Don’t forget your bolaget bag

When walking around the city on a Friday or Saturday night, I noticed everyone has a little purple or blue bag. It is almost fashionable to have one of those small bags filled with hidden liquor. At the same time, it’s entertaining. In a country where beer can run you $100 in one night at a bar, people are very protective of their alcohol. And there’s some etiquette involved.

If you are invited to a party at someone’s house, you are expected to bring your own beer. (I’ve learned this the hard way) This isn’t the BYOB days at college house parties where the hosts were too poor to afford kegs for hundreds of people. These are nice birthday parties, house parties or even a poker night. Hosts expect you to BYOB, and literally it means beer or wine or cidre. No real liquor please. You could but then you would be seen as a true alcoholic who has money to spend. [reflecting that a 700ml bottle of Absolut costs $44]

So you get invited to a Swedish house party. Plan on bringing enough beer to last two or three hours. After that, the group will head out to a bar. You want to be buzzed enough before heading out to not drop $10 per beer at a club.

But, there are couple exceptions. If you are going to a formal dinner party, your hosts will probably have organized the wine and beer for the evening. Yippe! And most corporate engagements I have attended also cover the alcohol. Be sure to check.

Finally, Friday night: battled the cold, stood in long lines to get in the bolaget and out, and beaten the other crazy Swedes to get the last bottle of Stella. What happens next is weird. I get to the party, expecting lots of rambunctious swedes and instead get… people sitting, drinking beer, and minding their own business. Little purple and blue are placed securely between the owner’s legs for fear of grand theft beer by other guests. No one really talks to me and people just mumble a bit with each other. I compare it to a wake; without someone to mourn. It is really bizarre and yet reflective of the dependence (or perceived dependence) to get these funny people to socialize.

Eventually, people make it to their third beer. and OMG! life! The Swedes wake up from their comas and start chatting, walking around, mingling with others. Finally someone will say, “tjena! i heard you are from the US. how do like my country??” And there’s a chance you can speak to a male without him running away. Pretty awesome. But if you wait too long to talk to folks, you may end up having some very drunk conversations. And Swedes, as we all know, have some issues when it comes to human interactions.

And if you forget the bolaget bag…? Well, hope to god that some Swede misplaces his bag and you can steal that lovely Swedish beer and begin conversing with people. Like how you’re supposed to do it. With beer.

Americanisms in dating…Of wingmen and pilots

I’ve been trying to come up with something to post about this week and life hasn’t been exciting. I thought however we would revisit Þorbjörn, the little swede I met in the US. We had a discussion about meeting someone in a bar in Sweden versus the US. Here are the conversations (edited to make sense).

The explanation of wingmen in American culture:
Þórbjörn: wingman ??
me: o m g
Þórbjörn: hey, i am from sweden!!
me: in fighter plane scenarios
there’s always a leader whose goal is to hit the main target
his wingmen (flying behind him in formation)
deal with enemy fire
Þórbjörn: haha
me: that’s real air force
in social situations it’s similar
Þórbjörn: so if i want my friend to hook up with a girl, i need to be his wingman?
me: well yes, but it’s an art
you have a lead pilot, usually an alpha male
he’s the most charismatic, friendly, and cunning with women
he’ll always have one or two male friends
those are wingmen
Þórbjörn: haha
me: those guys entertain the target’s female friends
the wingmen also soften the women up by being cute, silly, more romantic
during that confusion
the leader takes his target
Þórbjörn: so extreamly american…
me: hahaha, how so?
Þórbjörn: sounds very american ;)

The Swedish way:

Þórbjörn:my friends in sweden never worked in that way
me: how does it work?
Þórbjörn: how did it work? oh, hot girl, i will go for her, screw you guys
me: oh yah, i was told guys have no problems ditching their friends
Þórbjörn: of course not…you can’t have sex with your friends
me: what about us and how we met?
Þórbjörn: our dating seemed very swedish to me… meet at a bar, have sex, start hanging out, have more sex =)
oh, and one woman at the time… that is complicated enough for me

How to talk to girl in the American bar:
What you do as a male who finally made it past enemy fire and has the target in range.
Þórbjörn: so what would I have done if I was an American?
me: first off, we wouldn’t have never made it to my place b/c i would have expected you to hit on me
and buy me drinks
and flirt and be cute
Þórbjörn: and then?
me: we probably would not have gone home together that night but rather exchanged numbers
maybe make out in the bar
Þórbjörn: that sounds utterly boring
me: LOL
then you would have called me a few days later and ask me out for dinner
Þórbjörn: why can’t you do that?
me: chivalry my friend, male chivalry
Þórbjörn: crazy americans

The Swedish Male Look

I met a little swede a few months ago while I was still living in the US and for the one time in my life, I made a move on him. He was already living in the states for the past eight months but, that really doesn’t change swedish ways; especially male swedish mating ways.

So the backstory: I went to the Scandinavian happy hour; it was of course full of $3 spatens, 80 beers on tap, and many many Swedish men (a couple token Norwegians and women were around too). When I first met my little swede*, Þórbjörn, I was introduced by another mutual friend who happened to be an insane Norwegian lacking a filter on his mouth (that’s another story). I was jokingly introduced as the mistress girlfriend and of course the Swedes in this group of five, giggled. Yes, the men giggle. And then everyone introduces themselves in a typical fashion but then Þórbjörn here, says hi and gives the swedish male look. It is THE look for a swedish man interested in a woman. They refuse to accept the existence of such a look, but it does indeed exist.

