Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Usual

A daily ritual, a weekly rite
Constructing a haven, a familiar sight
To plan ahead, to establish routine
Habitual, typical, plate wiped clean
A morning dance or an evening prayer
Something one feels that will always be there
A safety zone, freedom from random chance
Predictably exempt from happenstance
A space of one's own, divine and pristine
That is, 'til life chooses to intervene


Monday, November 28, 2005

Let me pick your brain Part II

Why? Because people love to check little boxes. The net is full of people who click "just because."
Please go here to take Part II of my survey on Mating and Dating in Sweden.

Tusen tack!

Things you’ve always wondered about Americans but were afraid to ask

I’ll start with a brief list of random facts:

1)Yes, it’s true. Lots of American teenagers think that oral sex “doesn’t count.” And most define “oral sex” as “blow job.” We haven’t quite reached gender equality in this aspect.
2)Lots of American parents think that if you don’t tell your kids about sex, they won’t have it.
3)Lots of American parents think that if you tell your kids about “safe sex” at school, you are only going to encourage them to have it.
4)On the 4th of July, we all take American flags and turn them into Greek togas. Then we run around singing “God Bless America.”
5)Lots of things (other than driving) do happen in cars. I had my first kiss in the back of a pick up at a drive-in-movie.

Now it's your turn. Finish the question "Is it true that...?" and I'll see what I can do about finding an answer for you.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Striking results

While I have yet to analyze fully the results of my oh-so-scientific quiz on Swedish mating and dating, there is one result which seems remarkable, even upon a very preliminary overview of the data. It seems that Swedes do not meet their significant other at the grocery store. NO ONE checked that option. Whatever happened to wistful glances across the produce aisle, or love at first sight over frozen chicken breasts?

Personally, I like to shop for my men in the meat section.

kyss mig!

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Värför kom du till Sverige?

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFör att dansa med isbjörnar, förstås!


Swedish Traditions I think I'll Pass On
1) Finlandskryssning
2) Surströmming
3) Lutfisk

Been there, done that
1) Julmust (not really what you want when you are expecting a refreshing gulp of Coca Cola)
2) Kalles kaviar (fish eggs in a tube? come on now...)

Been there, found delightful
1) Lucia (okay, but doesn't it bother anyone else, at least a little, that there is an OPEN FLAME on the poor girl's head?)
2) Knäckebröd
3) Glögg
4) Lingonsylt

Still haven't been there, but hoping to someday
1) Midsommar (my friends back home keep thwarting my plans to do so, by planning inconvenient things like weddings during that weekend)
2) A Swedish sommarstuga

We will now return to our regularly scheduled program

Sometimes one has to face one's life head-on, rather than sitting back and blogging about it.

I apologize for my absence.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ett försök i alla fall

Vi får se hur det här går på svenska.

Egentligen tänkte jag att inte skriva om Bloggforum 3.0 eftersom det finns många andra som kan det bättre än jag, typ Fredrik. Och även Eff skriver om den, fast han var inte där. Jag är dock säkert att ni skulle vara jätte intresserade att få veta att han är väldigt förtjust i Isobels snyggt utseende (och ost, förresten).

Moment 3, "Media - Håller bloggar på att äta upp media, eller äter media upp bloggarna?" var väldigt intressant. Panelen bestod av Sigge Eklund, Isobel Hadley-Kamptz, Helle Klein, Elin Sandström, och moderator Per Gudmundson. En sak de diskuterade var hur man drar gränsen mellan "privat" och "offentligt" i arbetslivet. Vad är man tillåtan att skriva som "sig själv" i ens blogg om man jobbar som journalist, till exempel?

Diskussionen gick vidare i moment 4 med Loïc Le Meur från SixApart. Han hävde att konsumenterna inte vill längre skiljer mellan näringslivsrepresentant som affärsman (eller affärskvinna) och som person. De (konsumenterna) vill inte ha en snygg PR kampanj som visar den glänsande bilden. De vill ha det verkliga förhållandet. Sanningen, helt enkelt.

Nu kommer vi till min egen utgångspunkt (och även inspirationen till detta inlägg). Jag har valt att skriva den här bloggen "Kommissarie Femina Curiosa" anonymt. Inte för att jag är skäms på det jag skriver, utan att det kan orsaka några praktiska problem i mitt eget liv om vissa personer skulle ramla över mina sidor.

Jag använder ganska mycket humor och sarkasm i det jag skriver. Och jag menar inte illa. Anledningen till att jag inte vill att "Meat Man" tex skulle läser den här bloggen har mer att göra med inlägg som det här, där jag erkänner att jag verkligen undrar vad han har som avsikt mot mig och vårt "vänskap." Man ville ju spelar under lika villkor och det är klart att han har en fördel framför mig om han får läsa min hemlig dagbok på nätet. Jag känner honom ganska väl och tycker att han faktiskt skulle hålla med att det här är roligt. (Han refererar till hans…umm…kropp…som kött).

Hur som helst ville jag egentligen säger någonting om Curiosa "som persona" och Curiosa "som person." Det har med identitet att göra, och man är olika saker i olika sammanhang. Jag som person och jag som författare är inte samma sak. Här kan jag vara bitchig och kaxig på ett sätt som man inte kan vara i vardagslivet. Jag är faktiskt ganska snällt i verkligheten. (Really!) Men, men…

Det jag vill verkligen skriva är att jag kommer ALDRIG att skriva någons namn eller avslöja nåt känslig som kunde verkligen såra någon. Jag tror att någon kanske kunde ha missförstått mina avsikter med den här bloggen. Jag tycker inte om att jag är coolare än alla killar eller att jag kan få vem som helst. Det är inte en "bimboblogg" som det kallas några dagar sen.** (Det är inte heller en ”sexblogg” för den delen.) Det är mitt sätt att släppa ut ångan.

God forbid anyone take anything I write here too seriously.

Värför jag valde att skriva det här inlägg på svenska har jag ingen aning om. Hoppas att det är iaf begripligt. (Ni får jätte gärna rätta mig! Det här är nåt slags experiment i det svenska språket.)

**Jag har pratat med personen som uppfann termen ”bimboblogg” och vi har till slut kommit överens. Han är faktiskt en snäll (och intelligent) människa.


Image hosted by Photobucket.comIbland blir man positivt överraskad av folk.

Den är bra, tycker jag.

