Have the tables turned? Sassy singleton Claire Duffy ponders the possibility that Sweden’s men are all really just on the lookout for Miss Darcy.
Last week I mentioned that a Swedish girlfriend had to give a pleasant friend-with-benefits the heave-ho after he started bothering her for commitment and mini breaks. This week I had dinner with a colleague who told me that she was best friends with both her children’s fathers, but couldn’t bear the thought of living with a man again.
“What if I wake up in the middle of the night and want to put the light on to read?” she very reasonably asked.
Three of my girlfriends are dating men in their 20s, complaining that men our age just want to go on pappaledighet like all their friends. In the 1932 film Queen Christina, Chancellor Oxenstierna complains to Greta Garbo in the eponymous role that she “cannot die an old maid.”
“I have no intention to, Chancellor,” she responds, “I shall die a bachelor!” 80 years on, her country women seem to be doing just that.
This is one aspect of the kick-ass Swedish woman that I can get on board with. I thoroughly enjoy flirting and dating for fun and am open to someone making me eat these words someday, but for the moment it’s rather enjoyable knowing that there will never, but ever, be football on my telly, and any unexplained piles of toenail clippings to be found in random places in my apartment are my own.However, I seem to dimly remember from school that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and sure enough…
…it appears that Swedish men have turned into Bridget Jones.
Just before we started rehearsing the first production I worked on here, I met with each of the cast to introduce myself and discuss the project a little. The actresses and I chatted about the script, their character, a little about their careers to date. The actors all told me their tales of woe in love as I smiled sympathetically and hoped they weren’t going to cry. Today, an acquaintance posted a photo of himself wrapped around a couple of bikini-ed beauties on Facebook, captioned, “I see your wedding and baby photos and I raise you… *sob*” This guy is in his 20s. More than one of my recent dates have ended with the guy announcing that he is looking for a serious relationship, then frowning in confusion at a sudden Claire-shaped hole in the wall.
While all the, “where is this going?” wails can get a bit tiresome, there is a wonderful upside to this phenomenon. Along with obsessing about relationships and why they couldn’t find love, the other hallmark of the mid-90s chick lit heroine was her obsession with food. Descriptions of picnics could go on for pages while I’d be thinking, “for heaven’s sake, grab a sandwich and a handful of crisps and get on with it”.
The millennial Swedish man has come over all Nigella, if Nigella was well over 6 foot and tattooed.
My girlfriend invited me to dinner the other night, explaining that her partner was cooking for a boys’ night in, and there promised to be plenty of leftovers for us. I’ve met her partner. He’s well over 6 foot and tattooed; I tried to think of a polite way to offer to bring pizza.
“You don’t understand,” she smiled. “He’s been cooking since 7am.”
There was to be something called pulled pork which apparently takes 8 hours to make (8 hours! I’ve had relationships that have taken less time). And potato bread, made from scratch and individually fried. An apple and pecan pie: when she’d left for work he had been carefully placing the paper-thin slices of apple in a precise formation around the crust with the kind of concentration normally reserved for games of Operation.
Given that my cooking skills extend to staring mournfully at the toaster as it ejects two bread- shaped slices of charcoal at me every morning, I have to say I was impressed.
As I tucked in, my phone buzzed with a text from a date from weeks back, ‘just checking’ that I had the right number for him as he thought he would have heard from me by now.
Uh oh. If Swedish men have become Bridget Jones, does that make me Daniel Cleaver?