THE Swedish Male Look
What is it? Ladies, you know the look you give a man in the bar/restaurant/party etc that you’re interested in him? You look at him, make eye contact, smile shyly, look away, look back at him, and turn away. That, is basically the look a Swedish man gives.

He is an expert at staring at the floor even when none is in line of sight. He will look at you very shyly, smile a little, bat his eyes and look down at the floor at the same time, then look back up at you. I call the ‘devil in a sheep’s outfit’ look. It’s very innocent and endearing but you know and he knows, there are very naughty intentions behind it.

This look is the definite sign of trouble. Ladies in Sweden, if you get this look, you either move in for the kill or move on. He’s played his move with his shy, quiet Nordic self; he’s waiting for you now. It’s subtle. He already drank a few beers and mustered up the courage to give you the look. So, you better your know it.

And if you can recognize the swedish male look, you’ll know how to hunt down any Swede you want. And if you are timid with men, like myself, well you are partly screwed. This is Sweden after all, and the women pick up the men.

Välkommen till Sverige.

*Since the little swede doesn’t have a very Swedish name in real life, I’m going to give him one: Þórbjörn. Okay, that’s Icelandic but whatever. Or maybe Pehr.

Feminism, Sexism, and Lingerie

Hairy Swede wrote a great commentary on feminism and sexism in Sweden a few days ago. I thought I would you point you all to his post as well as my comment- expanded below.

When I lived in France, there would be topless women in billboard advertisements. Sexist? Well, maybe because the company was selling lotion. Or maybe not; after all it is just the human body. While we find the French strange, they do have certain liberal ideas to admire: topless beaches, uncensored television, racy print advertisements, condom machines in plazas. Some people say it’s sexist to exploit the female body in such a manner. Is it though? We allow men in tight underwear in Hanes commercials or women cat calling hot construction workers (the Diet Coke ad from the 90s) and no one complains.

But a topless women? Obscene, vulgar, disrespectful. No, it’s advertising, art and pleasuring the senses to buy a product. There are extremes to this case but we’re not going to discuss that here.

Back to Sweden. For Sweden priding itself on equality, some people take it to the extremes. At the end of the day, men and women will never be the same in a biological, evolutionary sense. We can reach a level of equality in society only if we accept that men and women are different and will interpret situations, people, life in their own ways.

However, some feminists believe it is possible for society to exist in a perfect equilibrium between the sexes. But, a consequence of extreme feminism is male submissiveness. The men in Sweden are run over by the women. They are told what constitutes equality and told how to behave, thus creating a unisex society. We can agree on some great aspects of Swedish equality, but creating a more than equal society for women at the expense of men is unfair.

So ladies in Sweden, let there be hot lingerie advertisements. Take a lesson from the French: the female body is beautiful; might as well adorn it. The Swedish men could surely use some fire in their lives.

The most entertaining conversation ever

I was telling this story to a friend and she nearly died of laughter. You just can’t keep it to yourself.

Here’s the background:
Dude and I are entrenched in a conversation. It is important to note the dude is Swedish and the total lack of inhibition in his questioning is either due to his Swedish liberalness or his adorable naivety. Or maybe he was being a male (cute but silly).

We are discussing American politics, global affairs, etc. then eventually delve down into American conservatism. This inevitably leads to a conversation about gay rights…
Me: It’s really aggravating to witness a country that prides itself on “freedoms” and equal rights can prohibit two people from getting married. Makes me angry.
Sven*: So, are you a lesbian? [continues eating]
Me: [shell-shocked…WTF?!!…ask that question in the South mister and we’ll teach you where you can put that rifle…]
Me: [actually says] No.
Me: [still confused, flustered, embarrassed] No, I really like my men. Yeah…
Sven: [eating peacefully] Okay, that’s good then.

Later in the conversation…
Sven: I saw your photo. You have more hair and look different.
Me: [Why, you little…!!! – Imagine a Homer strangling Bart moment]
Me: Uhhh, yah that photo was when I was in college, 5 years ago. I also lost some hair b/c of my vacation in Iceland.
Sven: Ahhh.
Sven: You still don’t look bad.

*name changed to protect privacy but maybe not the privacy of the 50,000 people named Sven

Sven made me so irate that I was not sure if I wanted to strangle him or kiss him. He had the balls to say ridiculous things but do them in an innocent manner.

And not realizing that (the lesbian thing) was a loaded question was a true kicker. Coming from the South, I can guarantee someone would have punched him in a best case scenario. Worst case: a rifle up his ass.

Online Dating…Part 2

I thought I would update everyone on the online dating via match.se
Well, it’s not really going anywhere for a few reasons:
1) I have no photo posted – I will have to post one. Hopefully the world doesn’t find out my SN. :-P

2) All I get are matches that are in…Spanish!!! Yes, Spanish. All the very desperate men must be posting on every match.whatever and they all speak spanish. Sorry, I really don’t care and frankly it seems quite creepy.

3) I am still listed in a city network in California. I think I will have to change this to Stockholm, if I am to get any hits.

Oh, and the experiment doesn’t influence the people I am currently (or in the future) dating/seeing/mating with.

I’ll fix that and we will see what happens…