Ask any expatriate, exchange student, fellow traveler, or even the guy selling newspapers in front of Wal-Mart, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: Swedish women are confusing, even more so than Chad Ochocinco’s decision to change his name to, well, Ochocinco.
And you know what? I agree. I’ve gone on a few dates here in Sweden, and every time found myself more and more perplexed. Christ, even O.J. Simpson’s police chase makes more sense.
Let’s save ourselves a lot of time here and just come out and say Swedish women are incredibly attractive. They have terrific personalities, million-dollar smiles, and are more in shape than Jon Stewart is self-indulgent. They’re well-educated, know exactly what they want in life, and usually speak with an accent that makes most men melt every time we hear it. Oh, and did I mention almost all of them look like they should be modeling somewhere? Seriously, Tyra Banks has nothing on them.
But damn, they are enigmatic. Allow me to illustrate by sharing my personal experiences.
I’ll admit I’ve always been a little nervous courting the opposite sex, probably due to watching – as God is my witness – more romantic comedies than quite possibly any other heterosexual male on earth. But I held firmly to the stereotype that Swedish women are crazy for American guys, and let my friends do the rest to inflate my ego to levels perhaps only rivaled by Muhammad Ali. I was young, I was in good shape, and I was American: when I arrived in Sweden, the ladies wouldn’t stand a chance.
But as the weeks went by, I gaped in paralyzed horror as my self-esteem was quickly ground into a semi-liquid goo. Not only did all my previously held notions turn out to be totally wrong, but it seemed the opposite was true; compared to the endless number of good-looking, well-muscled, and much better dressed Swedish guys, it seemed no woman was interested in a pale, skinny American with about as much fashion sense as a Canadian goose.
Eventually, however, I drummed up enough courage to ask a girl from one of my classes for a fika in Teleborgs Slott. We talked, laughed, and I somehow managed to pay for her – something many Swedish women, I knew, were not used to. We hung out a few more times and, in my mind, there was no way I could fail.
But then disaster struck. I asked her to dinner, assuming the answer would be an automatic “yes.” Instead, I received a text message explaining that dinner would feel “too much like a date.”
I was more confused than when I heard LeBron James was taking his talents to South Beach. Would feel too much like a date? Really? I mean, c’mon, we had coffee at a freaking castle! Apparently, I still had a lot to learn.
In one swift blow, my self-esteem returned to its liquidous state. A few weeks later, it evaporated entirely when, after getting the phone number of a girl I had warmed up to, she rejected me by flat-out saying I wasn’t her “type.” Looking back on it, I probably asked her out for the wrong reasons anyway, but if I had known what I know now I could’ve gotten a lot more sleep.
And now there’s another girl. Unlike the others, she’s the one who took the initiative of “first contact.” A hopeful sign? Perhaps. But then again, I’m pretty sure I’m not psychic.
I think she likes me, and of course I’m crazy about her. But if I’ve learned one thing from my time in Sweden so far, it’s that I don’t know anything.
So expatriates, exchange students, and tourists everywhere, I’m with you: I’m just as clueless as you are. If there’s a Confused Guys Anonymous meeting coming up soon, stop by and let me know. My flat is located right at the intersection of Main and Absurdity.