What I learned in 40 hours in Stockholm, Sweden

16 Sep
2007

I went to Sweden for the first time on September 1st and stayed for a mere 40 hours (why so short? that’s another story). I feel love in though: the people, the country, the city, the progressive ideals, and the T-banan (a functioning metro system) made me feel “home.” Well, everything except feminism gone insane part.

But I did make some interesting observations while in Stockholm:

  • Clocks are everywhere
  • They are punctual…hence the clocks
  • Men push baby strollers on the streets
  • Women have umbrellas for the rain, men don’t
  • It is fashionable to tuck pants/jeans into boots (for women). I would presume with the downpours it makes sense to keep the bottom of the pants dry and therefore tuck them in.
  • Everyone on the T-bana is on the cell phone. And they like to speak loudly (compared to the French at least)
  • It is fashionable to wear tight leggings and short/half jackets
  • No one jaywalks unless they are a tourist
  • Both women and men love scarves
  • Couples do not make out in public. For that matter, I didn’t see many hold hands.
  • When the rain comes down hard, somehow magically, everyone disappears
  • They use radiator heating and it works!
  • There are no bathtubs…what a bummer for wanting a warm, romantic bubble bath
  • Tabacs are present at every street corner (as in France). Grocery stores? Impossible to find
  • The gutters on buildings function properly, for the most part
  • The weather does change every five minutes (as in Iceland). “It’s not the weather that is bad, it is the clothes you are wearing”
  • The metro is spotless
  • Trains arrive every couple minutes. And yes, the Swedes will freak out if it is late by one minute
  • In the winter, they “build things” instead of…
  • People may look reserved but are very friendly. A stranger saw me struggling to open a water bottle, he came up, opened it, and thanked me.
  • The Swedes thank you for anything they do
  • Not all Swedes have blond hair
  • For that matter, not all Swedes have blue eyes
  • Every other Swede is an engineer of some sort. Worst case, a programmer.
  • And yes, the men are beautiful, but so are the women. Damn that competition.

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8 Responses to What I learned in 40 hours in Stockholm, Sweden

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Sapphire

September 16th, 2007 at 18:19

Feminism is a good thing. But sometimes, it gets out of hand. Gender barriers break down to such a point, the men feel emasculated, the women still want chivalry, and the dating world is beyond confusing.

Women have the highest wages (excluding Iceland), get a 1 year maternity leave, get day care paid for, and are highly educated. As a result, they’ve broken down the barriers between men and women. As a consequence, men do not know where they stand anymore. Can they open doors? Are they supposed to pay for first dates?

There must be some balance between chivalry and feminism so that women still feel equal but that social etiquette and gender differences still exist.

I do feel sorry for those Swedish boys.

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minervavelsangrona

September 16th, 2007 at 17:44

I wonder what do you mean by “feminism gone insane”. Care to expand that thought?

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minervavelsangrona

September 17th, 2007 at 01:32

I consider breaking down barriers between men and women a good thing. I’d rather have a high paycheck and be treated as equal than await chivalry from men and paying for the first date. You can alternate paying, you can allow a man to express some chivalry and in return express some traditionally feminine caring just as long as he remembers he is not superior in anyway, not expected to “support” or “protect” but to be a PARTNER, equal.
I had an emancipated Swedish spouse (he died) and we both appreciated the partnership – just like most (I guess) Swedish couples do. Have you asked yourself why, actually, does it confuse and bother you?

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sapphire

September 18th, 2007 at 04:16

I agree with you, but in reality, it is never that easy to work out gender differences, equality, and chivalry at the same time.

And it doesn’t bother me, just confuses and sometimes irritates me.

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œ Crux'

October 17th, 2007 at 17:18

Interesting and funny blog you have here,your observation of Swedes is pretty much spot on.Kinda scary in a lot of ways…

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Kimberly Arthur Lindner

August 27th, 2008 at 20:48

Ahhh Swedes jaywalk all the time! They just stop for a second to check for traffic :)

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40 things I learned in Stockholm one year later

June 27th, 2009 at 11:58

[…] year since i first visited Sweden. Some of my opinions changed, some are still the same. Check out 2007’s 40 things in Stockholm to get an […]

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Ella from Stockholm

November 15th, 2012 at 11:12

Hello!

I really don’t get you thing with the 80’s. It’s just the way Swedish hipters think is cool to dress.

The reason XL is M is that American clothing sizes are freaking giganto!

You can find soy candles and toe socks on wierd looking stores on “knivsöder” or Soho as Swedish hipsters call it.

And the best way to find men is to say “jag är genomblond, precis som du!”

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