24 Jul 2024
Dating in the city: Birds with Benefits
Community Dating Expat Dating Lifestyle

Dating in the city: Birds with Benefits

Ella Fitzgerald once sang that cooing doves made the same murmuring sounds as people kissing. We don’t know about that – but here’s YLC’s own dazzling diva Claire Duffy on the ornithological qualities of the Swedish friends-with-benefits system.


I don’t know about you, but if I was to think of a bird to associate with no strings attached sexy-times, pigeons would not be high on the list. So it worried me a bit when I discovered that the Swedish term for ‘friend with benefits’ is KK, pronounced in Swedish, ‘koah koah’, which sounds to me very much like the noise a pigeon makes. Who on earth could say, ‘I’m not coming out tonight, I’m having a myskväll with my koah koah‘, without going into fits of giggles?

Not me, I’ll tell you that for nothing. This being a nice online magazine, I’ll have to explain simply that the second K stands for kompis and the first K is an activity one partakes in with such a kompis, which constitutes the, umm, benefits of said friendship.

I bring this up because I’ve discovered something excellent. Once the, admittedly giant and often decades long, hurdle of establishing mutual interest has been cleared, Swedes revert to their straight forward and gloriously frank selves. I first became acquainted with Swedish frankness not long after I moved here, when I started going to a Bootcamp training class. I went to the 9am class, and at 10am – as I collapsed on the mat like wet spaghetti sobbing softly for my mum – an MMA Bootcamp class would start.

Suddenly I would find myself surrounded (literally, they jogged around the studio to warm up) by what I can only describe as Viking sex gods in workout gear.

As we dragged ourselves to the showers one day, I commented to one of the women in my class that it wasn’t fair all the beautiful men showed up just as I most resembled a sweaty tomato. I don’t know a British person alive that wouldn’t have bare-faced lied and insisted I looked lovely, but this lady was Swedish: she smiled at me kindly and said, “maybe you should come to the 12pm class.”

Anyway. Although I complained a column or two back about SoFo Bar guy who texted to confirm the verdict after I cut our date short, it later occurred to me that perhaps he was simply efficient. Had I been on the receiving end of a date I thought was going well until suddenly it was over, I might have wondered a bit what happened, possibly stayed open to hearing from him for a few days, then shrugged and put it down to one of life’s little mysteries. But as it was, I texted back that I hadn’t felt a connection, we each (presumably) deleted one another’s numbers and went our merry ways, all within an hour of having met.

A Swedish girlfriend recently told me that her KK was showing signs of wanting to upgrade to boyfriend status, and she was going to have to tell him to hold his horses.

“Ooh, what are you going to do?” I asked, envisioning an elaborate and convoluted scheme involving coded messages, smoke signals and perhaps a Greek chorus.

We all know, after all, that when you’re dating someone, the last thing you must ever do is have a conversation which acknowledges you’re in a relationship.Any discussions or negotiations about the changing or developing nature of said relationship is supposed to be conducted, well, telepathically, as far as I can make out.

My Swedish girlfriend shrugged. “I’ll talk to him,” she said. And she did. And he told her that he was looking for more, and she confirmed that she wasn’t, then they hugged and have remained friends ever since. Good grief, what’s the matter with these people?

I made this excellent discovery as I’ve had a handful of dates with an altogether inoffensive Swedish gentleman, and have been heartened by the frankly business-like nature of our negotiations regarding future dates and potential exclusivity and whatnot. There’s been nary a passive aggressive post-it nor interpretive dance to speak of.

On the other hand, he frankly and straightforwardly told me he didn’t want to be written about, so you will all just have to imagine him.

Imagine him quite cute, because he is…

Claire Duffy

Claire is a writer and filmmaker originally from Scotland who moved to Stockholm in 2011 for no particular reason.  She is fond of snow, pickled things and very tall men, so it’s working out very well so far. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.