Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to 'Hook Up' With Swedish Girls - Speak English

This one thinks of herself as Nasty according to her tatoo
The title says it all folks! This is one thing that i have learned after several years here in 'The Capital of Scandinavia'.  

But a little background before i make the sweeping statement in the title.

If there is one thing that Swedish people are exposed to more then anything else it's the English language.  You see it everywhere from advertising, to television, to everyday conversation with one another.  I have spoken to many swedes who simply insert English words into their daily conversation as there is no Swedish word that fits as well and no one complains or is even remotely surprised about this.  Try to do the same thing in France, Germany, or Russia and not only will heads turn but people generally will not know what your talking about.  

English is one of the most important subjects that are enforced and reinforced in school for Swedish students.  I have met children that are only 5 or 6 years old who speak English seemingly fluently or at least well enough to understand me and be understood.  

A swede would tell you that as their country is rather small and the language rather unique, English is a necessity to succeed on the global market.  Tell this to the Creator of Ikea: every product in their mega stores is named something in Swedish, and they seem to be doing just fine.  

However conversely, Swedes can also be extra impolite in the English language.

A few days ago i had a rather unpleasant conversation with a co worker who was trying to express to me his thoughts in English on a report that was created out of my department.  As the conversation ceased being productive and bordered on unpleasant i suggested we involve my superior in the conversation to which he agreed.  The shock to me came at that next meeting.  It was held in both Swedish & English as i wanted to be sure there was no miscommunication, however understanding Swedish fluently, i had no problem if they spoke their native language.  So what happened? When the conversation switched to Swedish, the language, and tone was decidedly more respectful and pleasant.  However when the conversation switched back to English it was again bordering on rude.  Did he think that speaking in a foreign language gave him the permission to express himself bluntly, more so then he would have in Swedish ?  

But now back to the reason that many of you are probably here, the 'hooking up' that was mentioned earlier.  It turns out that most Swedish girls find 'the pickup' less committal if you speak in English and after some thought, i tend to agree with this perception.  

To a Swede, the English speaker is one that is here temporarily, because if they were here for a longer period or permanently settled here they would speak Swedish.  With this temporary status that someone has and the truth that intimate relations in Sweden generally mean nothing in terms of a relationship lasting more then a few hours and are more of a way to keep warm during the long winters and high heating costs.  

Several months ago on a trip to Malmö (AKA Sweden's Toilet), i was out at a nightclub after my Irish friend who we will call Patrick had gotten somewhat wasted after too many shots and left for home leaving me on my own.  I went in and it being a very small club found the dance floor and started talking with the first Blonde that looked to be about my height.  Through the music we started striking up a conversation and i fibbed a little bit and said i was just in Sweden for a few days for work training.  To my surprise she then offered to buy me a drink and we continued dancing and talking.  A few drinks later we headed out for an after party which involved more alcohol and a shisha pipe.  Although i understood the conversation i didn't let on and eventually convinced her to follow me back to my friends place (the one who had gone home earlier) for a night cap.  I almost blew my cover at one point as the cab driver had arrived to the street we wanted to get off at and asked in Swedish which number to which i replied in Swedish.  She immediately questioned me about this miraculous knowledge of Swedish i seemed to now have but after indicating that i had learned the numbers from 1 to 10 as well as assuming the question as we were so close i was in the clear.  The story does get a bit more complicated that night as i was unsure of exactly what was going to happen with me and this girl as i was staying on the soffa with my friend using the room and his ginormous bed.  I figured whatever happened would happen and that improvisation was the name of the game.  However it turns out someone in the heavens was looking out for me that night as when i opened the door there was my friend passed out on the soffa with his head cocked to one side in a sitting position.  

Anyhow i digress. 

There have been cases of Swedes that work as bar tenders that look of foreign origin and will only speak English no matter who the clientele are that he is serving.  Swedes tip better (or actually tip at all) to those are not Swedish.  Its a common fact that Swedish people don't tip, but that's not the case when you leave Sweden.  

However it's not all roses and butterflies to the English speaker in Sweden.  There have been several cases where I have been on phone support and request (for expediency's sake) to be served in English when they introduce themselves to me on the other end at which point i hear a click! Some swedes are so abhorrently against speaking English that they will have nothing to do with it.  

The swedish word of the day is: Information (yes its the same in both languages)