Why are there so many male teases in Norway?

A Frog in the Fjord: One Year in Norway Book

Original illustration by Tori Lind Kjellstad. All rights reserved.


Until a few weeks ago, I believed I knew what the Norwegian word “luremus” meant. (lure= to lure, mus= mouse). A tease basically.

“So what to you think of this report?” asked my colleague leading a meeting at work.

“I think this report is a luremus” I replied. Then everyone got very silent and it seemed like they had stopped breathing. I interpreted that as a sign they needed more explanation.

“Because just like a luremus, it does not deliver the results it had promised us” I replied.

Everyone started laughing. Yes, at me. People laughing is always the best way to remember a word or an expression in a foreign language. Especially when they are laughing at the very wrong use of a word you made. At least from that day I knew “luremus” was to be used only when relating to sex.

The French word is “allumeuse”, which literally means “the one who lights the fire” (and then leaves the room, leaving the fire lit and alone). In French Québecois they say a”agace pissette”. Both qualify women who do or say things that give an implicit promise of sex to a man. It is not a very pretty word to say the least.

Second step of misusing the word luremus, I thought it could be told about men. So I told a friend:

“This guy is really a luremus“. In Norway everything can apply to both genders right? Laughs, again. When will I get this right?

“You cannot say a man is a luremus, because men do not have a mus” said my friend. “What?”. Ahh ok. Mus, I did not know that word. Not in that meaning at least. In Norwegian mus means “mouse” and is also a slang word for “vagina”. But what is the Norwegian word for a male tease?

My friend from Northern Norway says the word for men is lurekuk (literally translated as cock tease). Somehow Northern Norwegians like to put kuk behind every word they see (hæskuk was ruled as a regular word in Northern Norway, after a guy said it to a police officer and won in court). Or lurepikk. But I want one a bit less vulgar than those ones. I made one up: lurepinne. 

Male tease. A Norwegian specificity?

I have travelled around the world, and I have lived in 6 countries in my adult life before moving to Norway: France, Canada, Great Britain, the Philippines, Indonesia and Denmark. Sure, these countries all have different cultures and social codes. But until came to Norway I had never met a lurepinne. Men I had met flirted with girls either 1- to have sex with them, or 2- to have sex with them and more, such as meet her for coffee, listen to her, help her choose the dress in which she does not look fat. Basically something looking like a relationship. But never had I seen a man lighting the fire and leaving the room.

But in Norway men have a third reason to flirt with a girl. A girl they are not interested in, not even to have sex. And the reason they do that is to get a confirmation that they still “have it”, that they are still in the game, that they can seduce a girl. Once the girl shows signs of interest, the game is over.

How to spot a lurepinne?

  • It is very difficult to spot a lurepinne, especially in the beginning, as he shows all the signs of a man actually sexually and/or romantically interested in you. They usually do a combination of all these things: give you flowers, invite you for dinner, touch you, wink at you, hug you very tight, text you several times a day with more smileys than anyone can bear.
  • A few clarifications: A man you have a one night stand with is not a lurepinne. Neither is a man whom you break up with after an unclear relationship. Usually there is no kissing or sex with a lurepinne, as all he wants is to get some ego-boost. Friends or people who flirt with a common understanding that nothing will ever happen is not included here either. That is just a game with an equal understanding of the rules, not manipulation.
  • One sunny day, you respond to what you thought was an obvious interest. Basically only answering “yes” or “maybe” to his question “do you like me?”. And at this moment he answers “Whhaaat? I was never interested. Are you crazy? I am happily married/samboer with 3 kids”. Strange that he never mentioned it. Note that the lurepinne often has a family and a cute partner waiting for him at home. Or “Whaat? You are not my kind of girl, we are just friends, I thought we were clear on this from the beginning”. That is if you are lucky.
  • If you have been caught in the net of an even more narcissist lurepinne, he will not wait for you to show interest, because whether he managed to seduce you or not is irrelevant. Another sunny day you receive a message saying “You are a wonderful person, and I can see that you are falling in love with me. But I am so out of your league”. Reject the person quickly before she rejects you. Just in case they weren’t even interested.
  • Lurepinner are not very brave. That is the reason they always give you such information through text messages/internet in order to avoid confrontation. But they are also very creative. Their excuses will run from “I am still not over my ex-girlfriend who left me 13 years ago” to “You are too young/old for me. Your age divided by 3, multiplied by 45, minus 8 is the maximum/minimum age of any woman I date” etc.
  • The season for the proliferation of lurepinner? Winter, when everyone feels a little depressed and lonely. Spring, when everyone is a little vårkåt and wondering they can still seduce women for the summer. (vårkåt means Spring horny, another great Norwegian word).