Bild: Alice in Wonderland (1951)


Image hosted by Photobucket.comSufferin' succotash, it's cold outside!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Cheap Romance Novel

Our eyes met across the room, and his glance gave away that he knew EXACTLY what I wanted. And he was prepared to give it to me.

He came over and stood next to me. My body quivered in anticipation, and I could feel my mouth start to salivate. I ran my tongue along the ridge of my teeth, just waiting for that delicious taste. I have been waiting, longing for this for days. Fantasizing.

The visual sensation -- the beautiful curves -- the pungent aroma -- the metallic tenderness -- I swallowed, closing my eyes, imagining.

That first encounter -- taking it into myself, within myself -- it becoming a part of me -- the melding of two bodies into one.

Feeling the juice running down my chin, and thinking, "DAMN, that's just about the best cheeseburger I've ever eaten."

Tickle me pink

Wow, I think it's time to change the name of my blog. Someone actually just suggested that this is a "bimbo blog." You know, I have been called lots of things, but I do believe this is the first time I've been called a bimbo.

Although, I must say, I've decided to take that as a compliment. For Bimbo's Bitchin' Burrito Kitchen in Seattle serves a mighty fine burrito. Or so I've been told.

Apparently, it's also the name of a restaurant and inn, Bimbo Veikro in Selfors, Norway.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Copycat (or, you found nemo where?)

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI promise, I'm not really trying to copy Pale Green Woman. But I was inspired by her post on Finding Nemo. I couldn't resist sharing I Rub My Fishie. In the same spirit as Miranda's exploration of the Rabbit on Sex in the City, you can enjoy all of its rubbing pleasure for only 369 SEK.

Blonds have more fun

"You know, Curiosa," my friend Annie told me, "you're not the type of girl that guys date just for fun."

Ummmmm, thanks. I think.

I'm fun. I really am. I AM! Aren't I?!?!

Face-to-face, I guess I come across as fairly serious. In fact, sometimes people have a hard time knowing when I'm joking. I'm not the most extroverted person, especially in social situations, preferring instead to sit back and observe. It's not that I don't often have something to say; I usually have much more to say than I am willing to articulate. Yes, there is a constant stream of sarcastic commentary running through my head, but I save that for my closest friends and family as well as complete strangers on the Internet.

Guys say they want a girl with a brain. Why then, am I ten times more successful (at bars) when I pretend to be the happy, ditzy, clueless Valley Girl type?

Curiosa the Valley Girl:
My name is like wow! Curiosa and I live in Stockholm. I study here, and like, sumtimes go to work. Its a awesum city. Like, there's lots to do. I live downtown. I can dig bein' in thuh middle of thin's. That's so cool! Gag me with a pitchfork! So, mostly, what do you do? You know, like, it's totally class to meet a real Swede!

Curiosa as myself:
Hej! Jag heter Curiosa och jag bor här i Stockholm. Jag jobbar och pluggar här. Jag tycker mycket om Stockholm. Mycket att göra! Det är jätte kul att bo i stan! Så vad gör du? Det är inte så ofta att man träffar en riktig svensk (eftersom alla mina vänner kommer från andra länder).

Note the English (kind of) in the first approach, and the svengelska in the second version. The first one is ALWAYS (not that it happens very often) more successful, and leaves me worn out and ready to go home and go to bed, even though my chances of going home alone on those evenings is much less than when I am "Curiosa as myself."

Maybe it's just the impression it gives off. But let's just say that personally, the line "So what's your favorite book?" is going to go a lot further than "Hey baby, what's your sign?"

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why I don't use metrodate

Image hosted by Photobucket.comHere is what I had to choose from when finally got around to checking my Metrodate messages (it's been six months):

Lorenzo from Italia, asked "Are you interested in having also a short conversation with me before our wedding or not?" Lorenzo is also "waiting for the right moment in which i'll build an happy family, with an happy wife, some happy children and an happy dog."

Yes, we all want a happy dog, don't we?

Kaan from Turkey said, "i am honest,reliable,looking for a serious realtionship and for real love!and i belive i can find it.i dont care who you are,where you're from,what you did,as long as you love me!" Then he wrote, "if u like what u see,let me know,ok?"

So all I have to do is love him? Maybe one of these days I'll get around to letting him know.

Cheick from Germany said, "Talk to me and discover my personality. Possible to meet you ? Tell something about you, yr life, yr famaly, ask me all you want to know about me, Awaiting yr reply." Followed by his email, his other email, his Skype address, his work phone, and his mobile phone, as well as the request to "send me more photos from you."

Now Cheick, why didn't you just get to the point, and come straight out and ask for the photos you're never going to get?

Godfrey from Tanzania introduced himself. "I've seen your profile and i'm interested and right now just give me u r hotmail account so that I can add u in my msn messenger and then we'll be chatting all day long every day so that we can know each other better."

That's one long run-on sentence, if I do say so myself. Punctuation, Godfrey, it's called punctuation. And I must add that I am thrilled by the prospect of "chatting all day long every day."

And finally, Michael from Hollywood, CA, who was coming to town to visit his brother, offered his company for "lunch...drinks...etc..." I should also mention his age is 51.

I'm afraid to ask what he meant by "etc," but I will instead simply refer him to Rule A.

Let me pick your brain

Mating and Dating in Sweden

Please note: this is NOT a scientific survey. At the very most, it will give an insight into the minds and love lives of Swedes who read blogs.

1.  Are you...

2.  Are you...

3.  What is your relationship status?

Sambo (living together)

In a relationship

Dating (interpret that how you will)

Still trying to figure out how to date in Sweden

Alone and bitter, by choice

Alone and bitter, by default

4.  How did you meet your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/f**k buddy/date/flavor of the month?




Mutual friends

Grocery store

Other social activity (choir, club)


I told you, I'm alone and bitter

5.  When did you have your first sexual encounter with your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/f**k buddy/date/flavor of the week?
The first time we met

The first date (once again, "date" is defined loosely here)

Sometime between the main course and dessert

In the bathroom of the airplane

Somewhere in between the second date and moving in together

We're waiting

Still trying to get to the first sexual encounter, damn it

6.  Was there any alcohol involved in your first sexual encounter with your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/f**k buddy/date/flavor of the week?


