port” where to dock at the end of a long day and where you can leave all your troubles at the door. It’s an evolution: growing together and adapting to the progression of the relationship. It’s the most effective team, in which one another’s skills come together to accomplish the success of the couple. It’s the strongest partnership: a union between two people who value each other’s personalities and individualities and respect their differences while working towards common goals. It’s blind loyalty, knowing that you can trust your partner with your life – with no jealousy, leashes or limitations. It’s the deepest and purest of friendships: a companionship that keeps you engaged, alive, and curious. It’s Alan <3.
  2. When did you know you loved Alan?
    I think I’ve known since very early on. When it feels natural to plan things ahead and talk about the future from the early days, you know you’re going in the right direction. The first trip together is always the toughest test to pass for any couple. It’s when you are both in a neutral and unfamiliar situation that your true selves really come out (and with them, your best and worst traits). For our first holiday we went to Malta – it was our sixth month together. Although many things didn’t really go as well as we expected, we had a great time making fun of the less than welcoming service we got literally everywhere and we were laughing the whole time. Then, it’s when I realized that if the couple works well, it works under any circumstance. Alan manifested all of his good sense of humor, positivity, and patience during that trip, and I got the confirmation I needed: I was in love with the right man. No, we probably wouldn’t go back to Malta though 🙂
  3. Where did the two of you meet and what did he do to catch your eye?
    We met offline (the old fashioned way), in a bar in Dublin 5 years ago. I had started working at Google two months earlier and I decided to join the LGBT+ employee group (called the “Gayglers”). I was new in the country (and in the company) and didn’t know many people. I thought it was a good idea to accept the invite to one of the monthly social evenings organized by the group (it was a Thursday, don’t judge us!) Alan came as a friend of one of my colleagues, apparently attracted with the excuse of “meeting some new hot Europeans”…Halfway through the night, we found each other sitting on the same “L” shaped couch around the bar table and we started chatting. He immediately struck me for his talkativeness: he was interesting, clever and witty (and gosh, really attractive!). He seemed like a smart, genuine, and positive guy with a charming smile and good eyes. I wasn’t even sure he was hitting on me after all. He had to wait for me to compliment him, to finally find the courage to kiss me (or was it the drinks?) 😉
  4. Although the two of you share a lot of cultural similarities (both coming from majority Catholic countries in the Europe); as an Italian; what did you notice different about him?
    There were many misunderstandings at the beginning, a few things got lost in translation. At first, it was quite shocking for me to see how much Irish people drink. The packed pubs are to Irish people what sunny piazzas are to Italians (God, I missed the sun so much during those years!) Drinking can be a big part of many social activities and I felt quite uncomfortable at the beginning. Also, I truly didn’t get Alan’s Irish humour. Italians are so literal: everything we say is exactly what we mean. Irish humour is pretty irreverent and teasing. It took me a good year and a half to understand not to take what people said literally (or seriously) and not to take offence when people made fun of each other. The great thing about Irish people is how easy going and drama-free they are: very laid back – which is the opposite of us fiery Italians. That of course clashed with my inherited passion, jealousy, and impatience. Italians have many unwritten social rules and dating an Italian is definitely not an easy job (so kudos to Alan!). But with a bit of time, we managed to “tame” each other and we learned how to take the best from both backgrounds. I can say that Alan made me a better person over the years: more relaxed and balanced, more fun to be around, and way less up-tight 🙂
  5. What is your favorite, non-physical thing about your boyfriend?
    Of course there are many. But my favorite by far is how well Alan can see through me. He can read me like a book and knows exactly what my state of mind is, what I’m thinking or what’s my current mood – even before I know myself. It wasn’t easy to get there and took him a lot of patience at the beginning – but now his awareness has reached an incredible level. Alan is also a very affectionate person (without being needy or suffocating), which suits my personality well 🙂 We hug, we remind each other of our love and we express our mutual gratitude multiple times a day. It may sound very “cheesy,” but it’s our magic formula – it’s why every day, even after almost 5 years, it feels like the honeymoon never ended.
  6. What is your favorite physical or “body part,” about him?
    I think Alan’s smile is some sort of super power. It makes me feel in peace and fills my heart with love and joy every time I see it (which happens multiple times a day, as luckily Alan is a very smiley person). I even picture it in my mind when we’re apart and I happen to be angry, sad or frustrated…and like a wave of positivity it immediately makes me feel better.
    I also love his eyes – truly the window to the soul – and I could get lost in them for hours.
  7. How do family in Italy respond to your relationship?
    They all simply love Alan. My parents responded incredibly well since the very beginning (including my dad who’s always been critical of past boyfriends). It’s always so funny to go back home and visit them: they don’t speak English but they find other ways to express themselves and get their point across. Alan gets along so well with my little brother Lorenzo too: they like to spend hours talking about politics and history (Lorenzo is a great LGBT+ straight ally and huge supporter of equality rights in Italy, and my hero!) Alan is also the idol of my aunts who all love him and think very highly of him. I’m overwhelmed with joy when I think of how much love and acceptance surround us.
  8. What is your favorite thing to do together as a couple?
    Hands down, traveling. We love to explore the world and immerse ourselves in different cultures – even if it’s just hopping on a plane for a weekend escape to a European destination. It’s the most enriching experience and if it was for us, we would be traveling all the time. You can follow us around the globe by watching our wanderlust playlist on my YouTube channel.
    We’re also big foodies, and love trying new restaurants and cuisines. It helps that London is such an international hub, full of delicious food to try (my favorite will forever remain Italian, of course!)
  9. Any plans to marry and will it happen in the UK, Italy, or another part of the EU?
    We’ve been talking a lot about it lately. I think we both have our wedding mentally planned in our heads and we know it’s going to be amazing and perfect. Now we just need to pick a time and make it happen (oh, and of course we need a proposal first…who’s going to be the one?) When it comes to the location, we want to get married in a country that fully recognizes our love and gives it the same dignity and importance as that of heterosexual couples. An open-minded and accepting country, where homosexuality is considered a normal component of society and treated with respect. And that country is not Italy (sorry to say), which has a lot of work to do – both politically and socially to be considered a modern and progressive Western nation. Of course, I’m happy about the passing of the Cirinnà law about same-sex partnerships in Italy. But that’s only a very first step – way delayed and still far from the full equality granted by many other European countries. We will get married in Ireland – a country where the vast majority of the population voted for equal marriage. Italy – more precisely my home town – will be hosting our reception and party and we’ll have a symbolic ceremony there – with the hope that one day not too far, full equality (and a more accepting and enlightened state of mind) will be achieved.

