Swedish Mating and Dating
Swedish Mating and Dating
Frankly, I'm not sure how Sweden would manage to keep up its relatively high birth rate (compared to rest of Europe, at least) without the existence of such things as massive quantities of Carlsberg beer (see, some good things do come out of Denmark) and ferries to Finland that make it possible for Medel Svensson to purchase Absolut at affordable prices.
To me, as an émigré to Sweden trying to navigate the subtleties of romance in a foreign country, Swedish mating and dating rituals (and usually in that order) appear to be a very slow, conspicuous process that promises to baffle even the Swedes themselves. It goes something like this:
A) Meet at a mutual friend's party
B) Get really, really shit-faced
C) Make out
D) If you're lucky, you are sober enough to save the other person's telephone number in your mobile phone, AND to put it under the correct name.
A) Send a text message (assuming you were, in fact, sober enough to have completed step "D" of "Night One") along the lines of "last night was nice. Shall we have a coffee sometime?"
B) Spend hours analyzing the various ways in which aforementioned text message could be misinterpreted. Get your friends to help you in this endeavor.
A) Have a "fika."**(see below for an explanation of this Swedish institution)
B) At the end of this fika, give each other an awkward hug, or possibly a handshake, ended with the statement, "Vi hörs!" or "Hoppas vi ses snart!" ("I'll talk to you soon." or "Hope we see each other soon!")
**A "fika" is a Swedish word for an ambiguous meeting that may or may not be a date, or better explained as a non-date, or a date that is pretending-not-to-be-a-date. It is also worth mentioning that one can also have a fika with a friend, colleague, family member, or neighbor. Hence the ambiguity of the whole affair. During this "fika" Swedish non-date, things are a little stilted and awkward as both parties pretend that nothing happened last Saturday night, and politely and awkwardly ask questions about the other person, usually beginning with "Where do you live?," descending into a discussion about the difficulty and frustration of the Stockholm housing market, and complaining that you have had to move seven times in the course of six months.
A) Spend the entire next week pondering over who should make the next move.
PLEASE NOTE: It is not assumed here that the guy will take the lead in the relationship. More likely, the opposite is expected. If the Swedish guy, is, surprise, surprise, forward enough to actually open his mouth and say something at all during this date, he may feel that it is now the girl's turn to put herself out on a limb.
B) Spend many more hours analyzing your feeble attempts at SMS "flirting," agonizing over whether you or not should use the word "mysig" (cozy) or "trevlig" (nice), fearing the former may be too much, and the latter may not be enough. Once again, enlist the help of your friends.
Sometime in the next month:
B) Repeat Day Two.
C) Repeat Week One, all along pretending that Night One #1 and Night One #2 never happened.
Sometime in the next year:
A) Do something very scary: go out to dinner.
B) Since it's a little harder to pretend you are not on a real date in the formal atmosphere of a restaurant, drink massive amounts of the house wine.
3) At the end of dinner, closely examine the bill to make sure each person pays for his or her appropriate share of the check, including the extra 5 KR for dressing on the side.
Two weeks after doing something very scary:
A) Get kicked out of your way-too-expensive second-hand rental contract because the person you were subletting didn't take 10 study points and lost his/her contract for student housing.
B)Once again, bring up the subject of the horrors of the
C) Move in together.
D) Go shopping at IKEA.
E) Have a child. (Name it Johan, Erik, Fredrik, or Henrik if its a boy. Name it Sara, Anna, Lisa, or Emma if its a girl.)
F) Move to the suburbs and buy a Volvo.
At some point in the future:
A) Maybe, just maybe, get married.