Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stuff Swedish People Like

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Straight stealing ideas and making them fit your needs is an even higher form. Obviously. So in the vein of Stuff Black People Like and Stuff White People Like, I bring you Stuff Swedish People Like (in alphabetical order):

ABBA – Because they put Sweden on the map. Despite what anyone might tell you about the Swedish Model.
Alcohol – Because it gives them something to drink. This might become a recurring theme.
Candles –Because it is dark. All winter.
Christmas – Because it gives them a reason to drink.
Crayfish – Because it gives them a reason to drink.
Donald Duck – Because otherwise Christmas would just be another day.
Earplugs – Because tinnitus will get you if the horn is too loud at the hockey game.
Escalators – Because it helps you identify true Swedes. If you’re standing still on the left-hand side… you’re not a true Swede.
Fermented fish – Because it gives them a reason to drink.
Fika – Because it gives Swedes an excuse not to work.
Glögg – Because it gives them a reason to drink. And it is, in fact, a drink.
Going Dutch – Because the guy paying for a date is sexist. And sexism is wrong.
Ingmar Bergman – Because he explained Sweden. Or at least the gloom that can be Sweden.
Jantelagen – Because that way, no one is better than anyone else. Despite evidence to the contrary.
Ketchup – Because it tastes good. On everything.
Lagom – Because, well, it just feels right.
Meatballs – Because they are sold at IKEA for next to nothing.
Midsummer – Because it gives them a reason to drink.
New Years – Because it gives them a reason to drink.
Other countries – Because they have cheaper alcohol. And getting there gives them a reason to drink.
Public Transportation – Because they can get away from the sambo and kids and finally get some peace and quiet.
Sambo – Because actually getting married is just too much work.
Santa Lucia – Because it gives them a reason to drink. And maybe argue about the hair color of Lucia.
Saturdays – Because it gives them a reason to eat candy. And it gives them a reason to drink.
Schlager Music – Because it gives them a reason to drink.
Socialdemokraterna – Because they’re just kind of there. And change is scary.
Sports – But only when Sweden wins.
Sunlight – Because it gives them a reason to drink.
Systembolaget – Because they don’t trust themselves to drink responsibly. So the government keeps the tax high and the hours tight.
Taxes – Because it makes them feel superior to have “free” health care and education.
Tetra Pak – Because if Tetra Pak can’t hold it, nothing can.
The Twenty-Fifth – Because it’s pay day. And it gives them a reason to drink.
Tjuvlyssning – Because, since no one actually talks in public, when someone does, everyone needs to eavesdrop.
Tomten – Because he’s not fat. Like Swedes.
Valborg – Because it gives them a reason to drink

Welcome to Sweden. And Stuff Swedish People Like. Feel free to add more in the comments below.

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  1. OMG! I just got the whole candy on Saturday thing. I thought I was just imagining things but turns out, i'm quite perceptive...ha! I've noticed on my weekly grocery expeditions the run for "goodis" seems to occur on Saturdays. So I guess it's a THING then?

    And yes, Swedes sure do love to drink in mass quantities. fun post!

  2. 1....coz it gives them a reason to drink
    holly ! so how does this contry run ,for god sake!
    certainly i agree with that eavesdroping thing, i've noticed when on occasion i have to speak(in english)it's like turning an electronic magnet on!once i almost had a blond whisker in my eye ;)
    good job!
    just a fraud could stop you of being the best blogger!haha

  3. Ugh, this is true, and kinda sad... really gives me a reason to drink, absolut.

  4. P.S
    i have a few friends here and i've seen them in both cases(sober and drunk)and i've got to say they're more lovely when they 're drunk ;)

  5. Sounds as if you had something against drinking, LOL! Danes drink more, and finally this year the Finns topped Denmark in drinking alcohol. I only did my portion but still. Swedes don't drink that much because they get drunk quite easily. So they just try and try to do better. Almost feel sorry for those poor bastards. Any good Swedish drinker has Finnish roots. Not saying it's a good thing to drink though.