ALAN

He Said (Io amo il mio ragazzo.): Alan Loves Marco!

  1. What is love to you?
    I guess love is made up of two things for me. Firstly, being able to always be yourself, even if that’s not your best. Because if you are in a relationship with someone it’s not possible to hide who you are, and you don’t want to. And secondly realising you’ve never gotten tired of your partner’s company. Even with your best friends, it can take it out of you to be with the same people all the time, but when you live, travel and share everything with one other person and never feel bored, that’s love.
  2. When did you know you loved Marco?
    I don’t think there was a single moment, though of course when we first met there was something special. But it became pretty clear when after just a few weeks we were making plans way in advance for things we wanted to do, and we realised that we both didn’t see this ever ending. That’s quite a moment.
  3. Where did the two of you meet and what did he do to catch your eye?
    We met at drinks in Dublin. Marco worked with an old friend of mine, who I was joining for after-office cocktails (two-for-one!). I saw this guy sitting across the table looking my way who stood out from all the other people around. We started talking later in the evening, me blabbering on, and there was just something very deep about him. Little did I know what was to come!
  4. Although the two of you share a lot of cultural similarities (both coming from majority Catholic countries in the EU); as an Irishman; what did you notice different about him?
    I don’t think Italy and Ireland have as much in common as they probably once did. Italy remains a much more traditional society whereas the impression people have of Ireland is coloured more by the past than present reality. Ireland is certainly more open to change than Italy, most clearly illustrated by being the first country in the world to vote for gay marriage. But of course it’s true that Ireland is a small, English speaking country heavily influenced by our cousins the US and the UK, and with a long and on-going history, almost tradition, of emigration (and more recently immigration). So it’s probably more influenced from the outside than Italy, being so outward-looking and increasingly diverse. Which is a long way of saying that I found the Italian way to be quite traditional and conservative. I don’t mean that in a negative sense, but food, routines, patterns of life and family (like living at home for so long!), and regional identity are much more sacrosanct than would be in Ireland these days. And it is important to preserve these values and identity for sure- Italy has a heritage that is unparalleled in the world- but sometimes some flexibility and openness to change might make things even better.But Marco is a very strange Italian, more of a global citizen. When I met him first he had basically an American accent, which I’ve managed to make more Irish over time. He and I adore Italy but also he takes his influences from all over, and actually challenged me to be more cosmopolitan! So I have the best of both worlds.
  5. Whose idea was it to do the “How to Date an Italian” video that is on your YouTube channel?
    Marco has all the great ideas, everything on “Marco in a BOX” comes from his creativity and he runs the show. Though I do make suggestions, which sometimes get accepted!
  6. Although, “Marco in a BOX” is Marco’s platform, what do you do on the channel?
    I guess you could say I make guest appearances. Also some people are interested in how an international relationship works, especially with an Italian, so we like to share our experiences. I also let him take over the apartment with equipment!
  7. What is your favorite, non-physical thing about your boyfriend?
    His playfulness. Together, we have such fun and don’t take things too seriously. Also it’s hard to overstate how much emotional strength I get from having Marco to rely on and make every situation better.
    Less seriously, his organisational skills are incredible. We wouldn’t have achieved any of the things we have together, or even made it out the front door, without his drive.
  8. How do family back in Ireland respond to your relationship? Are they conservative, moderate, or liberal?
    I wouldn’t speak for my family’s politics, and it’s quite a big family too! But when it comes to Marco, they are all nothing but loving, welcoming and huge fun. Going back to Ireland together to visit my family is one of the highlights of our travels. Even if Marco can’t keep up with my parents’ partying. Late last year I went home alone to visit, and the family was under the impression that Marco was coming too. Everyone was disgusted I was by myself, they had been looking forward to seeing Marco, not me!
  9. What is your favorite thing to do together as a couple?
    I have to say travel, because that makes me sound cooler. We have so much fun seeing new places together and doing things we would never have done alone. But really there’s also nothing better than after a long and busy week to just take some quiet time at home together with a few glasses of spritz and a TV marathon!
  10. One word to describe loving a man from Italy?
    Experiential??–

check out their video “How to Date an Italian” and subscribe to Marco-in-a-BOX for more!