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OK, so, I had a great night on Thursday. No, really, I did.

It was midsommar’s eve.†† The beers had been flowing, the conversation was easy, and although I’d made a few social faux pas’, (I recommend a two-beer minimum before making any form of incest joke), it really was a great evening.

So, why did I spend most of it inside my own head? 

Well, firstly, that’s not unusual for me. Because getting out of my own headspace also requires a two-beer minimum. Along with a round of shots, a shit-tonne of power-posing, and I’ve DEFINITELY looked in the mirror at least once in my life and said: ‘you ARE a good fucking person, Becky’. (Notwithstanding all the bras I stole that time from Ann Summers.)

Secondly, I'd just had a really bad mental health day on Thursday. Like, really bad. We’re talking, crying in the office toilets bad. And not even in a delicate, quiet-sob kind of way. Like a heave-into-a-hand-towel-to-muffle-it, stick-your-face-under-the-cold-tap-so-it-isn’t-all-swollen-like-a-river-corpse crying. Yeah, that bad.¹

And, I’m not tryna’ to be all X-factor sob story about it – I’m just a cryer – it’s what I do. And, for context: I cry at EVERYTHING. From sad movies to conflict anxiety, I’m a weeper baby, and proud. Once, I even cried at the memory of MY OWN crying. Yes. I was SO moved by having ONCE BEEN SAD, I made MYSELF sad. AGAIN.

I think what I’m saying is this: please don’t feel sorry for me. I’m mostly good and happy and clearly a low-level narcissist. And don’t judge me millennials – we all are. (Pre-millennials, judge away, we really are all fucking dickheads.)

THAT SAID, when I was dramatically doubled over in a pile, bawling my puffy eyes out, and pulling at my hair to feel anything outside of miserable, I at least wanted SOMEONE to feel sorry for me. I mean, I wasn’t expecting Richard Gere to march in and scoop me off the toilet like an emotionally fragile incontinent person, but come on fucking Gill from finance, give us a ‘chin up love’ and a biccie, would you?

Basically, I was feeling sad about myself and I just wanted a fucking cuddle. Preferably from an older and wiser, motherly type, who speaks mostly in idioms and whose wisdom I can regurgitate as memes on the internet².

I mean, at times like these, could someone just lend me their fucking womb please?! And ideally one with amenities, like a kettle and a couple’a Yankee candles. Because fannies are many glorious things people, but if you could upcycle one with a cheeky bit of ylang ylang, why wouldn’t you?

And maybe, you might ask, why was Thursday such a bad mental health day?

I mean who the fuck even knows? Yes, it’s lonely sometimes in a new country. And yes, it’s normal to feel sad about it. But when it comes to me, all I can tell you is my brain is a mysterious fantasy kingdom, where the weather is ever-changing, and Joffrey Baratheon is the king of my inner monologue. Saying shit to me like:

“No-one here likes you” 

“Everyone can tell you’re a fraud”

“Why not chop Ned Stark’s head off and marry your ex-fiance to a dwarf."

Anyway, back to Thursday midsommar evening. Where I was attending an expat meetup. The people were fucking lovely, but they were also new, so I couldn’t crawl up into any of their wombs yet. EVEN after the two beer thresh-hold. And even though the convo was beautifully devoid of small talk, very funny and refreshingly honest, I couldn’t be THAT honest, it’d just kill the vibe at the table. Who was I to take a big fat emotional dump on it? It’d ruin the sweet potato fries.

So, by the time the evening had come to an end, I’d already made my mind up that I was going to go home and eat my feelings. And in Stockholm, it’s extremely EASY to do this. Because despite all the healthy living and the beautiful Swedish people (the annoyingly beautiful Swedish people), there is actually a dark and sinister underbelly to this glistening Scandinavian capital. Because deep below the ground, under all that green space and clean mid-century architecture, almost every subway station is filled with fucking vending machines. Stocked up with chocolate, just ready and waiting for a drunk, sad person like me.

Anyway, I get to one of these machines, and like a drug addict, check that no-one is around to watch me, as I proceed to spend almost 200 SEK (nearly 20 Great British Pounds!) on TEN BARS and SHARE BAGS of chocolate³; reinserting my bank card for each individual transaction because, like some kind of SICK JOKE, (or as an effort to curb such unhealthy behaviours and save me from myself), you can only buy ONE CHOCOLATE BAR at a time.

Look at it, all lit up like the Holy Grail.

It takes me almost ten minutes to make all my purchases. While I sheepishly check behind me to make sure there’s no queue forming. Because this is the bleakest fucking window into someone else’s mental state, EVER.

Then I open Tinder.†

I go straight to my messages and find the guy who I’ve actually been ghosting for the last four weeks. I send him a weird apology for being a dick, followed by my number and ask him to call me. Strangely, he agrees. In fact, he immediately asks if I’m ok, because I’m clearly not ok, (a drunk message at 1 in the morning after 4 weeks of radio silence will give you away like that), and then, because he’s a DECENT FUCKING HUMAN, he gives me the space to talk about it.