  6. I've just discovered your blog and spent the past 1½ hours reading. You're such a good writer! And funny. A wonderful combo. Congrats and I voted for you!

  7. An American GirlJuly 28, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    Volvo - So Swedes can transport alcohol out to their summer houses and drink.

  8. For some reason, I assumed a Swede would laugh at all the Americans lined up to eat cheap meatballs at their local IKEA. Some things are universal, I guess.

    And is drinking really that big there? From this list, I would imagine the Swedish spend an enormous amount of their free time getting drunk. Which seems kinda sad, really.

    And, what is a sambo? I can't imagine the word has the same meaning it has in the US.

  9. Coming out as a teetotaller in Sweden is like coming out as an atheist in the Vatican. I know, because I'm trying to. :)

  10. Hairy, keep on writing! I would love to publish your book. I prefer to remain anonymous here. In case you have a public email address or something, let me know.

  11. Looks like Swedes need a reason to pretty much anything.

    How very Swedish of them.

  12. Damnit. I've been composing a stuff Swedish People Like list. Snus was on top of the list as well as booze cruises {It gives them a reason to get shit-wasted for dirt cheap.} and standing eyes closed face toward the sun while waiting at a public transport stop. White wine. Horrendous black licorice candies covered in salt. White wine. And staring in the subway, but avoiding eye contact at all costs on the street.

    Hairy, someone sent me your blog after your DIFAF post. Thanks for coming, hope you enjoyed it. I'm an American joker living a fairy tale life during the summers in Sweden.

    @Laura. Sambos are live-in significant others. They may have children together, they may not. There is no set limit to how long they have to be dating. Basically a step above boyfriend/girlfriend and below husband/wife.

  13. Hi! I just recently discovered your blog (genom tjuvlyssnat faktiskt) Anyway, I think you're awesome! You're fun and insightful... and even though I'm born and raised in Sweden, I think that what you write is very funny, and I really don't take offence. Those who do probably just have no humor, whatsoever. And most of what you write is pretty much true anyways, so...
    Tack för en underbart rolig blogg!

  14. Kalles! You can't forget Kalles Caviar! After all, they need to have Kalles on bread to help absorb some of the booze.


  15. Haha! I dont think we drink that much more than any other country. We just got more holidays where drinking is acceptable etc :)

    Fun list though. I love reading your blog :)

  16. LOVE IT! I think that some of these could also apply to us here in Canada...especially the alcohol part. What is it about northern countries and heavy alcohol consumption. We live for our weekends!

  17. Great list!

    The only one I'd dismiss is the one about escalators. It's a big city thing. People standing to the left in escalators are from the countryside.

  18. Come on, surely we don't drink THAT much? Do we? But ok, if we do, you should've added that it in turn is just to give us an excuse to sing. Because we'd never sing around other people unless we were drunk.

  19. Ha! But I gotta agree with Eklandisk on the escalators - having lived in DC for 15 years before moving to Stockholm, it was always tourists who stood on the left blocking the way and gawking on the subway escalators, tempting Washingtonians to kick them out of the way...

  20. According to WHO Swedes drink 6.8 litres of alcohol/person a year. Compare that to Americans (8.5), Canadians (8.2), Brits (10.3), Danes (11,9), French (13.5) or why not the Irish (14,4) or the Luxemburgians (or whatever you call them...17.5)? Sweden is one of the countries in Europe with the smallest alcoholconsumtion, together with Island (5.7) and Norway (5.8).

  21. When I first visited Stockholm, I arrived at night. I was shocked at how outgoing, adventurous and uninhibited Swedish people were. Totally unrepressed.

    Then I woke up the next day and walked around. I thought "Are these the same people?" Totally repressed, introverted and uptight sticks in the mud. That's when I realized this is how they were sober and the night before was how they were when they got themselves ridiculously drunk in order to become social.

