Rude Swedes are not an oxymoron

Yes it seems strange to call Swedes rude but it is true when certain conditions are met.

Condition one: In a bar. People will push throw the crowds without ever uttering the words förlåt (sorry). Even if you are lucky to find a place with a table to put your drink down, you can bet some girl or guy will push from behind to overtake your spot. I had the experience of having a jackass spill wine (thankfully white) on my Burberry coat while at the bar. I poked him in the side, since he stood at a whooping 190cm, and told him I wanted napkins because he spilled wine on me. He was annoyed and irritated and in a condescending manner, apologized.

Condition two: On the street. Cars will just stop for you, few inches shy of stripping your soul out. People will walk straight into you or push you to the side; no apologies needed.

Condition three: In a restaurant. Tipping? Does not exist; or in rare instances, there is tipping. With that in mind, don’t expect much in the way of service. I have not experienced bad service (maybe because I am foreign) but stellar service definitely is lacking.

Condition four: Alcohol. Need I say more?

Condition five: On the train. You will get smashed; just hope the people nearby are wearing decent deodorant. You do not need to talk to the people around you, ever. Until the train comes to a crashing halt, your train compartment neighbors are invisible.

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.

Online Dating…Part 3

Okay! I officially switched networks to Stockholm and put up a photo a few days ago. Sadly, that has not stopped weird Spanish speaking people from “winking” at me…Maybe I signed up for the Match.espana instead of sverige? haha. And, let’s not forget the 40-60 year old males winking. Ewwwww…

But! Some profile observations on those Swedish guys:
* They begin their profile description: “I’m a nice and happy fellow” Someone should tell them, we’re pretty sure they’re nice…but hopefully they are not serial killers. =P
* There’s the “athletic” photo: Skiing, snowboarding, diving, swimming, running – because we have to see their great bodies and watch them being sweaty. (No complaints though)
* There’s a “party” photo: Yes, they have to prove they can drink öl…lots of öl
* Most are at least 180cm tall. Yes!
* They love sports, music, and the museum. Wow…sounds like an oxymoron if you were in America
* They all claim they are athletic and somehow I believe them
* And let’s not forget the “dress shirt” photo- hot tailored shirt on a swede…sounds good to me
* They like smart, athletic, women [how profound =P ]

What I’m really curious about is whether the Swedish male will “wink” first or if I have to do it. Does the internet make the connection more anonymous and therefore easier to initiate contact? I sent a few “winks” and we’ll find out.

Dating in Sweden…Need Your Help

I was checking out my blog stats today and noticed the original Dating in Sweden post was the most popular. Now I am guessing that post does not enlighten those of us who are currently confused because I am confused too.

I propose that if there are any Swedes (male or female) willing to take a survey about dating/love/sex, I will post the results in one month. Of course if you volunteer, I will not disclose your name or email. Help us, lovely Swedish folks, to better understand your culture.

Email me at fleurdeparis at gmail dot com. (okay that other email I put up earlier…doesn’t exist…yes, I am stupid at times)

Dating in Sweden…We Americans need a guide

NOTICE MARCH 20th, 2010: This post is now CLOSED for comments. But don’t fret, there is a NEW POST to make comments. This post is being closed because of its age, 200+ comments (causing reading issues), and load problems. Please continue writing and sharing stories on the new dating Swedish men post.

So I’m back in Sweden for a week and have a little while to mingle/party/get smushed on the T-bana with the Swedes. However, after living in France for a year and a half, I knew what was going on with the French dating system (quite screwed up). Now I know I have only been in Sweden a couple days (and will hopefully return permanently) but from reading various blogs and talking to Swedish girls, the dating system here is screwed up and really confusing.

First, I have to admit the American system is not good. It puts pressure on the man to pay, to do things, to have chivalry and then that puts pressure on the girl to put out. People date multiple people without really telling what’s going on and then all of a sudden things become official — “he’s my boyfriend now.” It is not acceptable for women to ask men out (believe me, it never works out even if he said yes on that first date).
Frankly, I’m not impressed with the system. I want to be able to pay my way, not feel pressured, and hell, if I like that man, I should ask him out.

Now it struck me that dating swedish men is something more utopian (for me at least) but at the same time more confusing than it could ever be.
So I figured I should at least put down all my questions and observations on this blog in the hopes that folks will respond with their own experiences and observations.

The Questions:
1. Is it acceptable for women to ask men out?
2. Do men expect women to ask them out or vice versa?
3. What is the Swedish version of a “date?”
4. Do Swedes date more than one person at a time before settling down with one person?
5. Do men prefer that women take the lead (i.e. make the moves)?
6. Does it really take forever for people to get married in Sweden?
7. How does a second date work?
8. What’s with the text messaging?
9. How/where do Swedes meet?

The Observations and Advice from fellow Swedish women:
– Women have to make the moves to make things happen
– Text, text, text message…just don’t call
– Go out on a date and really have no idea where you stand
– Meet someone and have no idea where you stand after chatting for a few hours
– Learn that they do seem to keep their feelings bottled up. They could probably make great poker players.
– Ask the man for his number because he’s not asking you
– “Swedish men are inconsiderate” i.e. they lack chivalry (not my words either!)
– People don’t flirt in public places, e.g. the train, the queue, the store
– People don’t really smile and flirt with the eyes. No no no.
– Men are thankfully not seen serenading women like they do in France (so annoying and wimpy)

I’ll add to this the more I understand (don’t understand) of this strange culture :)

What we do in Sweden during the winter

The very kind gentleman I was staying with explained what the Swedes do doing the winter. I thought, that I and everyone else on Earth already knew of Swedish winter pastimes. Dead wrong we were.

What do the Swedes “do” in the winter season to pass time? Invent things. Yes, build stuff. What do they build? Who knows… an upgraded cheese slicer? spiffier bikes?

As he explained some of the little widgets and such he and his friends built to pass time, I couldn’t help but smile. Seriously, smile. He was explaining everything in a cute, innocent manner though all I could think of, “You build things? Sure you are not hiding the truth? You sure that not after building something, you get tanked at the bar and…?”

Or maybe, “building things” is an analogy to what the rest of us believe the Swedes do during the winter.

Maybe I should stay there during the winter and see what these Swedes are really up to…

What I learned in 40 hours in Stockholm, Sweden

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.