Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Going Metro in Stockholm

In one of those moments where you just kind of have to shake your head and say “no shit…” an opinion survey has shown that many think that Swedish men are less masculine than they used to be. No shit…

Thelocal.se reported a few days ago in an article titled “Swedish men 'not as masculine as they used to be': study” that a survey of both sexes in Sweden found that Swedish males have become less masculine. Or maybe not become, but are viewed as being, less masculine.

Of course, if you’ve ever been in Stockholm, you would know that a survey wasn’t necessary. Just walk around Stockholm and take in the sights.

Pants so tight that men everywhere are suffering from moose knuckle (think about it…). Enough pastel colors to think that Easter vomited all over Sweden’s supply of shirts. And the hair. Styled. Styled. Masculinity does not include styling hair. Come on now.

Men in Sweden have gone metro, so much so that 58% of men actually think they are less masculine than they once were with only 13% thinking men are more masculine now than before. I’m not sure what that means. That Swedes are very self-aware. Or maybe that they have just resigned themselves to being metro.

What’s even worse is that the last time I went home I was accused of dressing… European. While maybe not quite metro, it did make me pause. Luckily, my pants aren’t so tight that I suffer from moose knuckle. My shirts are dominated by dark blues. And I haven’t put anything foreign in my hair since an attempt to please a girlfriend way back in 10th grade. Hell, last time I was home my little brother cut my hair for me.

But is that enough? I’m not convinced. I’m afraid that I’ll go back to the US and be unable to adapt. I’ll have a strange fascination with hair gel and a desire to slick back my hair despite my ever expanding cul-de-sacs. I’ll moisturize. I’ll own a loofah. (In an attempt to re-affirm my manliness I didn’t look up how to spell that word even after Microsoft red squigglied it).

Instead, I plan on wearing a baseball cap this weekend. Run a half marathon. Maybe partake in the gallon challenge even. That should put some (more) hair on my chest.

Welcome to Sweden. And my quest to never go metro.

Subscribe to a Swedish American in Sweden


  1. Swedish vanity is indeed something I remember the most from living there. And the tight pants? Ew.

    Moose knuckle -- that's a new one. Ewww!

  2. Yay. Don't do it! Don't go over to the Metropean side. I've heard Stockholm is a lot worse than southern Swe about that. Thank god. But hold fast, hairy.

    I read that article too, it made me LOL for real. I say Sweden: where the men are women and the women try to be men. Now that's unfair a little bit. Sorry. But the article just brought it out in me.

  3. Come on, what's wrong with styling your hair? What's wrong with caring about your looks a little bit more than average Joe American? I'm still a man, god damn it! I have chest hair too! Even though I get it waxed once every other week! OK, the last bit wasn't true...

  4. @Robban - Nothing wrong if your European. But ask Swedish women because I can't speak for them. I speak for me, an American woman. And we have more separated gender roles. We want our men to be able to protect you from a lion, fight it off with their teeth or something. Plus look like they just got back from surfing some wild cliff waves. Tan from the sun, not a f*cking salon, maybe a few cuts & bruises. Wild hair. Ahhh. Yes. And that doesn't include time to gel your hair, match your socks to your man scarf, or paint your pants on and check how your ass looks in every store window. Cuz I check MY ass in every store window....

  5. Dear lord, I would rather take a metro than one of those wannabe gangster punks any day. I think the whole tight jeans bit is not confined to Sweden or Europe for that matter. Here in Canada, in the bigger cities at least, there are a lot of boys and men running around with "snug" designer jeans, tight pastel coloured fitted shirts and t-shirts(pink and turquoise are all the rage), white belts and shoes, highlighted and coiffed hair etc. I care about my looks as well and have some vanity because I do style my hair (because otherwise it is a mess) and use eye cream (I get very bad bags under my eyes if I don't) but I don't go to extremes. Besides, you can look masculine but if you are a weakling then it is all for naught. Where I shine masculinity-wise is the gym, I love powerlifting and I push myself really hard, gives me an enormous sense of satisfaction.

  6. Hairy, I love your moose knuckle comment...you have the best sense of humour. If you ever come this way I am so taking you out for a beer!

  7. You made me google moose-knuckle. Thanks for that.

    Loofah is spelled correctly, by the way. Perhaps you should be concerned.

  8. @demonforeveryday – yeah, there needs to be a limit with those pants. Because as you said ewww to moose knuckle.