How to respond to a lurepinne?

Kick him in the nuts. Or ignore him. Or break his mirror.

Why are there so many male tease in Norway?

Why are there so many lurepinner in Norway? I believe this is due to three reasons: gender equality, self-obsession and Christian morals.

Gender equality: While writing this article, I posted a survey among the readers of my blog to know what the Norwegian term for “male luremus” was. Many different answers came up. I am not sure whether the connotation of “luremus” is as mysoginist as “allumeuse” in French. But in any case it seems like there is a sense of equality in accepting that everyone in Norway has the right to tease someone whatever the outcome. Send such question to a French crowd and it will be answered with a big silence. “But there is no such thing as a man teasing a woman without wanting sex. Men always want sex”. But I wonder how far the Norwegian equality goes. If a French guy had written an article entitled “Why are there so many female luremus in Norway?”, would your reaction be the same than to this article?

The second reason is self-obsession and individualism. Media, social networks, the proliferation of selfies and Facebook threads where people expose a perfect life are strong in Norway. Many people like to be reassured that they are interesting, looked at, loved and somehow on the edge of fame. Being a lurepinne feeds a modern form of narcissism.

The last reason they don’t go further is puritanism and the burden of morals. After all, when seeing the girl is in they could have sex with her. But Christianity tells you not to cheat on your wife. Not to yield to temptation. They play with fire and just before they get burned they run away. Because as long as it is just implicit it does not feel as cheating. But when sex or kissing is involved then it is a moral dilemma. Some live with it, some don’t.

Hopefully nobody out there (female and male sex tease) will feel offended by this article. If you do, please form a forbund of some sort, try to defend your right to be a sex tease. Call it Lurekuksforbundet. In Norway, everything is possible.

This article was published in VG on the 9th of June 2016 under the Norwegian title Lurepinne-koden.

17 thoughts on “Why are there so many male teases in Norway?

  1. “To boil the soup” (“Calentar la sopa”) is a common expression in Chile for someone exactly as you describe. Interesting that the slang exists in different cultures. And exactly for the same reasons as you point out.

  2. Hahahahaha, this really made my day! 😀
    I have always wondered why it’s a mouse in Scandinavia and Germany, and a cat in England… What animal is it in France?

  3. If you got equality it seems to reason that men also get uncertain. So why should not men also have the right to get their attractiveness checked? Women do not have the right to get all men they flirt with as a potential partner, it is the right of every man and woman to flirt and choose to have intercourse as they see fit.

  4. You ask what we would think if a man wrote the same piece? Exactly the same as when a woman does so. Luremus and lure-whatever-you-choose-to-call-it is derogatory terms, and I will think that it is used by a person who wants to insult someone else. t does not leave a good impression on the speaker or here, the writer.
    What you do describe though, in your meeting with men is not what I would call lure-something. It seems more like strange meetings with people who are not honest, and try to paint a picture of themselves for their own gain in some way. What you describe is just a very bad behaviour. That is not the same.

    Lure-something is just about the sex-part, and as someone already stated in the comments – nothing at all that you do or say means that you are not free to say no to sex at whatever point you want. Establishing that as the golden rule is important in our world where so many people feel entitled to other people’s bodies, and even what you would not consider a flirt, just a friendly conversation could cause a person to shout “luremus” to you if you do not want anything else.

      1. Peut etre parceque les francais soit ils y vont soit ils n envoient pas de signaux contradictoires … Je presume que c est aussi culturel.. et je suis tout a fait d accord avec ton analyse.

  5. That word nearly killed me :p
    I have never heard of it being an issue though, I thought they were called monks or masochists? 😮

    1. It’s a generational thing. You probably don’t say «Seff», «plis», write «elns», «snx» but you surely have said «selvfølgelig» and «vær så snill» and written «eller noe sant» and «snakkes». In the same vein, both female and male firts have existed in every culture for all time, just under different names, under different times.

  6. It’s «fintepikk» for men! (At least a mate of mine said that, and I really like it.)

  7. Bonjour
    cela fait 6 ans que je suis en Norvège, je n ai jamais entendu parler des hommes comme cela. Mais par contre ce que vous avez oublié de dire…Sans alcool ils n ont pas de sexualité…..Cela fait 2 ans que je suis célibataire, c’est très bien. Souvent je me fais draguer aussi par les hommes (j’avais des amis gay en France et on ne m’a jamais dragué.)..on me donne les FB et c’est tout…après plus rien….tanpis pour elle

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