So di piacere

theartichoke

Senior Member
English - Canada
Hi everyone,

Could someone please confirm for me whether this construction means "I know I'm pleasing to...." or "I know how to please..."? (I'll probably need a different verb, too, but more on that later.) In other words, is it passive or active?

The context is a young woman talking about how attractive she is to men. She's just said that she knows that she's pretty, and followed it up with the statement that she doesn't look at herself in the mirror too often: preferisco specchiarmi negli occhi degli altri, perché quelli non mentono mai. Then we have the following lines: So di piacere. Riesco a dare un brivido speciale, sia a coloro che mi fissano in maniera sfrontata sia agli altri che fingono di guardare chissà dove e poi mi cercano di nascosto.

That "riesco a dare un brivido speciale" makes me think she's talking about her skills of attraction / seduction--"I know how to make men like / want me; I know how to attract men" (I feel like I know exactly what piacere means here, but can't come up with the exact English verb to match), but at the same time I have this niggling doubt that "so di piacere" might mean something like "so che piaccio agli uomini" (I know men find me attractive).
 
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thanks, Mary. So we can rule out "I know how to make men like me"? Would that be phrased "So come piacere," or some other way?

    Also, am I right about the line starting with "Riesco"? Is that active (I know how to give him a special thrill) or passive too (I know I give him a special thrill)?
     

    WR-addict

    Member
    Italian Tuscany
    Hi Arti,
    I agree with Mary49.
    So di piacere agli uomini= I’m aware of the fact that I’m men’s object of desire = sono consapevole di piacere agli uomini
    Riesco a dare un brivido speciale = I have a natural talent when it comes to giving a special thrill
    so,
    In my opinion, it’s correct if you translate it with
    “ I know I give him/them a special thrill”
    Hope this helps :p
    Bye
     
    Last edited:

    MR1492

    Senior Member
    English -USA
    Hi theartichoke,

    You have probably already thought of this but I think, for your translation, it would help if we knew the social station and educational level of the lady in question. If it is someone who is quite educated and sophisticated, I think Mary and WR-addict have the right idea. However, if we are talking about someone more street-wise than book-wise, Paulfromitaly's suggestion might be more appropriate.

    Phil
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Good point, Phil. The speaker is a 20-year-old hotel chambermaid, in 1950. It's the 1950 part that makes me think "I know men are into me" might sound a bit too much like contemporary slang. Is "I know men want me" too sexual for piacere here? The speaker turns out to be more than a little "easy," so I don't think the context itself presents a problem.
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I was thinking of "I know I'm pleasing to the eye." but then there's the word occhi in the previous sentence. Maybe a simple "I know I'm attractive" or "I know I've got it."
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    I was thinking of "I know I'm pleasing to the eye." but then there's the word occhi in the previous sentence. Maybe a simple "I know I'm attractive" or "I know I've got it."
    Well, piacere here means more than just being physically attractive so "pleasing to the eye" would render only part of the meaning.
     

    Pietruzzo

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Is "I know men want me" too sexual for piacere here?
    It might be implied but it is not what she says. She says "I know they like me", as the others have said. Furthermore, "So di piacere" has a refined ring to it (at least to me), although being said by an "easy" hotel chambermaid.
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    It might be implied but it is not what she says. She says "I know they like me", as the others have said. Furthermore, "So di piacere" has a refined ring to it (at least to me), although being said by an "easy" hotel chambermaid.
    OK, thanks, that's what I wanted to know. I wasn't sure whether in certain contexts, and/or without a stated object, piacere could have a stronger meaning. If it sounds refined to you, I'll stick to the text as written and go with a simple "I know men like me."
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Just a thought, could using, "I know men find me attractive," work in this context?
    I thought about that, and I think it gets the right idea across, but I find that people tend to use the word "attractive" as a straightforward synonym for "pretty" or "good-looking." The speaker has already spent a few lines evaluating her own looks and saying that she's pretty, but not movie-actress gorgeous, so piacere is talking about something beyond (or in addition to) good looks. I personally make a distinction between "good-looking/pretty" and "attractive," but I often find that I have to explain myself to people when I do. That said, adding the "men find me" part might actually make the distinction clear, so it might well be a better choice than "men like me." Hmm.
     

    A User

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    'So di piacere' is different from 'So piacere' or 'So come piacere'.
    La cosa interessante, in questo caso, è che l'una non esclude l'altra, e alla fine gli uomini la desiderano.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    'So di piacere' is different from 'So piacere' or 'So come piacere'.
    La cosa interessante, in questo caso, è che l'una non esclude l'altra, e alla fine gli uomini la desiderano.
    So is this the passive/active difference I was asking about earlier? If she wanted to stress that she does something to attract men, it would be so piacere or so come piacere? "I know how to make men like me"?
     

    A User

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    So is this the passive/active difference I was asking about earlier? If she wanted to stress that she does something to attract men, it would be so piacere or so come piacere? "I know how to make men like me"?
    Hallo, Artic.:) Buon anno a te e a tutti.

    Se ho capito bene, la differenza passiva/attiva è l'equivalente della differenza tra una donna naturalmente seducente e una donna seduttrice. "So di piacere" rientra nel primo caso ma, come ripeto, i casi non si autoecludono reciprocamente, dato che anche una donna seducente, complice l'assidua frequentazione, può conoscere le più raffinate tecniche di seduzione.
     

    effeundici

    Senior Member
    Italian - Tuscany
    So is this the passive/active difference I was asking about earlier? If she wanted to stress that she does something to attract men, it would be so piacere or so come piacere? "I know how to make men like me"?
    Hi, yes that's the point "so di piacere" involves no active action at all. You are just noticing that other people like you.

    And I think that on the contrary "so piacere" actually does have an active nuance.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think that “please” in English comes fairly close to the refined connotation: “I know I can please.” I think you can omit the object as in Italian (cf. the expression “to aim to please”).
     
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