    @m8 – I’ll stay strong. I don’t think my brothers and friends back home would put up with me coming back metro.

    @robban – haha… I love it. just please tell me you haven’t started waxing your legs.

    But you’re right, looking good is fine. But at some point there has to be a limit.

    @m8 – it’s a good thing they teach you how to fight off lions with your teeth in elementary school in the US. And to check out girls asses in every store window. Wait…

    By the way, I cant believe I forgot to mention the man scarf. Well done.

    @Néstor – maybe this is happening in the US also and I have just missed it. Maybe Ill go back home and feel like I never left Stockholm. I might just be out of the loop. Or getting old. Damn kids with their newfangled fashions.

    But you’re right, as Robban broughtup, there’s nothing wrong with trying to look good. But somewhere theres a line that needs to be drawn. In Stockholm, they have crossed it.

    And beer sounds good to me.

    @E – I do what I can. It’s important to educate the masses. Obviously that starts with Swedish moose knuckle.

    And damn it. I’m going to blame that on living in a house during college with a girl and a couple of other guys. I guess I learned more than I realized.

  9. great post!=) been to paris? the men are wearing handbags.

  10. m8surf - Right. Just so you know, I can do all of that while looking good and stylish.

    Hairy Swede - No way. I don't wax any part of my body... A man! I'm a man!

    Btw, I guess I was the only one who didn't get the "moose knuckle"-joke. I mean, I think I get the "knuckle"-thing... But "moose knuckle"?

  11. Hairy Swede - Or you just happened to look at the wrapper on your loofah...

    Robban - I don't get the moose bit either. I think it's because they wanted a male equivalent for camel toe and that's the best *they* could come up with. It is in wikipedia, so it must be the best possible description...however ill fitting it may seem to some of us.

  12. ohh, i did n't know Sweden differes this much than State :) !!
    that was only a joke so don't shoot me guys.
    when i first came here and confronted the situation i thought there was sth wrong with me!
    thx hairy, dude you assured me i'm on the track!
    i better catch up listening to be donke donk!!

  13. @anonymous – a murse? That’s just not right.

    @robban – well, the camel was already taken.

    @E – no no, I threw the wrapper away immediately in order to hide the evidence. Obviously.

    @Mike – nope, welcome to Stockholm. Or welcome to Sweden.

  14. If you ARE a man, you don't have to dress LIKE a man. You dig?

    The problem here is that Sweden is hysteric about trends. People wear odd, trendy stuff no matter how it look. Even if the trendy stuff happens to be feminine. It's the fashion boom of the 2000's - THAT's what has happen lately.

    In general in Sweden, it is considered manly to dare being UNmanly. That's why swedish men dare staying home with their kids and push baby strollers on the street.

    Also in general, the influence of religion has hurt american manlyness. People get tied-up. Not to mention that people deny the (very manly) stage when we were all monkeys.

  15. Never heard of camel toe either, actually... So I guess, I just learned two new American expressions... One of them quite visually: http://images2.jokaroo.net/pictures/cameltoe.jpg

  16. Obviously.

    Oh, it's called a man purse. And the guys in Rome & Barcelona are sporting them, too. Hot.

    Do Americans really own those expressions? I'm so proud. If the components are showing, it's not good. Just sayin'....

  17. @E - Yeah man we own those phrases. Cuz it's gross. I just get embarrassed. I don't know where to look. I don't want to look AT the lump. But then I'm oddly trying to look away. Plus I'm petite. Esp. in Sweden. I'm like crotch-to-face level with some of these dudes.

    @daniel - I beg to differ. I've known more than enough wild monkey-men in the US.

  18. @Daniel – maybe, but it doesn’t hurt. What does look like it hurts is all of the tight pants walking around.

    @robban – welcome to America.

    @E – At least they aren’t sporting fanny packs.

    @m8 – Its like a car wreck. You don’t really want to look. You don’t really want to slow down. But most of us do. We are fascinated by the morbid. And there are few things as morbid as moose knuckle.

  19. I also took notice to how the guys dressed in well mostly Stockholm, (Guys dressing well seems like its way more popular in the big cities.)it's nice that they actually take time to present themselves well, but I agree sometimes its too much. If a guy takes more time to get ready than me thats not cool.

    @Daniel- I think its great Swedish men help take care of the kids, how is that unmanly?

  20. An American GirlMay 7, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a while, but this is my first time commenting. Had to be the moose knuckle post, didn't it? Lol!