I immediately feel like an arsehole. Although I do not proceed to stop being one. I spend the next hour on the phone, chewing chocolate into the receiver, and trying to explain why I think I’ve turned every man I’ve ever dated into my father. (Because yes, I know. I’m a fucking cliché.)

ODDLY. He DOES NOT HANG UP.

He actually continues to talk to me. Like really talk to me. Like funny, interesting and embarrassing shit that you just don’t talk about with a stranger really.

I ask him how high his self-esteem is? And, since he’s from Argentina, did he find it lonely when he first moved here? (He probably tells me he was lonely, but I was too drunk and self-absorbed to retain that information.)

The convo moves on easily (as I continue to chew like a cow in the background). We discuss everything from the pros and cons of using politically charged terms like the n-word, to sadomasochism and the importance of consent. And of how nice it sounds, when cold chocolate snaps as you bite into it. To demonstrate, I punctuate that sentence by biting a chunk out of my Marabou.

We both agree it’s a satisfying sound.

We exchange bad Tinder stories and overshare details about the shit we like to do in bed. The atmosphere gets a bit weird after that, but we bring it back around somehow, and in no time at all (for drunk-me at least), the conversation has been going for 2 hours. And I’ve finally stopped eating chocolate.

I tell him that I love his voice, and try to pee discreetly while forcing him to speak Spanish to me. He does. It’s the sexiest pee I’ve ever had. Obviously, he hears me anyway – drunk people are not known for being stealthy. But he doesn’t mind, and he only gives me shit afterwards when he reminds me that I DID NOT WASH MY HANDS.

(Just like a father might… DING DING DING!!

Anyway, despite all of this, the Tinder guy – let’s call him Dr Xavier (because if you’re gonna have an internet pseudonym, why wouldn’t you choose the leader of the X-Men)‡ – he’s actually still fucking interested in me!? Again: despite my appalling behaviour, and despite the fact he knows that I don’t wash my hands after the toilet.*

So, I really did have a great night. I mean it. The beers were flowing, the conversation was easy, and for some inexplicable reason, a guy I’d been a prize-asshole to, was kind to me and let me crawl inside his womb for the evening.**

 

Footnotes:

†† I have since been informed after writing this article that I got my dates mixed up. Thursday was not midsommar’s eve, but was actually midsommar’s eve-eve. Oops. Sos, The Calendar.

¹ On ‘that kind’ of crying: It’s a sexy affair. I can produce an extraordinary amount of snot. And I’m not ashamed to admit, that when it runs into my mouth, sometimes I lick it off my face like a salamander. #The disgusting plus-side to mental illness. Yay!

² If I see one more fridge magnet philosophy quote set against an ocean-scene backdrop, I’m gonna take out a hit on the whole of generation Z. You’re the only ones with the apps and the ego to pull that shit. So, stop it, just stop it. (But also, keep doing it, some of it’s annoyingly inspirational.)

³ The whole stash included: 2 bags of Daim ‘pellets’, 2 share bags of Daim bites, 2 large Marabou bars, 2 Oreos bars, 2 KEX bars, and a packet of fancy Lant chips that I ordered accidentally.

† Kids. A word of wisdom: Don’t drink and Tinder. I mean, beer goggles AND an Instagram filter? Come on. You’re gunna un-match the fuck out of every single one of them the next morning. You’re basically just creating admin. PLEASE SWIPE RESPONSIBLY.

‡ Dr Xavier as played by James McAvoy. (Sorry Patrick Stewart, I love you buddy, but you’re as bald as my father, and even for me, that’s a bit much.)

* I just don’t see the point in washing my hands if I didn’t get pee on my fingers. Sos.

** I can’t decide if that’s weird, sad or sexy. But it was definitely an interesting first midsommar.

 

READ MORE FROM BY BIG FAT SCANDI MELTDOWN:  

Read my first blog, here.

Find out about how NOT flirty Swedes are, here.

And check out my OTHER blog (it’s pretty much EXACTLY the same blog) at mybigfatscandinavianmeltdown here.

Oh, and as if I hadn’t overshared enough, you can find out more about ME, here.

As a single 30-something in Sweden, I can tell you two things. 1) Finding someone to flirt with is like finding a four-leaved fucking unicorn. 2) Opening your Tinder profile with ‘Fertile. Probably.’ does not make this quest any easier.

The Swedes just do not flirt. And they’re not too fond of jokes about being barren either. 

I mean realistically, I’ve only been here seven weeks, so I’m making a wildly unsubstantiated blanket statement. BUT! Everybody tells me that the Swedish men-folk don’t flirt, and so far… I have to confirrrm… I haven’t had a WHIFF of lingering eye contact. Not a single sideways glance. I’d actually even take a leer at this stage. And I’m not above a pat on the ass and a friendly ‘AWOOGAAAA’ as he pretends to honk my breasts like two car horns.

Why won’t the swedes just harass me already?!

And, just so you know how desperado I’ve been getting: I GENUINELY walked behind a guy in my office this week to deliberately inhale the backdraft of his aftershave. 

Unprofessional. I know.

But I actually do sort of fancy the guy¹. Also, I checked with HR, and as long as I don’t make a weird sucking noise while I try to swallow his beautifully scented soul like a Dementor, turns out it’s ok to sniff your colleagues. (P.S. I did feel slightly younger afterwards. I might bite him next time and see if I can take a couple’a years off.)

