There are lots of ways to talk about being obsessed with something or someone, being fixated or having a thing about or for something, or being "into" something. "Obsession" is a pretty strong word, so we often like to use softer, more positive terms. In Italian, too, there are various words we can use. In this lesson, we will explore just one way Italians commonly talk about being intensely interested in something. It uses the verb fissare which, in this context, may be translated as "to fixate," even though that might not be the word we would choose in many cases.
If you look at the link we have provided, you will see that there are quite a few meanings for the verb fissare. We'll address those in another lesson.
Keep in mind that sometimes we translate fissare with "fixate" because it's a cognate that works, making the Italian word easy to understand. But in English, we have lots of other ways to express the same thing. "Fixated" can come across as being a negative thing in English, but Italians use the word pretty casually. Let's also keep in mind that, as in English, we're using the past participle as a sort of adjective.
Anche Lei fissato con la cucina italiana?
You're also fixated with Italian cuisine?
Caption 44, La Ladra EP. 1 - Le cose cambiano - Part 13Play Caption
We might not use the term "fixated" but we can understand it well enough. We might sooner say someone obsesses over something, such as "Oh, you obsess over Italian cooking, too?"
Papà era fissato.
Dad was obsessed.
Caption 3, La Tempesta film - Part 10Play Caption
Sometimes, as in the previous example, we're really talking about an obsession, but sometimes it's about being set in one's ways. We might recognize a character flaw in a light-hearted way. In the example below, Marika and Anna are talking about the Italian tradition of having bread at a meal when there is already a wheat-based carbohydrate in the form of pasta. Italians love to scrape the remaining pasta sauce off their plate with a piece of bread. They call this fare la scarpetta (to make a little shoe).
Comunque... -Siamo un po' fissati. Quello della scarpetta è... Sì, è un rito, quasi.
Anyway... -We're a little fixated. The "little shoe" thing is... Yes, it's almost a ritual.
Captions 48-50, Anna e Marika Un Ristorante a TrasteverePlay Caption
So even though we have translated it as "fixated," we'd more likely say that Italians love to sop up the sauce with a piece of bread.
Fissare is also used reflexively. In this case, it's not being used as an adjective but rather as a verb, as if to say, "to become fixated," or "to get obsessed."
Mio marito si è fissato con Jacques Brel
My husband has become obsessed with Jacques Brel
Caption 55, La Ladra EP. 9 - L'amico sconosciuto - Part 10Play Caption
We can also use the noun form la fissa, the equivalent of "fixation."
Joy ha sempre avuto la fissa per la cucina.
Joy has always had a thing for cooking.
Caption 60, JAMS S1 EP 1 - Part 1Play Caption