    Anyway, there seems to be a defensive measure out there now to combat camel toe: https://www.cuchini.com/. Be sure and watch the youtube video - good stuff. Surely a cure for moose knuckle can't be far behind???

  21. What's wrong with the moose knuckle? If you have it, flaunt it. Simple as that.

  22. Robban - I saw moose knuckle defined somewhere as an unsightly and misshapen bulge. It's not whether you've got it or not. It's how funky it looks when your man parts do not fit into the crotch of your pants properly. I still maintain that the components need to fit. Maybe other girls feel differently about it. Post a picture of your moose knuckle and we'll put it to a vote. In the name of science, of course.

  23. It's not just moose knuckle though. The tight pants just look feminine. Because they make the legs look slender. And curvy/shapely. Women are supposed be that. Men should be sturdier, straighter....I dunno. I just could never go out with a man in such pants. They look gay to me. I'd sooner just date a women.

  24. I agree. I think there are some guys who can sort of pull it off, but it's still not my favorite trend. Then again, I don't like guy liner...or men wearing headbands, finger nail polish, lipstick or headbands.

  25. Hairy, I hope you don't mind, but I had to link to this post from my blog - you're too funny ("...Easter vomited all over Sweden's supply of shirts" - had me in fits of laughter). Please let me know if I should remove the link.

  26. There's a huge difference between males in Stockholm and males outside of Stockholm. I live just about 10 kilometres north of Stockholm and there's only small creeps around here that wears those really tight pants. It seems as by saying that; "the Swedish man is getting less masculine" you're judging a whole country by it's capital.

  27. @anonymous – Dressing well is quite alright. And you’re right, a lot of bigger cities the guys do dress quite well. But here it just seems that it is often too much. Like you said, when guys are taking more times to get ready than girls… well theres a limit.

    @An American Girl – YES! If theres one thing that brings out the comments its post about Swedish moose knuckle. Obviously.

    That is an incredible website. I had no idea there were ways to fix it. The creepy camel in the bikini is amazing.

    @Robban – some things should never be flaunted.

    @E – Im with E. Well, maybe not about voting on your moose knuckle. But the rest of the stuff she wrote.

    @m8 – Sturdy and straight, sounds like the next tagline for Wranglers Jeans.

    @E – A well placed headband is hard to beat. Especially while drinking heavily.

    @terander – Not at all. Very cool, and glad you enjoyed it.

    @Anonymous – that could be true. Although, even outside of Stockholm, the average Swedish male seems to wear tighter pants than in the US. Of course, Stockholm is pretty extreme.

  28. Don't the manliest of the manly Americans, cowboys, wear super tight pants? I see a failure in your logic. hehe
    But most swedes don't wear the Cheap Monday jeans, if you wear them people will secretly think you are gay. This however is a price the Swedish fashionistas are willing to pay, looking a bit gay is not that big a deal for them.

  29. hmmm... well played. but maybe they wear them so they keep all of their junk in place while riding on bulls. they force a mooseknuckle if you will.

  30. Ahoy! I've been catching up on your blog, and will also have to make the first post the moose knuckle post:
    Wear a kilt. Nothing is manlier. But that's because I'm a Norwegian/Scottish American. BUT I will be in Stockholm for two years!

    Your blog has been invaluable. I'm still mining the hoard of information. One answer I haven't found, though I'm still looking: What's Up With NFL in Sweden? Will I be able to catch ANY games? Throw me a life raft, Hairy Swede!

  31. OH, and there's zero possiblity of moose knuckle in a kilt, obviously. But it drives women crazy with wondering, just wondering...

  32. For the love of god, why did you come here?! It's a horrible country, boring as hell and the people here are so damn ignorant! Not to mention the financial crises have made our country MORE depressive than before.

    (Sweden have the highest suicide rate in the world, wonder why!)

    And about the masculine, it's true. I even ask myself, am I gay? Although I do look at girls while I masturbate, but what the hell, I don't wear a scarf just because it's popular. I have my limits.

    Where in Sweden are you? Don't go to Stockholm, then you'll definitely turn metro..

    Anyway, try to enjoy your stay in Sweden, but I doubt you'll be satisfied.

  33. @Stu - glad that the moose knuckle got you out also. About the NFL yes. Ive actually written about that a couple of times. They show games at some sports bars in Stockholm. You can usually catch the first game. Also there are a few cable channels that show games.

