Let’s face it, dating in Norway was not that easy to begin with. The tall masculine yet sensitive-looking guys with well trimmed beards, muscles and long blond hair you fantasised on hardly exist in real life. Except for this guy Lasse Matberg, who personifies everything about the Viking male fantasy these days. The tall blond Scandinavian women you imagined sun bathing their long blond hair in parks and looking at you with their icy blue eyes and whispering “You look so strong” are actually saying “This is not going to work, you are too short”.
Yep, reality hits you in the face when moving to Norway: if you are into men, you find out quickly enough that however pretty you might find them, they are not from the same dating culture (call it Latin culture, traditional or just macho culture). That means most of them will not make the effort to come and talk to you, try to seduce you or even fight for you. As a Norwegian girlfriend once suggested to me, when I was waiting for a guy to call me back after we had met a couple of times: Why don’t you show up at his apartment with lingerie on, a video game and a pizza. That is when I realised how abysmal the gap was between the Norwegian dating culture and my own. In my mind HE was supposed to show up at my door with flowers and chocolates promising me the moon and the stars.
That is one of the basic principles to dating a Norwegian: equality on your way to the bedroom, which I once called “inversion of roles” in my blogpost The Norwegian “Art” of Seduction. I have talked to many Norwegian men over the years, asking them why it is so hard to reach out to them. Their answer is that it isn’t that hard, and that they don’t want to be harassing women, let alone look like a predator. So they let women come to them, and show them whether they like them. Let me tell you, in times of a pandemic, showing up unexpected with pizza or flowers is not something anyone mentally healthy will do. Unless you leave it at the door, with gloves, and leave before the person has opened the door. Hopes of romance just decreased by 97% for you and increased by 60% for that Norwegian’s next door neighbour.
If you are into women, you soon realise that equality means a woman can come up to you unapologetically and ask for your number, sleep with you and then never answer your calls again. It is called sexual liberation, it means we can also do whatever the hell we want with whoever they want without feeling guilt or shame. Mind you, there is a lot of shame going on in Norway, also when getting to the bedroom (and out of it). This is where the second principle comes into play: alcohol.
Another problem that just became even worse because of the Corona crisis: shortage of alcohol. Alcohol is extremely important in hooking up with a Norwegian because it enables them to losen up and make themselves believe that whatever happens next can be excused by alcohol. (Read here: What to expect from a drunk Norwegian). Oslo city has forbidden the sale of alcohol due to the pandemic, but smile, because alcohol sale will be allowed again soon with limited opening hours.
The last basic principle of dating a Norwegian, eye contact, for example in a bar, is however maintained and definitely encouraged during a pandemic. Eye contact will not make you catch the virus. The only issue is what comes after 2 hours of eye contact when we aren’t supposed to get closer than one meter to people who aren’t from our household? Not much comes next I believe. Even if one of you gathers enough courage to go talk to the other person, the bar owner will come and tell you to keep your distance while offering you another cup of tea. You might as well stay home.
Where it might get better
And it is actually at home where the pandemic might help you date a Norwegian. Dating apps are burning of higher usage these days because people are home, bored and confined. (Read here for more: Surviving sukker.no). Single people especially, who are used to meeting friends, lovers and leading their busy lives, are suddenly faced with the risk of feeling lonely with all their cancelled plans. So here I come dating apps. Problem being, we cannot meet. The tension gets even bigger and more interesting until we eventually can meet, or until one of us breaks the rule and meets anyway, in one of our homes, secretly (my God, love in time of the pandemic is even more exciting that during regular times). The risk here: everyone has so much time on their hands that they talk to many different women/men and you might therefore not be that special to them. (Read here: Why are there so many male teases in Norway?). But the advantage: Norwegians who are usually so annoyingly busy and avoiding after meeting once or twice, could be suddenly a bit more clingy. And imagine how romantic, when asked the question “How did you guys meet? – Oh well, during the Corona crisis, we were quarantined together, a magical moment where we felt outside of the world”.
Second path to explore: waiting for alcohol sale to be legal again in Oslo (reopening gradually since the6th of May), or alternatively if you live outside of Oslo, waiting for everyone to be able to go out again and mingle, which is about now as you are allowed to gather max 20 people in a private gathering such as a party. That will coincide with the good weather, which is already making Norwegians go crazy (it is called våryr in Norwegian, “horny in the Spring”). The excruciating time that led to this moment of freedom, which is a mix of the Norwegian winter added to the pandemic will do miracles for your sex life, I am sure.
Third path to explore: this summer, we probably won’t be allowed or at least encouraged to travel abroad for the summer vacation. This means that for once there will be hot Norwegians everywhere in the country enjoying the sun in Norway (if it shows up) rather than in Thailand or Spain (also called Syden by Norwegians). Endless possibilities to meet Norwegians, that is if the DNT cabins reopen and one can go hiking. If not, then they will all run to their own cabins without inviting your sorry foreign ass, and I guess you will have to find them in parks in cities or on those datings apps.
The scary part here is that when one sees how carefree young Norwegians are with STDs, one can only imagine how carefree they will be with the Corona virus when hooking up. Chlamydia infection rate is high in Norway, and people don’t protect themselves enough from STDs. So when the time comes, have fun, but please, protect yourself!
Original illustration by Ole Johnny Hansen, all rights reserved.
This blogpost was first posted on Life in Norway on the 4th of May 2020.