Still drinking, and hoping

7.  Any other thoughts? If you can remember what they were?

Hostell dwelling Swede getting laid big-time

While any discerning consumer of information will surely rely upon Fox News as his or her number one media source for objective reporting, I prefer to get my news from more obscure sources, such as the Onion. And here is a taste of some of the juicy tidbits about Sweden American readers get to snack on:

NEW YORK – Anders Perssen, 23, a Swedish backpacker currently staying at the Chelsea International Youth Hostel, admitted Monday to getting "a great large amount of tail" during the first two weeks of his three-month tour of the U.S.

"Ja, is true," said the smiling Stockholm native. "I am getting laid big-time."

Perssen, who shares a dormitory-style room with five other men, said he has been "very lucky with ladies" ever since arriving in the U.S.

"I admit, it has been very easy to have the women to sleep with me," he said. "Much harder when I am home. Not impossible, I don't say. But, ja, harder."**

**Excerpted from:The Onion. Volume 39: Issue 18. 14 May 2003. (I'm not sure what the copy right issues are here, so I won't post the whole article. Which of course I haven't cut and pasted. No siree Bob, not me. But if you want the whole thing, leave a comment with your email, or send me a note at fcuriosa at gmail dot com, and I'll see what I can do.) And yes, its 3:42 am and I should be sleeping.


Nu myser jag med kuddarna.

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Clearly, I'm missing something...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOne of the problems of being a foreigner in Sweden is that there are occasionally gaps in my cultural knowledge. You know, the things you just take for granted. The things you grow up with. For example, I was very surprised when I learned that not a lot of Swedes had heard of the poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas", as well as Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat. I guess I just assumed that these types of things would have been part of learning English, sort of like we had to read Le Petit Prince in French.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOkay, so I get that Swedes have to watch Kalle Anka (Donald Duck) on Christmas Eve. But can someone please, please explain to me why there is a "Rock Bear" who has a blog in Swedish? I'm hoping this isn't some kind of cultural icon that I've just totally missed out on. (It's possible! I come from a country that actually has a holiday dedicated to a rodent: Groundhog Day.)

I just don't get it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Kommissarie Curiosa is on the case

Excerpted from "Adolescent identity formation: a Swedish study of identity status using the EOM-EIS-II" by Bergh and Erling:

In Sweden, there is no dating culture as such. Swedish dating is usually very informal and there are no particular "rules" or traditions regarding dating procedures. Surely, romantic relationships are important to Swedish adolescents when forming an identity; however, to find a way to measure identity status within that area would first require for example, an investigation of how Swedish adolescents form romantic relationships, and what the process of getting to know someone to whom you are attracted looks like.

See, even academics who study the "Swedish identity" aren't even sure how one goes about dating in Sweden. They do, however, identify a need to "investigate how Swedes...form romantic relationships."

Maybe I should refer them to Swedish Mating and Dating. I've already started the field work, and even a little bit of theorizing. I think I have the topic for my doctoral dissertation.

Är det dags?

Det finns många svenskar som bloggar på engelska, typ Swedish Girl in London. Kanske är det dags att några anglofiler börjar blogga på svenska? Eller kanske inte. Inte alltid, i alla fall.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.comNu är jag inte berusad längre.

Nu har jag ont i huvudet. Jag behöver Alvedon.

Nu blir jag hungrig, men jag orkar inte äta nåt.

Knäckebröd är ju en bra lösning.

Bara för att...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comJag tänker för mycket. Kanske skriver för mycket också. Jag kom precis hem från mitt favorit cafeställe i Stockholm. Och eftersom det är ju fredags kväll, så bjöd ägaren på lite grattis vin. Alltså är jag lite småberusad. Så tänker jag skriva på svenska. Nånting som jag gör alledeles för sällan. Det beror kanske på att jag ar lite spänd när det gäller min egen svenska. Jag vill att det skulle vara perfekt. (Vinet hjälper inte alls min förmåga att uttrycka mig i det svenska språket. Då blir grammatiken och stavningen värre och värre. Vinet släpper bara hämningarna.) Det känns ju lite konstigt att skriva på ett annat språk än mitt eget. Men jag har ett särskilt förhållande till allt som har med språk och skrivandet att göra. Egentligen är det inte samma sak att skriva på ett annat språk än mitt modersmål. Man kan inte vara lika charmig eller lika rolig. Visst skriver man roliga saker, men inte alltid med avsikt.

Det är fredagskväll. Och jag är hemma. Ensam. Jag sitter på sängen med datorn. Trist, va? Inte riktig. Det känns ganska bra faktiskt.

Meat Man är nånstans mellan the MBFN** och Stockholm. Jag tänker att inte svara om han ringer mitt i natten. För övrigt tror jag att han kommer inte att göra den iaf. The Other Swedish Guy from Last Summer är ute med killkompisar. Dr. Style är på dejt just nu. L frågade om jag ville följa med till Filmfestivalen. For att kolla tre skräckfilmer. I rad. Med henne och hennes norlänning. Nej, tack. Kanske nån annan gång.

Nu tänker jag krypa ner i sängen och kolla det senaste Alias avsnittet.


Because I've always wanted to be a spy.

**middle of butt-fuck nowhere
****Ni får jätte gärna rätta min svenska. Men bara om ni lovar att inte skratta. För mycket, iaf.

It's that time of year again

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While there are 101 reasons why I love Sweden and Stockholm, November is not one of them.

Image from Tooth Paste for Dinner.

How to Annoy a Swede (or, why I'll never learn proper Swedish part II)

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThere are two surefire ways to annoy a Swede, or just embarrass yourself: 1) Do an "I am Inga fram Sveden" impression in a sing-songy voice, sounding like you're about ready to hyperventilate; 2) even better, do a Swedish Chef impersonation, mumbling börk börk and something about chickens in baskets.

Here's the scenario:

I'm at Mojo Coffee. I want to order a latte. Not just any latte, mind you, but a latte from the city of Starbucks, the Emerald City, the city where caffeine addictions begin, the coffee capital of North America. I want a "Seattle City Style Latte," as opposed to just a plain 'ol regular style latte.

So if I order entirely in Swedish, it's going to come out sounding like: "Jag skulle vilja ha en Seettle-a Ceety Style-a Lette-a," in my poor attempt to keep the Swedish melody throughout the sentence. I tried that. Once. And never again. It's just plain wrong, no matter how you look at it.

If I say, "Jag tar en Seattle City Style Latte," breaking back into my American accent when I pronounce "Seattle City Style Latte," I can guarantee the barista is going to answer me in English.

