Both of his parents were born in Calabria, a Southern region in the boot-shaped land famous for its pizza, fashion and godfathers. But the thing is, he doesn't really care for most types of pasta. I know, blasphemous, right? Now, call me crazy, but how could an Italian thoroughbred not love spaghetti and penne and linguine? He'll make an exception for farfalle and ravioli, but still.
It boggles my mind, and breaks his mother's heart.
Sometimes, when I see his lovely olive skin tan effortlessly in the summer, I look at my "porcelain" complexion and want to punch him in the arm. But it also makes me wonder if there's something more to him than just Italia. His heavy-lidded bedroom eyes are uniquely shaped. To me, they almost appear Egyptian. There's also the fact that he's often mistaken for being Lebanese or Israeli. I often refer to him affectionately as my "Mediterranean dish," but is that even accurate?
To my mind, there was only way to find out. So, I bought him the DNA kit for Christmas.
It's not often you can say you've given someone their ethnic makeup and identity, but nothing is too good for my hubby.
We finally got the results yesterday, and they absolutely blew me away. I asked my other half afterwards what he thought they'd be, and he admitted that he thought he'd be 90% Italian, with maybe some North African thrown in (they're close geographically).
Boy, was he wrong! His ethnicity is much more interesting than either of us imagined. And the funny part? None of it overlaps with mine—at all.
He's actually only 59% Italian/Greek (they lump both countries together). It came as a shock to both of us to realize he's only just over half of what we thought he was. No wonder he can't get an Italian passport. And there's always been the fact that while he officially supports the boys in blue come World Cup time, his heart was claimed long ago by a Spanish club called FC Barcelona.
Fun fact: Did you know Greece founded colonies in Sicily and Southern Italy? Me either.
So what else is my man made of?
Well, it turns out the next biggest part of him is Middle Eastern! At 21%, this stunned me in a good way. So what countries does this include, exactly?
Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Israel.
I guess that's why people frequently think he's Lebanese or Israeli. It's cool to find out that there's actually some DNA evidence to back up random strangers' visual theories.
Fun fact: Did you know that while this region is better known for its deserts, you can actually ski at six different resorts in Lebanon?
Next up, at a respectable 12%, is the Caucasus region. This is primarily located in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
This particular result hit me emotionally, especially given our current political climate. At a time when we are singling out a certain group of people and dehumanizing them for the countries they come from, my husband's ancestry result really struck me.
We are all from the same places if we go back far enough. And we all have different ethnic pieces in our DNA profiles. If only we could remember that, and focus on our similarities instead of dwelling on our differences, the world would be a much more peaceful place.
Fun fact: The Caucasus region is home to some of the world's most famous empires. Cyrus the Great, who expanded his territories in Iran to create the Persian Empire, was also known for being religiously and culturally tolerant, and freed the Jews from slavery to the Babylonians.
Speaking of the Jews...it turns out my love is part chosen people!
He's 7% European Jewish, which means some of his ancestors could have come from places like Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary or Israel.
I actually wanted this ancestry result for myself, so I'm happy that I get to live it vicariously through him. Maybe that's why one of his favourite directors is Woody Allen?
Fun fact: Jewish populations from northern and Eastern Europe are known as "Ashkenazi."
Last, but not least, my hubby was actually right about one thing: he does have trace amounts of North African in him. This includes places like Morocco, Algeria, Western Sahara and Libya.
Fun fact: The majority of people in this region live within about 50 miles of the Atlantic or Mediterranean coasts.
So there we have it. My fella is full of surprising ethnicities. It makes me see him a whole new light. It also makes me wonder:
Is it okay to keep calling him my Italian stallion?