  22. @Walk On Boy - Thanks! I suspected as much. I suppose it's a Swedish acronym. You're playing American football in Sweden!!! Who knew there was such a thing. Sounds like lots of potential for amusing stories. I'm going to have to hop over to your blog and surf around some more.

    @Ylva - Very interesting! Nice to see one Swedish stereotype shot down. Perhaps Swedes aren't as shy as people say, either.

  23. Swedes dont really drink more then in any other country. The thing is just that when Swedes drink, they drink to get drunk. The more social drinkingthing togheter with good food, something that is very common in Francen, does not exist in Sweden.

  24. Ylva:
    I think that the amount of alcohol consumed by Swedes on boats to and from Finland, purchased in Denmark, consumed in Mallorca, would increase the per capita volume by a MASSIVE amount

  25. @SwedishJenn – it is a thing. An amazing thing that I still remember from being a kid.

    @Persian Guy – it’s not that they drink all the time, its just that when they do drink they drink massive quantities. Of course, sometimes I wonder…

    @anonymous – that’s the spirit!

    @Persian guy – you are definitely not the first person to notice that. Sadly.

    @Smek – not at all. I quite like the drinking. And I love the shot at the nordic neighbors. Well done.

    @Nikki – Thanks! I appreciate it, glad you’ve been enjoying it.

    @An American Girl – ooh good call. I like it.

    @Laura – Swedes do enjoy the meatballs.

    And in terms of the drinking, its not so much that they drink a lot, its that when they do drink they get really drunk.

    And sambo is a lovely Swedish word. If you’re living with your girlfriend or boyfriend but aren’t married you are sambo. Sam being short for samman, together, and bo being short for boende, accommodation. So you live together.

    @anonymous – that does take guts. Good luck!

    @anonymous – just shoot me an email at aswedishamericaninsweden at gmail dot com.

    @montastic – Swedes fear change. And spontaneity.

    @Walk On Boy – oh those are glorious as well. Im pretty sure this list could end up filling up its own website.

    Glad you got a chance to read the post. I definitely enjoyed the game. Even managed to help out a bit at the game so I felt halfway useful.

    @Sophia – Thanks! Glad you take it all with a grain of salt. And I have to agree with you, clearly those who are offended have no humor.

    @anonymous – oh you’re right! Or instead of kalles it could have been tubes. Caviar in tubes. Mustard in tubes. Cheese in tubes. Flavored cheese in tubes.

    @anonymous – I think you’re right. And when it is time to drink, the Swedes go big.

    @Néstor – Maybe it’s the darkness. Or the cold.

    @eklandisk – that could be, but you’ve got to admit. Its pretty impressive watching everyone stand off to the right.

    @terander – you’re absolutely right about the singing. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Singing gives the Swedes an excuse to drink.

    @Francis – damn those tourists. I suppose Ive never really lived anywhere else that has as many escalators as Stockholm.

    @Ylva – true, although I did see some other stats that said Swedes were over 10%. But this is one of those things where anecdotal evidence says otherwise. But I think that’s just because the drinking is done in such binges.

    @T. AKA Ricky Raw – aah alcohol, the favorite social lubricant of Swedes everywhere.

    @Laura – unfortunately, without they alcohol, many of them are…

    @anonymous – exactly!

    @anonymous – oooh… a great point. Well played.

  26. Good stuff, and a bit sad. :) or :(. Can't make my mind up.

    Néstor: they don't call it the liquor belt for nothing!

    But Swedes also don't have what they have in England for instance, which is a 'couple' of pints, every day, every day. It's planned drinking, like, 'on saturday we're gonna party!!'. But not today, because today (and tomorrow) we are working.

    Anon.: We DO have what they have in France, at least in some circles. It is not correct to just drink on christmas etc. You drink snaps with certain courses, and you have different flavours that are good with different dishes (Like OP Andersson with crayfish and strong cheese).