If I order in English, I'll be re-inforcing the thought that Americans aren't good at foreign languages. Or I can try pointing. Once again, guaranteed English.

While the importation of English words into the middle of a Swedish sentence helps when it comes to comphrehension, it doesn't help at all with pronunciation. I tried speaking Swedish in a course where the literature was entirely in English, and it ended up being incomprehensible to every else in the class since my "swedish" than became English words with Swedish conjuctions. The instructor finally said, "You know, you can speak English. We'll probably understand you better."


Until I find a way around this dilemma, I'm going to go back to drinking my Seettle-a Ceety Style-a Lette-a.

And as an aside, I've been here three years and I still haven't met any girls named Inga who come fram Sveden.

Bloggers Anonymous

"I'm going to a Blog Forum this weekend."

"WTF? A Blog What? Is that like a Star Trek Convention? Do you, like, speak Klingon or something?"

No offense to any trekkies out there...


Jag kan inte sova.

There's this guy. We'll call him Him. We've known each other two years. There was the office Christmas party. Then there was The Thing. Then there The Talk, and there was no longer The Thing. Then there was The Thing That Everyone Else Thought Was Going On. You know, That Thing that Wasn't All in My Head. That Thing that He Never Acknowledged. Then we both went away for awhile, and I was pretty sure I was over The Thing that Wasn't All in My Head that He Never Acknowledged. Now we're both back.

Tonight I talked to Him on the phone. "Who was that?" my friend asked.

"That was Him," I said.

"I thought so," my friend replied.

"What do you mean?" I asked, indignantly.

"The way you talked to Him. Your face lit up."

Sometimes I hate Him.

Did I mention I still have text messages He sent me during The Thing saved on my phone?

Skit bra!

Vilken tur jag har haft! One of my closest girlfriends has fallen in love with a Norrlänning (did I spell that right?) and she has moved to the MBFN.** Which means she has an empty apartment in a very nice part of town. And you know it's serious because her cat has moved to Norrland with her. Considering that my current residence is about the size of the closet in her apartment, I am very, very pleased.

**middle of butt-fuck nowhere


The 26th of every month (the day after payday), Valborgsafton** , and ski vacations in the Alps nonwithstanding, Swedes are usually a very sober, polite, and somewhat reserved people. However, Swedes also have a habit of dropping a rather loud phrase in English in the middle of an otherwise hushed conversation in Swedish. Today's "quote of the day" has to make you wonder what the rest of the conversation was about:

"Sex is not the answer, it's the question. And the answer is yes."

**Think Sweden meets Animal House. Every year on the eve of April 30th, drunken college and high school students celebrate the arrival of Spring with fire, lots of snaps, and silly white hats.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Apparently, someone linked to this site off of a private group message board of the London Seduction Society. The website info is rather cryptic, but it seems this is a secret society that is a "UK based forum for men interested in picking up women." Here's how they describe it:

The aim of the group is to provide a support base for men who want to improve their seduction skills. The emphasis is on actually meeting up and practicing for real, rather than being yet another Internet forum. We run a mixture of formal and less formal meetings.

The idea of a group of men meeting up with other men in order to practice their seduction skills of women is amusing, among other things. Slightly frightening, would be another. (Wouldn't it make more sense to practice your skills on actual women? Just typing outloud here...)

"It's your turn to be the woman."
"No! It's your turn. I did it last time."
"Alright fine, but I'm not wearing the wig."

And only God knows what information they gleaned from Swedish Mating and Dating. I can guess that one of the conclusions drawn from this might be "women like men who are forward" and possibly "and drunk." Just remember: forward, yes; obnoxious, no.

Question of the Day

I stumbled across this bit of advice earlier today. Here you have it, the answer to the question of the day:

How do relationships start in Sweden?

"First, you start by waking up next to her..."

Dear Self,

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It's never, ever a good idea to wear this shirt out in public, especially at night. It's just a bad pick up line waiting to happen.


F. Curiosa

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Vart är svengelska språket på vägen? (or, why I'll never learn proper Swedish)

Hej Sven!

Jag sitter här med min laptop och blev jätte glad när jag loggade in och fick se en mejl från dig i min inbox. Vad nice! Det var tur att du ramlade in på min sida när du surfade runt. Jag har som policy att aldrig gå på dejt med nån jag inte har chattat med först på MSN. Vad har du för username?

Trivs du med ditt jobb som business manager? Det verkar vara att jag själv jobbar som pro bloggare nuförtiden.

Well, that's it for now.

Ciao, baby!

F. Curiosa

Who, me?

I am good at dating. I should clarify; I am good at dating guys that I am only somewhat interested in. When I fall, I fall hard. And often flat on my face.

I actually liked Meat Man (recent self-delusions about the nature of his package aside) a lot. We dated off-and-on for about three months last spring. I actually still like him; I'm just not sure if I entirely trust him with that delicate thing known as my heart.

Part of the problem was Meat Man lives in the Swedish hinterlands. What the folks back home would call the middle of butt-fuck nowhere (MBFN). He moved there with the promise of an alluring career, and instead found nothing but moose and polar bears.

(Okay, I made the polar bear part up).

Most of his social life revolves around Stockholm. So every weekend, he commutes from the MBFN to the capital city.

I wanted more than an occasional weekend fling, and I suspect that he was only looking for a place to stay when he was in town. So, we dropped the charade and made the decision to be "just friends."

Now Meat Man is moving back to Stockholm this next weekend. He got a really good job offer, and was more than happy to get the hell out of the MBFN. Like clockwork, he called me in the middle of the night on Friday, drunk as a skunk.

I don't know what he expected. I shouldn't have even picked up the phone, but I did. I let him sleep here, but I wasn't about to go down that road again. Not until I'm sure I'm not going to get hurt again.

Apart from debating why or why not I wasn't going to take my pants off, we had a really good time. He made me laugh a lot back last spring, and he made me laugh a lot this weekend. (And not just at his "meat" references.)

Problem is, I'm not so sure I'm ready to let my guard down with this one again. I still haven't figured out the mysterious "WHAT DOES HE WANT?" Okay, so I know one thing he wanted (and didn't get) on Friday night, but I'm still not sure what else he wants.

So now its almost the weekend again. Do I sit back and see if he calls again? A philosophy I've heard, and hate, but definitely believe, is that the less that I (show that I) like him, the more he'll like me. Is he going to interpret my rejection of his "meat" as rejection of him?