    Plus, there is a Swedish football league with a few teams inthe Stockhom area. Pretty entertaining.

    @anonymous - funy you should mention the suicide rate, but Sweden actually doesn't have the highest. Common misconception.

    But you're right... this place is "special"

  34. @Hairy - Thanks! I'll take my time and get further into your posts. I'll be getting there right as preseason starts, and I was resigning myself to missing it all.

  35. no no, its definitely doable. It took me a while to figure it out but last year I was able to catch a few games which was pretty nice. Because playing fantasy football without ever seeing a game is surprisingly difficult.

  36. Thanks, so, would it be weird to pack my football fan gear and show up at one of these sports bars? Is it possible to catch the games online?

  37. Not at all. In fact, I suggest it.

    Actually, most of the people watching the games are American. So youd probably fit right in.

    In terms of online, yeah it's possible. But I have yet to be able to find a website that actually works for me.

    A few of my friends around the world, one in Korea right now, has had really god luck withit.

    Maybe I just have a really bad internet connection.

  38. Its impossible to find a regular non-gay/non-metro t-shirt in sweden. But if you are lucky and do find a regular non-gay t-shirt, its going to be under the retro-section of the store. The t-shirt are even going to have a "retro"-label on it. I hat this "metro"-culture and the worst part about it is that noone will ever notice how gay theyve become :(

  39. as a general rule I just dont buy clothes in this country.

  40. as you said hairy, its the kind of moment that makes you think " no shit..."

    they are extremely vain here.

    i used to love fashion when a few years back, even thought about becoming a design student, instead i opted out the nerdy way and stuck with computer software, but i still really loved looking at fashion...that is until i came to this country.
    have you ever loved a certain type of food, eaten so much of it and then thrown up, and to that day you have never touched it again??
    thats how i feel now. they literally overwhelmed with too much fashion, its not the fashion part that has made me sick of it really, its the fact that EVERY SINGLE ONE of them is a carbon copy of the next, one way or another.
    some may disagree, i dont care, but fashion in sweden has alot to do with the manliness of men here.

    unrelated(ish)... men should never EVER wear douche-bag-wifebeaters. seriously. this should be a crime.

    in case of curiosity:

  41. I have. Oriental flavored top ramen. haven't eaten it since fifth grade.

    fashion becomes a sort of uniform here. just check out the rush at h&m after payday.

  42. Interesting views, I always assumed Americans were into fashion but of course I base this more on TV shows than actual memories from my trips there. This explains something I always wondered: how Joey in Friends manages to pick up all these women while sporting those plain T-shirts and jeans. It just never seemed believable to me, the only men I know who dress like that are geeks (don't get me wrong, I love geeks but the geek look does not go with Joey's personality). Personally, I am all for a hot bod being shown off, even though I agree tight pants are not for everybody. Mostly women fail on this, though.

  43. well, I suppose thee are plenty of people in the US that ar eitnerested in fashion. but I think from a male perspective the metrosexual look tends to be associated with Europe.

  44. Why does it matter if people think you're gay or not when being, as you put it, metrosexual? Would it be the end of the world if someone "labled" you as gay (or metro, or hetro, or whatever), when you know it's not true?

    People are bashing us in Europe for HAVING fashion at all. Well sorry but the american cavemen look doesn't really fit everyone, especially not when everything is in the size XL or bigger since you are currently working pretty hard on eating your selves to death.

    And some people (not just americans) take so much pride in being butch that you might think they are overcompensating?

    So yes, sure, make fun of us for looking good, we'll just take it as a compliment. And btw, who are you to decide what's looking good and not when you apparently "don't care" (even though that is a lie, everyone cares) how you look?

  45. ^ thats not fair to say, everyone has their own fashion sense, sweden takes it to the extremes, if your not fashionable like everyone else. you're a caveman.
    i don't know about you , since i'm not gay, i don't want people thinking i am because of my choice of fashion. there is nothing wrong with being gay, but i prefer not to be judged by my clothes, sadly this happens. to be preserve as yourself and not something else people communicate with the choice of your clothing. thats our society where ever you go.
    most of everyone drives such a HUGE status for wearing IN clothing items, don't say otherwise, because i see it happen ALL the time. there is nothing wrong with being simple, and true to your SELF. even if that doesn't strike your fancy.

  46. @anonymous - ahh the smugness that goes hand in hand with being metro.

    @Lost - well said.