Anyway, I digress.

I’m genuinely starting to get in my own head about it. I mean, I’m DEFINITELY no supermodel, but when I can occasionally be arsed to draw my eyebrows back on (yes, of course I over-plucked in the noughties²) I can actually give off a mildly seductive come-hither vibe. (At least until my eyebrows slide off again.)

But, do you know what really worries me?

We’re at the height of hot and sexy summer here. Like, summer is THE SEASON for flirting. And I’m not talking that bitty, small-fry, I’m-just-dipping-me-toe-in-the-pool, stolen sideways-glance style flirting. I’m talking that totally irresponsible, oops-I-broke-the-condom; YOLO-there’s-a-pill-for-that; no-that’s-absolutely-not-a-wart; better-sneak-out-before-he-sees-me-in-daylight; ‘hey, I wonder if either of us has actually cum yet?’ flirting.

I mean, c’mon!!?

Summer is the time of year the affair takes place in EVERY Danielle Steele novel.³ And I’m pretty sure that summer is GENUINELY† medically certified as being the easiest time of year to get pregnant. Here’s an actual transcript from a real doctor’s office:

Did he get sperm on your leg?
Yes.
When, summer?
Yes. 
You’re pregnant.
But, what? – that was months ago, I’ve had no symptoms of –  
Pregnant.
But I’m 70 years old, I’ve been through meno –  
PREGNANT.
The sperm was from a cat?!! 
Purrrrr-reg-NANT!

FYI, this transcript isn’t real. But I’d still wear socks next time a cat rubs up against you. You know, just to be on the safe side.

But I digress. Again. So, summer is for flirting, right? Agreed. Then why is no one doing it? Is it me? Do I have DILL in my teeth? Oh my god, am I the one being leery!? (And no, don’t say anything, because sniffing an unsuspecting colleague doesn’t count, alright!)

Anyway, I got inspired (drunk) and decided to do some “research”. I asked 5 REAL LIFE SWEDES (and one very jaded expat*) whether they thought Swedish people are flirty. The answers came in this order:

“No.”

“Abso-fucking-lutely not.”

“Swedish men are weird.”

“Swedish flirting is more like, we ignore each other…” 

I mean, that's actually a very effective tactic...

“They do flirt but only when drinking.”

“No! They’re shit at flirting!”

Guess which one’s the jaded expat...

OK. So it’s probably not my dodgy eyebrows then… But what does this actually mean for me, and how will I ever get a date in this flirtless joint?

After worrying about this, I sat down for a glass (two bottles) of wine with my new pal, Ronja, and I asked her, as cheeky Bonus Swede #6, do Swedish men flirt? Her response:

“I don’t know. I’ve given up on Swedish men.”

Jesus. 

OK, so to summarise, most Swedes just ignore each other, some are shit at flirting all together, BUT, as long as there’s alcohol (standard), they’re pretty much the same as any nationality.**

Now! Just to reinforce that last, nifty little bit of data: I’ve been writing this post over the last couple of days and I had just about finished it yesterday. THEN I decided to go to a bar last night, where, after all my boo-hooing about the lack of flirting in Sweden, a slightly tipsy Swedish person did in fact try to flirt with me across the room.

What did I do…?

Panicked. Obviously. I looked fleetingly in his general direction a few times; freaked out when his eyes met mine; ignored him for the rest of the time; and then I got sad because I hadn’t bothered to draw any fucking eyebrows on that morning.

Isn’t THAT ironic? Don’t ya think.

Anyway. Now that I’m done with what I’m sure you’ll agree was a STERLING piece of investigative journalism‡, I’m off out to try maintain some eye contact with some other drunken Scandinavians.

Worst comes to worst, if I bottle it again, I can always honk my own tits like car horns.

 

Footnotes 

¹ OK, so there is a story to this, but I will SAVE it for another post. Because 1) oooh cliffhanger, and 2) my manager reads this. (By the way, please keep employing me.)

² Our obsession with hair removal in the early noughties left no part of the body unscathed. From top to camel-toe, I spent most of my teenage years spread-eagled in the bathroom chemically dissolving my pubic hair. FYI, I hear that hair removal cream still smells like eggs and cabbage. #bringbackeightiesbush

³ Firstly: I HEART Danielle Steele. Secondly: it’s not entirely true that every affair takes place in the summer. But I can tell you, no-one’s getting tossed around the hay bale at four degrees below freezing no matter how sexy the farm-hand is.

† I’m not sure about this at all. This is DEFINITELY a lie.

* I basically asked some mates, so it’s not the most reliable reporting. But then, I did tell you cat sperm can get ya pregnant soooo… if you’re looking for journalistic integrity…

** You know what, as far as nationalities go, and not-with-standing my own piss-poor flirting skills, I’m not even sure the UK is all that flirty either. I mean, besides Hugh Grant’s stutter in the 90s, when was the last time we fluttered our eyelashes at anything?

‡ Again, sorry for all the sweeping generalisations all Swedes, maybe I can take you for a drink?