Which it's not. I could see myself dating Meat Man again (he's really gonna have to work hard to get rid of that name). Thing is though, this time it's going to be on my terms.

It's all or nothing, baby.

Dear Swedish Parents,

You would think in a country of only 9 million people, you wouldn't run out of names. Swedes are generally quite innovative, except it seems in the naming of their children.**

I know it's a little late to undo the damage done in the mid 70s, but for the sake of future Anglo-Saxon daters in Sweden, please try to diversify in the future.

It just makes my job all-that-much more difficult. At the moment, I am chatting with The Guy with the Name, The Guy with the Same Name, and The Other Guy with the Same Name. I must say, it gets rather confusing, and I'm certain that one of these days, I'm gonna screw up. Big Time.

I've already almost gotten myself into trouble.

Me: "So, you grew up in Malmö, right?"
Guy with the Same Name: "No, Stockholm. I just told you that. It must be someone else who grew up in Malmö."

Gulp. Too many slip-ups like that, and I'm not going to be talking to anyone with The Name.

And then there are the phone calls. When I see "The Name" appear on my phone, I am really not sure who it is I am going to be talking to when I pick up.

Me: "Hej du!"
The Other Guy with the Same Name: "Hej hej. Should we take a fika tomorrow?"
Me: "Ummmm, sure. What were you thinking?"
Me [to myself]: Please, please, please give me some kind of clue.
The Other Guy with the Same Name: "After work. We could meet in the center."
Me [to myself]: Damn. I hope he means the center of Stockholm.

I still don't know which of the three I'm having a fika with tomorrow. Let's just hope I recognize him.

So Swedish parents, please, I implore you: get a little creative when picking your sons' given names. It would have made my life so much easier.


F. Curiosa

**Click here for a list of the most popular Swedish girls' names and boys' names in 2004.

My little black book

There is something to be said about doing a little spring cleaning now and then, even if it is only November. In a last ditch effort to find some someone to keep me company at my favorite coffeeshop this afternoon, I scrolled through the "phone book" in my handy dandy, and most trustworthy Sony Ericsson mobile telephone. The first person listed is my friend A, a Portuguese exchange student who has similarly found himself stuck in Stockholm a year or two after he ever imagined he would be here. Thankfully, A is a pretty nice guy, as I think on a few occasions he has gotten strange text messages from me that were meant for other people, by virtue of being Number One on my phone list. Scrolling down a little further, I come to "Air France Sweden," which is a remnant of my ill-fated encounter with a dastardly melon--that literally left me reeling...for days--in Morocco. Air France Sweden was my lifeline back to civilization, AND western plumbing.

Then come the rest of the A's, A2 and A3, both who live in my building, and both whose intentions were a little bit more than neighborly. (A2, I promise, my only intention was to borrow the vacuum cleaner! There WAS NO ulterior motive, as much as you would like to think so!) To round out the A's, I come to another friend, who is listed by her blogger name user name, rather than her first name, probably because when I first met her, I only knew her internet "alias." I don't feel too bad about that, as she still calls me my other alter ego Curiosa.

This importation of usernames into real life also extends to my love life as well. There is "heterpeter" and "bad_bad_dog," both of which were internet dates, and only one of which made it past the coffee shop, and then only to the art museum. I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that "heterpeter" is "named Peter." But for the life of me, though, I cannot recall bad_bad_dog's real name. Nor am I sure if I want to.

Then there are the friends who have the same name. This is one of the few drawbacks of living in Sweden, as Swedish parents seem to be confined to a list of about 20 names, 10 for each gender. There is Marcus "with a C" and Markus "with a K." Then there is Fredrik, Freddie, and Fredrik, and although I'm pretty sure I know who Freddie is, I'm not alltogether certain which Fredrik is which. Then there are Lisa and Lisa, whose names are annotated with the descriptors "Lisa blond" and "Lisa brun." This is further complicated by the fact that "Lisa blond" has changed her mobile number several times, switching back and forth, until I'm not really sure which one she is using at the current moment. So anytime I want to talk to her, I take a chance and call "Lisa blond new," or sometimes I hedge my bets and try "Lisa blond old." I've got a 50/50 chance of being right, assuming she hasn't changed it once again. (Then, of course, there is T One and T2, but I guess that doesn't count, since its two phones, but one in the same person.)

And of course, I can't forget about my friends who are difficult to pinpoint geographically. There is "R Netherlands," "R Germany," and "R Lithuania." At the moment, she's in Libya, so I'm not entirely sure what number to call, or if I should just go ahead and add "R Libya" to the list.

Apparently sometimes, I also need to get in touch with myself. From my stint in Spring 2003 in Amsterdam, I picked up a Dutch mobile number, which I saved as "Me Holland" so I would remember it should I ever need to call myself.

But really, the one I am most curious about, the one furthest down on the list, the one I am tempted to pick up and call, is the one earmarked, "Vem?" ("Who?" in Swedish). It would be interesting to see who would answer, and to ask him/her, "Why are you in my little black book?"

The Swedish Uniform

My friend, well, we'll just call him Houston, is from Texas. Houston has been living the life of a jet-setting expat for several years. He has lived in the Netherlands for a few years, studied his masters here in Stockholm, and is currently breaking the hearts of beautiful Russian girls in St. Petersburg.

When Houston arrived in Stockholm, it was quite evident that he was American, from the way he talked, the way he walked, and even more obviously, the way he dressed. Not that there was anything wrong with the way he dressed. Houston is actually quite good-looking; he just wasn't living up to his full potential. Like many American guys, he insisted on buying pants that were three sizes too big, and wore shirts that would have fit an NFL linebacker. And he seemed to have a preference for plaid. Of various colors and patterns, but lots and lots of plaid. And he suscribed to the belief that tennis shoes go with just about anything, including business wear.

Upon going out to various venues at night, Houston began to get a bit style-conscious, and wondered outloud if his wardrobe wasn't quite up to snuff. So then he asked my beautiful friend, whom I shall call Dr. Style, to be his personal shopper. And so the process of Swedification began.

By the time Dr. Style was done with Houston, she had convinced him that he looks great in blue, had informed him of his actual size in pants and shirts, and in other words, had worked a miracle. Houston appeared that evening in what I like to call his "Swedish uniform." He had the slim fitting jeans, the tight button-up shirt with just enough buttons unbuttoned at the collar, the shiny black shoes, and yes, ladies and gentleman, the grand finale, the corduroy blazer. Houston looked, well, Swedish.