    Hairy: You forgot the most important one: Swedes drink, because it gives them an excuse not to be so reserved and, for lack of a better word, virtuous the rest of the time!

    We also like the five weeks minimum holiday law, because...

  27. I might just have to do a part two incorporating some of these ideas from everyone. because the vacation and drinking ones are also really good.

  28. oh, oh you forgot about snus! unforgivable ;(

  29. Ill blame it on the fact that I dont use it. But you're right, I dropped the ball.

  30. not just vacationing... but camping. gotta love the right to access law. might also add the maypole: gives us something to drink around. and små groderna: gives us something to do/sing while drinking. perhaps even queuing: because swedes are so patient and reserved. once we're in line, we stick it out. great list. i lolled many times.

  31. so true.. :D /swede

  32. @garrett - a good call on the right to access. just a glorious law that I have taken advantage of.

    the more I think about this, the more I realize I really do need to start another list. a part två if you will.

    @anonymous - agreed!

  33. By the way, I wonder how Hairy Swede's Swedish sounds like. Can he distinguish an "i" from a "y", or a "y" from a "u" when he pronounces them? ("y" is kind of inbetween a Swedish "i" and a Swedish "u" and that sound doesn't exist in English.)

    fåra - furrow, groove
    fora - plural form of "forum" (?)
    fura - a pine tree with long pines
    fyra - four
    fira - celebrate

    pytt - mix of finely cut meat and potato
    pitt - slang for penis

    ny - new
    ni - you (plural)

    sura - mope
    syra - acid

    While I'm at it, here are a few more sounds that one might need to be careful with:

    dörrar - doors
    dårar - fools

    ficka - pocket
    fika - a small meal between meals, typically consisting of sandwiches or cookies, and something non-alcoholic to drink

    dam - lady
    damm - 1) dust or 2) pond

    lam - lame
    lamm - lamb

    håra - loosing hair (a dog for instance)
    hora - hore

    Here is an interesting one: banan. If the emphasis is on the first "a" AND it is long, then it means "the track"; if the emphasis is on the second "a" AND it is long, then it means "banana".

  34. How about full= drunk and ful=ugly. As in....Jag är full och ful. I am drunk and ugly. That's my pickup line here. Here's another good blog on Sweden...

  35. I suppose my question would have to be how often that has worked. Because I might start using it myself.

  36. I can understand the drinking thing- Sweden is truly a depressing place to live, especially in the winter, but really anytime of the year.

  37. well the winter is rough, but the summer is hard to beat.

  38. swedes mate, they just LOVE to perpetually drink don't they.

  39. they do manage to put away a decent amount of alcohol.

  40. You forgot Herring - Because it gives them a reason to drink.

  41. As a proud Swedish American, I love ABBA:


    Swedish is the undisputed master of pop music.

  42. Salty liquorice! bluuurrghhh


  43. OH and the Swedish Chef!

    They gotta love that!

    Swedish Chef's latest tweet

    "I likey zee culd vedder becoose I'm frum Sveden but ven zee snoo is gooing side-a-weyz I vuld radder be inside-a makeeeng my meetballs! BORK"

    What's not to love?


  44. @anonymous Priscilla - yeah, the salt licorice is an aquired taste I think. and one I have not acquired.

    oh the poor swedish chef. I dont even know how many swedes actually acknowledge the existence of the swedish chef.

  45. I don't know if you've ever thought about this Hairy, but I really think that the Swedish chef sounds more Norwegian than Swedish. I think I heard somewhere that the inspiration for him actually was a Norwegian guy. Not sure if that's true though... But come on, we can't sound like that, can we?

    /Linn The Pink (Swedish) Viking

  46. @ayenenay - tack tack

    @crystalwheel - ah of course!

    @Linn - he does sound way more norwegian, I like it. Swedish is obviously so beautiful that no muppet could ever mock it.

  47. @Hairy Swede:
    Aaaaw you just secured a place in my heart with that comment <3 Good boy :)