Swedes, as a general rule, are a peaceful bunch. They like puppy dogs. Butterflies. Sunshine. That’s what made last night so very interesting. But first, let me set the scene.
I found myself out at a bar with a few friends. We got a later start to the evening so didn’t even get to the bar until about midnight. I had never been there before. But when I saw that there was a large fish tank in the window, I knew it was obviously a classy establishment. My assumptions were proven correct by the walls lined with mirror and the stripper pole towards the back of the bar.
The four of us went and camped out next to the stripper pole. Because we are classy. And also because it was the only place left to stand.
The classiness did not stop there. Over the course of the next two hours, I was witness to everything that makes a night out in Stockholm so very exciting.
I saw a girl, who clearly came with a guy who’s company she was enjoying, dance on the stripper pole, exchange about five words with a random guy who walked by, make out and both walk in their separate directions.
I saw a creepy little man walking around with a camera taking pictures of pretty people. He approached a girl, who proceeded to channel her inner Madonna and vogue for the camera. By herself. At least four or five poses.
But, most exciting, I saw a fight. Apparently a fight that started over a girl. Usually, bar fights seem to follow a predictable pattern. Guy one says something stupid. Guy two pushes him. Guy one takes a swing. Guy two swings back. At this point, a slight hush has fallen over those in the immediate vicinity. A crowd forms, at which point the screaming and yelling picks up. This is the point at which a good Samaritan or the bouncer comes in to break up the fight.
But this was different. It was incredible, like no one saw anything. No one stepped in. No one screamed. No one yelled. No one tried to stop anything at all. A guy in a pony tail had taken a swing at some guy. Some Guy was bleeding profusely from his nose. Some Guy had taken quite a few steps back as the blood flowed. It seemed like a smart thing to do. Pony Tail on the other hand had gone back to talking to his buddy, sipping calmly from his beer.
Suddenly, Pony Tail went to attack. Again. Some Guy got a couple good punches in leaving Pony Tail bleeding from his nose and forehead. Some Guy was still bleeding from his nose, and now from his chin. Again, the other bar-goers did nothing. Finally, the bouncers realized something was going on and cleaned house. Some Guy was dragged outside. Pony Tail was slammed up against the cigarette machine. Order was restored.
Of course, since everyone had just chosen not to see anything, it wasn’t like all that much order needed to be restored. But still. I suppose if there had been more disorder, the bouncers would have realized something was going on and remove the two from the situation immediately.
Obviously, I have been reliving this in my head. Discussed it a bit with the others who were there. There’s plenty that can be culled from the incident. The desire of Swedes to live in their own world. A live and let live sort of attitude that people sometimes use to describe Swedes. The desire of Swedes to avoid conflict. There’s that whole neutrality thing. The effects of alcohol in that desire to avoid conflict. That’s not necessarily specific to Swedes, but interesting none the less.
Whatever conclusions that can be drawn, I was just amazed. Maybe in a sick sort of way. I’m not sure what it says about me that the highlights of my evening involved a bar with a stripper pole and a fight. Maybe Vegas is someplace I could learn to love after all.
Welcome to Sweden. And bar fights in Stockholm.
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