The only thing missing was the little tuft of hair at the front of his scalp sculpted very carefully into a perfect little point or the mop to be slicked straight back. Houston, unfortunately a victim of early male baldness, had no hair to sculpt.

As a final note, I should mention that this "uniform" is most likely to be seen around Stureplan and Vasastan. Those creative types, you know, the ones sporting the "artist uniform," roaming the streets of Södermalm -- looking slightly unkept, trying really hard to look like they didn't try at all, the chin-length hair hanging down over one eye, the converse sneakers -- are an entirely different species all together.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Not really about dating, but it makes for good conversation during the first "fika." Swedishisms I've learned the hard way:

1) "Mjölk" and "filmjölk" are NOT the same thing, even though they are packaged in very similar looking Tetrapacks. Pouring "fil" into your coffee is a very nasty surprise.

2) It doesn't work to translate "care package" directly from English into Swedish. A care package is a box of goodies your family sends you when go to summer camps as a kid, or later on, to college. But Swedes look at you very strangely when you proclaim exuberantly, "Min mor skickade mig ett vårdpacket!!"

3) Be very careful with long and short vowels. "Att knöla" means something entirely different than what it might if pronounced with a long vowel. (The best translation I can come up with it "to crumple up.") I am never allowed to say that I'm going to "knöla" anything. I use the other word only deliberately, just so there are no misunderstandings about what I want to do and where I want to do it.

4) "Kö" and "kön" are actually two different words, even though "kö" becomes "kön" when you mean to say "the queue." The former is pronounced with a hard k, and the latter is pronounced with a soft k. Imagine my surprise, my second week in Stockholm, when my Swedish friends burst out laughing when I came back from the bathroom slightly disgruntled "Det finns en länge kön i toaletten."

I should also add that I will forever be amused by Swedish words such as utfart (exit) and slut (end, or final). I shall always, always get a smile on my face when I read online profiles whose male authors describe themselves as "en glad prick." I KNOW this means something along the lines of "a nice guy," but I can't help but think that he is referring to himself as a real dickhead. Self-awareness, fellows, is a good thing.

Guilty as charged

Okay, I admit it. I'm guilty of impersonating a Swede. I didn't mean to do it, really. I was in a nightclub in Riga, and my two American guy friends had taken off with some buxom Latvian ladies. That left me with two choices for companionship: a) the Russian guys sitting at the bar, who looked distinctly like they might belong to the mafia; and b) a pair of fairly harmless looking British rugby chaps on holiday. I chose the latter, for various practical and linguistic reasons. I figured I could handle them if they got the wrong idea about my intentions. I was looking for someone to talk to, not to go home with to some grungy hostel.

So of course, one of the first questions they asked was: "Where are you from?" The answer to this question is not as straightforward as one might think. To keep things simple, I answered, "Stockholm." This led them to assume that if I lived in Stockholm, I must be Swedish. I didn't mean to mislead them; I just didn't want to explain my whole life story all the while shouting at the top of my lungs over extremely loud music.

And, very much similar to the men described in this situation, here they were, suddenly kids in a candy store. They must have thought that today was the first night of the rest of their lives. Here I was, a blond, tall Swedish woman (yes, I can "pass" as the stereotypical Swedish woman, with my blond hair and blue eyes, at least until I open my mouth and out comes svenska med amerikansk brytning) alone in a strange nightclub in a foreign city, and since I had been so bold as to have a conversation with them, I must certainly be planning on going back to their hotel to have an orgy with them. See Mamma Mu for an elaboration of what might have been going through their heads (sorry, its på svenska for the Swedish impaired).

The night quickly went downhill from there, and shortly I was headed home (alone) to my Soviet-era bed (but not before they both complimented me on my wonderful English skills). I am sure that the lads were quite disappointed, as I had fulfilled none of their fantasies about Swedish women. Meanwhile, I was fascinated (and disgusted) that their demeanor changed from somewhat reserved and polite to extremely forward (and downright obnoxious) within two seconds of learning that I was a Swedish girl, and all of the assumptions that go with that.

I'm not entirely sure what my point is in writing about this incident, but I guess it goes to show how assumptions can get you in all sorts of trouble. I've been accused of playing into stereotypes about "the strong, silent Nordic type" and have received some comments "we're not all shy guys!" Believe me, I understand. Being an American in Europe comes with its own heavy bags of assumptions, and accusations, that I have to disprove one by one. I just wanted to say that if you think that all I'm doing is bashing Swedish guys for their lack of initiative, think again. I would much prefer a man who thinks before he speaks than one who assumes I'm a nymphomaniac because of my nationality.

I should also mention that thus far, all of my "criticisms" of the shy guy approach (or lack thereof) have been about the first encounter -- the glance from across the room, the first "Hej!” the first date. I have refrained from commenting on the real bulk of my investigation, which is, as the title of this blog states "Under the Covers."

Stay tuned.

Jag undrar...

While taking a bit of a break from what I was supposed to be doing, I decided to sneak a peek at Cosmo online. Not exactly brain food, but amusing. I had to laugh, and wonder, at the following tidbit from "Sex Tips From Guys":

Tugging on my earlobe just a bit with your teeth makes me lose all sense of the English language.

Now, I wonder, is this equally applicable to the Swedish language?

The Cast and Crew

Starring in reruns (not currently syndicated):

1) The chickenshit (never, ever break up with a girl by text message and expect get through it alive)
2) The dog lovin', animal mountin', forest hermit freak**
3) The Palestinian used car salesman (the name speaks for itself, that's what he was)
4) Hamlet (aka, the Dane)
5) The Guy from the Office

These actors may or may not have cameos in upcoming episodes.

Currently featuring:
1) Meat Man (formerly known as the Swedish Guy from Last Summer Spring)
2)The Other Swedish Guy from Last Summer

Auditions are currently being held at various venues, located at various Swedish internet dating sites. Potential leading men include:

1) Boat Man
2) The Guy with the Name
3) The Guy with the Same Name

** "Animal Mounting" in this case refers to the stuffing of and nailing to the wall the heads of animals that one has killed with a shotgun, or bow and arrow

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's official

I am officially re-dubbing the Swedish Guy From Last Summer Spring as Meat Man. It's too good to let it go. After all, he practically named himself.

