Seduce a Swede – Steps 1-5

mouse trap with cheese and "free cheese" sign.

We’ve all had to endure the heavy-breathing commentary about Swedish women, their striking blond hair, long limbs and  “clothing optional” approach to life in general.  Swedish women are characterized by global media and entertainment as sexually liberated, touchingly naive blond goddesses. Swedish men on the other hand, almost always look goofy in movies and seem only to have two names: Sven and Bjorn.  As Bjorn happens to be my first name, I thought it appropriate to lay down a few helpful steps for anyone who might be looking to snare a viking for themselves.

For step one, let the following sink in: “Dating” is not big in Swedish culture.  There isn’t even a real Swedish name for it.  You can “dejta” or “gå på dejt” (Both basically mean “go on a date” and borrow directly from the English.)  What this means is that Swedish dating rules are, at best, unwritten, and visitors often find them very confusing.

The second step to romancing a Swede is to understand that gender equality is huge in Sweden.  Guys, women will absolutely expect to be treated as your equal.  Ladies, don’t be shocked if Swedish men don’t fall over themselves to carry your shopping.  Because gender equality is foundational to modern Swedish culture, some Swedish women may even be offended if males go too far with opening every door and trying to treat them like the “fairer sex”.  Genuine warmth and charisma are appreciated by both sexes but save the dramatic serenades for Southern Europe, Swedes are more low key.

At the risk of completely contradicting myself, here’s step three.  A lot of Swedish women complain about the fact that Swedish men are often very shy and don’t like to make the first move.  Often it seems that the average Swedish male needs to be on his fourth round of beers before he can muster the courage to utter a tepid, “Hi my name is Sven” (Yes, if Sven is under 50 and he is like most Swedes, he probably will speak reasonable, if somewhat sing-songy English). Herein lies the opportunity for non-Swedish males: a little charm goes a long way.  Simple things like you initiating conversation or offering to pay for a meal when it was your idea, will equal points.  Women, if you like the shy, mysterious type, Bjorn may be your guy.  Ask him about Swedish bastu (sauna) rituals. He may open up and suggest you go for “fika” (no, that is not nearly as exciting as it sounds – fika is the Swedish custom of sitting down for
coffee and pastries).

The digital age has enabled step four.  Swedes are BIG on texting.  A lot of conversation that you would expect to take place face-to-face, happens via SMS.  Texts are preferable to talking to new acquaintances on the phone. Pick up a number from Greta at ICA (one of the main Swedish supermarket chains) last night?  Texting is your ticket…

And now for step five in reeling in your Swede:  Cultural sensitivity is fine but DO NOT try to be Swedish.  Anyone in any culture can spot a wannabe and Swedes in particular are turned off by phony behavior.  Many Swedes are fascinated with traveling and getting to know people from other places.  So by all means appreciate Sweden but don’t be reluctant to chime in about your own country, its customs and way of life.  Chances are your guy or girl will find what you are saying interesting and they will want to get to know you better.

There’s absolutely no reason to sit alone in your hotel room or apartment while in Sweden.  Put steps one through five into practice and get to know the Swedes you come into contact with.  You’ll be glad you did.  Lycka till!

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Bjorn Karlman

26 thoughts on “Seduce a Swede – Steps 1-5”

  1. Step #6 – Do not play the German’s rendition of the Swedish midsummer tradition. I’m only guessing that it might be slightly offensive.

  2. lol..this is too funny! Thanks for the heads up.I have never visited Sweden, but now I know. If I ever fall in love with a Swede, I will read your blog again and not google how men are in Sweden..Cool blog, I like reading cool stuff so I will support this.

  3. hahaha Intresting… Like the comic said, “Knowing is half the battle” On the other hand I gues Latinos (Mexicans)are so different. We’re pretty much opposite of the Sweedish.. #1 we have tons of names for dating. (even a simple nod or body language) #2 We pretend we want to be equal but in reality we’re so used to guys taking the lead. #3 Guys will talk to you and whistle at you while walking down the street.. it gets to be pretty annoying. #4 Texts are just used to meet up unless you absolutley can’t then that’s where it comes in. #5 I guess that’s the same because no one wants a wannabe on the other hand if you become blond its better because the lighter you are the better so pretending to be Sweedish might even help lol!!!! Any how, I thought your blog was pretty good!!!

  4. so basically, you’re saying that all that anyone has to do is say a neutral-toned “hi”

    LOL-love it :D

  5. Wow… I was definitely asked to join in and do that frog dance once in front of a British audience… absolutely humiliating

  6. Well, I’ll keep my eyes open for shy Swedish candidates. Thanks for the comment Clara, looking forward to seeing you as a regular!

  7. Arlette! Thanks for the comment. That is really funny that you guy stumbled across the same article? I guess it must be a pretty good tool for the English speaking population in Stockholm… Found a Viking yet?

  8. Hi Azar, that’s hilarious! Thanks for the comparisons…. I’d like to see a hybrid of the Swedish and Mexican approaches to wooing… I wonder what that would look like. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope to see you as a regular!

  9. “Cultural sensitivity is fine but DO NOT try to be Swedish.” Also, vice versa:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/99950/saturday-night-live-norwegian-actors-playhouse

    Sorry, I know it’s Norwegian and not Swedish, but, same diff, am I right? Ha. Couldn’t resist.

    Also, where were you when I was on Sweden in tour as a healthy young 20-year-old, attracting nothing more than complete indifference from Vogue Magazine, a.k.a. Stockholm Central Station? Oops, did I say “on Sweden in tour”? Sigh… still a little tongue-tied I guess… but if memory serves, “on Sweden” was exactly where I wanted to be, at the time…

  10. This comment reminds me that I should be looking into my spam blocker… But I do share your sentiments RE Stockholm Station… almost makes me patriotic…

  11. interesting… and very informative. I have to agree with the above comment from Azar about Mexicans, we do like to say sexes are equal but love it when guys shower us with attention and “piropos”. Personally, i like the texting, if i don’t have a lot to say but just wanna say something quick, why not text? (if that made any sense at all) and lastly, I don’t mind being the first one to make a move, but I don’t want to make all the moves!!! very interesting lesson!

  12. Until next quarter. I’m taking practicum now (which is just twelve 12-hr shifts and discussion board stuff) and management next quarter and I’m all done. Yay!

  13. Marlise! Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it. Daniel was a fantastic tour guide when my friends and I were in Baires. I will never forget the Boca/River game we went to. Fantastic! I am looking forward to reading your comments on the blog. Take care and say hi to Daniel for me! Cuidate..

  14. Please tell Daniel that I just talked to DJ and he and Mike are doing well in Medical School… we’ll have to have a Baires reunion sometime so we can get to meet you!

  15. My problem is very easy… I’ve got a swedish guys working same company I do. So far he is hanging out in the same group of friens I do… Texting to each other cause normal reasons like: time or place of meeting the people, how was Our day at work, or what we did on days off.
    I just noticed he is not talking to the rest of the girls in the office.. He does, but just if they do it.. And not looking very impressed about it… With me is a bite dofferent… He waits always to get the chance.. When he see me alone, he is comming straigh away to me, approaching me so nicely and trying to start a conversation, even all the people look at us not missing details about what we r talking …
    Sometimes he is making complements to me as well even in front of work people, and asking me to meet out of work… Hard cause not really same timetable…
    So… Is he just nice? Or is he interested?
    Thank u in advance!

  16. Oh boy, Swedish women are not worth the time. They’re polygamists and feminazis. They’re parasites and should be treated as such. Swedish men too, they’re so damn weak and pathetic, they can’t even talk to a female anymore because feminism has made them too scared.

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