Ja så?

Interesting idea, Lunch Date. Food and flirting. Hmmmmm. I think I'll wait awhile.

Dear Swedish Guys,

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis restaurant is a fantastic place to take a girl on a first date, especially if you are expecting to get some action. Then again, maybe it's actually a great idea, only because if you both eat a lot of it you'll be spending a lot of time alone together after your breath clears the room.

A word of advice: Go easy on the winterfresh gum; then you'll just have minty garlic breath. Go heavy on the parsley.


F. Curiosa

Dear Potential Suitors (on various Swedish internet dating sites),

You can go ahead and write to me, but please don't expect an answer if any of the following applies:

a) you are old enough to be my father
b) you have children the same age as me (closely related to a)
c) you write to me in a language I don't understand, which includes Spanish, Italian, and Chinese. Acceptable choices include English and Swedish, sometimes French (depending on whether I'm wearing my beret or not) and German (but only when I'm drunk, and even then I can't promise that I'll be able to converse about anything other than weinerschnitzel). If you write to me in Estonian, I will probably be impressed, but once again, my comprehension is limited to discussions about beer (õlu).
d) you haven't posted a picture of yourself on your profile OR
e) you have posted a picture of yourself wearing nothing but overalls and a pitchfork OR
f) you call yourself swedishcowboy4u and you have posted a picture of yourself wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and boots [there are plenty of cowboys where I come from, and trust me, cowboys do not always make better lovers]

and finally:
g) if you declare your never-ending love and desire for me and proclaim that today is the day we shall start a "marvellous and butiful" (spelling mistakes copied ver batim) relationship [this one is just going to get you flagged as a scary, scary stalker-type]


F. Curiosa

P.S. I am not alone in my quest to educate. Om ni vill ha flera tips om nätdejting på svenska, kan jag föreslå Fröken J's råd, som man kan hitta här.

Swedish Infamy

Image hosted by Photobucket.comLest I be accused of perpetuating stereotypes about the strong, silent, Nordic types, I shall devote a little time to debunking a popular urban legend: the Swedish bikini team.

Back home, when I tell people (i.e. American guys) that I live in Sweden, their eyes light up like Times Square at New Year's. You can literally see what's going on in their dirty little minds because it's written all over their faces: blond, leggy supermodels clad in fur bikinis dancing in the streets with polar bears.**

Yes indeed, wild arctic fox fur makes excellent swimwear.

Now boys, shut your mouthes and wipe your chins. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the Swedish Bikini Team shall forever remain a figment of your imagination. THERE IS NO SUCH THING. It is actually an American invention. If you ask the average Swede on the street (avid Playboy readers and fans of Dumb and Dumber aside, see below) about the SBT, you'll likely get a blank stare, or a look of confusion. Funny enough, most Swedes have never even heard of the Swedish Bikini Team.

The origin of the SBT is an advertising campaign for Old Milwaukee beer which ran in the States in the early 90s.**** The target audience was young, 21-plus beer drinkers (and their little brothers). The campaign slogan was “It doesn’t get any better than this...” Exhaustive research indicated that the target audience like women and parties. Gee, really?

As the creative director of the campaign, Patrick Scullin, puts it, the idea was simple: "A Monty Pythonesque notion: five women who have no reason for being except to magically appear in beer spots." Every young man's dream come true.

And guess what? Surprise, surprise. The women who played the SBT then made their debut on the cover of Playboy, sans bikini in the centerfold, of course. Later on, the SBT got friendly with Harry and Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber.

Then came the lawyers (you knew this was coming, didn't you?). The beer company had been hit with a sexual harassment suit by its female employees. The campaign was shut down, and the SBT went down in the chronicles of infamy, forever coming back to haunt Swedish women who dare to enter a beer-drinking establishment in the Anglo-Saxon world. And so it remains today.

**To be fair, Swedish guys get a similar look on their face when I tell them I drive a pick up truck when I'm back home. Lights, Camera, Action: And so begins the Coke commercial in their pretty little heads where the sun-drenched blond (that would be me) steps out of a monster truck wearing little more than a coyboy hat and boots, taking off her hat, hair tumbling down, framing her tanned face as her mouth forms into an O, and she lustfully lifts the bottle to her pouty lips...Yee hah...I'm WAAAAY TOO SEXY for my '89 Dodge Ram 50 (with a camper shell, I might add).
**** Info snagged from an article by the creative director of the Old Milwaukee beer campaign, Patrick Scullin.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Dear Swedish Guys (especially the ones from Karma last weekend),

Don't assume that because I'm a native English speaker that I haven't bothered to learn Swedish. As I'm sure many Swedes have found out from various open-mouth-insert-foot situations abroad, Swedish is not a secret language. This is all-the-more true while one is purusing a night club in Sweden. I don't necessarily volunteer the information that I'm fluent in your language, but that's your problem, not mine. I don't consider this eavesdropping, because you didn't ask. I will, however, be happy to answer "Ja!" if you do pose the question, "Pratar du svenska?"

I'm even less likely to volunteer this information when you start to talk about my friend, right in front of me. In fact, I'm likely to let you go on and on and on, digging yourself in deeper and deeper. I'm fascinated by the fact that you felt it important to announce to your buddy the following amazing revelation: "Hon har inga tuttar!" ("She's got no tits!") And that was among the nicer things you had to say. I'm sure my friend will be even happier to hear about it than I was. Especially as your buddy was trying to get her phone number. (And he'll be happy to hear that she was just about to give it to him, until your amazing little revelation).

I get it. Guys talk. That's fine. Girls do too. But let's save it for the locker room, shall we boys?

F. Curiosa

Leave my pussy out of it

Now before you get too excited, I should mention that I'm talking about the furry, four-legged kind, not the kind that may or may not be furry, depending on the preferences of the various parties interested in its well-being.

My policy used to be: love me, love my cat. I've mellowed a bit over the years, having come to realize that if I require my man to love my cat as much as I do, I might very well be snuggling with Fluffy, and Fluffy alone, for a very, very long time. So, I've become a bit more flexible: he must be willing to tolerate the cat, and then it's up to the cat to work her feline wiles on him. God forbid I fall love with someone who is allergic to cats. That's okay though, I guess they have shots for those kinds of things.

I realized that my enthusiasm for my cats was probably a bit too much when a guy I went out changed his online profile, following a few conversations with me.** Now, as far as I remember, the only thing I found wrong with this guy (other than the fact that he never called me back after the second date) was that he wasn't fond of felines. The next time I checked up on him(not that I would ever, ever do such a thing), his profile had been changed to announce the following:

Gillar: segling, fiske,Discovery Channel, min iPod
Gillar mindre: katter, feta tatuerade engelsmän, smala scooterälskande tyskar, schlagermusik

Translation for the Swedish-impaired
Likes: sailing, fish, Discovery Channel, my iPod
Likes less: cats, fat tattooed Englishmen, thin scooter-loving Germans, schlager music

(condensed version)

Now, I'm not sure that putting cats into the same category as "fat tattooed Englishmen" or "schlager music" is entirely fair, but that is neither here, nor there.

The point was that I decided that maybe I should tone down my pro-feline politics for awhile, at least until I get to know the guy a little bit better.


That's akin to telling a mother that her child is ugly. I don't care if the cat is ugly (i.e. one of those hairless Sphynx cats, like Mr. Bigglesworth, who appeared as Dr. Evil's sidekick on Austin Powers), its a very good time for a case of "the cat's got your tongue." In other words, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Now my cat, who shall be known on these pages as Fluffy, so as to protect his identity, lives with my mother, somewhere in the middle of the continental United States. Since I can't have him with me, I comfort myself with his image. Sometimes I use his likeness as my avatar on MSN. The other day, I was chatting with an American ex-pat I went out with once, two weeks ago, when he asked me: "Is that cat as evil as it looks?"

Ummm, excuse me? There is nothing evil about my cat. Fluffy happens to be the cutest cat in the world, and I don't just say that because he is my cat. And I know you would agree with me if you saw his picture too.

I digress. The point is: DON'T INSULT THE CAT!

I took such a long while to respond, that he finally wrote, "You're mad about the cat, aren't you?"

Ummm, yeah. So this guy might be stupid, but at least he's not a total idiot. After all, he does have a PhD from Stanford.

"Okay, okay, I take it back. You usually have such a good sense of humor. If it makes you feel better, you can insult my dog and we'll call it even."

Now why would insulting his dog make me feel better about him insulting my cat? I just don't get it.

I finally told him that I would let it go this one time, but not to let it happen ever again.

When I cancelled a coffee date the next week because I had to work late, his response by SMS was, "It's still about the cat, isn't it?"

Come to think of it, yes, it is. It's always about the cat.

** Once again, I found advice på svenska hos Fröken J here. Cat lovers should heed these wise words.

Dear Potential Readers,

I guess I should make it clear from the very beginning that these stories are more a reflection on the adventures of dating in general, rather than an attempt at a real cultural commentary. The fact that it takes place in a foreign country makes it all that much better (and fun). You never know if weird behaviour on the part of your male companion is a result of the fact that 1) he comes from another culture; 2) he is a guy; 3) he is a human (i.e., personal idiosyncrasies). I think that in general most explanations can be found in #2 and #3. And I know for a fact that I have done and said some things that leave men wondering, "What the hell was that?"

Half of it is also making fun of myself in my own attempts to figure out "how to date in Sweden." I know that American dating practices, while perhaps a bit more straightforward (at least from my perspective), have also provided sufficient confusion for foreigners who have immigrated to our country.

In sum, I'll leave this with three thoughts:
1) Men (Swedish or otherwise) will continue to baffle me, and trying to figure them out is half the fun.
2) Dating in any country is a bizarre experience.
3) If I didn't love Sweden, Stockholm, and Swedes, I wouldn't have been living here for the last three years, and I wouldn't still be on the hunt for a Swede to call my very own.


F. Curiosa

Dear Swedish Guy From Last Summer Spring,

1) If you send me an email that says "jag tycker vi ska sluta med sexet och fortsätta på ett vänskapligt plan" ("I think we should stop having sex and continue as friends") in June, don't expect that you can call me in November and automatically revert back to having sex. That's not the way it works.

2) If you are trying to get into my pants, arguing with me about whether or not I'll be more comfortable with my pants OFF is probably not the best way to approach it.

3) If you are still trying to entice me to sleep with you after losing the pants on/pants off discussion, do not attempt to salvage the deal by referring to any part of your body as "meat."

4) If a backrub doesn't persuade me, neither will pleading, "But don't you wanna have sex now?" when I announce it's time to get up and take a shower.


F. Curiosa

Dear Self,

1) If the Swedish guy that you dated last summer calls after midnight on a Friday night, don't answer the phone.

2) If you do answer the phone, don't say that it's okay for him to come over.

3) If you do say it's okay for him to come over, don't bother cleaning the bathroom and doing the dishes because he'll be too drunk to notice anyhow.

4) If he is too drunk to notice anyhow, don't attempt to have an intellectual conversation with him about why or why not you are going to be more comfortable if you take YOUR pants off.

Sigh. Oh well. At least the bathroom is clean.


F. Curiosa

Thanks, but no thanks

Forgive me, but I had to pass on this lovely threat offer I received from the Swedish Guy From Last Summer Spring this morning:

"I'm going to put my pants on now. This is your last chance to get a piece of this meat."

What was I thinking, turning down such a tempting proposition? What can I say? I'm a hard sell these days.

Five Things I've Learned About Dating in Sweden

1) Swedish guys make excellent boyfriends. You just have to figure out how to get them to talk in the first place (see number 5). A Swedish girlfriend put it this way: they make "fantastic boyfriends, terrible suitors."
2) Don’t expect them to pay for dinner, especially on a first date.
3) They are house broken. They are very skillful at cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes, and sometimes even seem to enjoy doing them. They are at the very least better than me at doing all of these things, although to tell the truth, that's not saying much.
4) They are in general very good looking, with great taste in clothes, shoes, and home furnishings (i.e. Fab Five). They also allow themselves to be quite open and sensitive. I have to keep reminding myself, no, they are not gay, they are just Swedish. (In fact, Swedish guys seem to be a bit more comfortable with their own sexuality, than for example, their average American counterpart.)
5) They are very shy when it comes to making the first move, unless there are substantial amounts of alcohol involved. If all else fails, hit them over the head with your club and drag them back to your cave.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

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:

DayNight One:
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.

Day Two:
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.

Week One:
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.

Week Two:
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:
A) Repeat DayNight One.
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 Stockholm housing market, this time with an ulterior motive.
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.