Biting people at country dances

A second entry on Sweden! I should be writing about the more exotic places, but here is the first place I’ve actually had time to get things down. I’ll get back to the rest someday. In the meantime, I feel like I have to work through in writing the most surreal experience I’ve had since my drinking contest with a communist party official (see ‘A Nation Run by Immortals‘).

Logdans is a traditional Swedish country dance, sort of like a ceilidh or a square dance. One of Philip’s friends invited him last night to the final Logdans of the season. ‘If you want to show your American friend some real Swedish culture, this would be a good opportunity,’ she said.

We drove to a nearby town and parked Philip’s car in a hay field. A pair of women were stumbling toward a dimly lit barn, wearing the sort of dresses only long-legged Swedes and eastern Europeans can get away with. A vague beat floated across the field. Philip’s mother had said this was a country thing, and I’d borrowed a pair of jeans and a plaid shirt. Now that it looked like I was going to a rave, I was quite sure I was not wearing the right clothes.

When we got closer, though, I heard the faint twang of country music and saw, to my relief, that the majority of people were wearing jeans. Inside, the floor was packed with couples foxtrotting to the gingham-clad five piece band.
I have not foxtrotted since swing was big in the late nineties. Thankfully, I was swept up by a tall man named Gustav, who propelled me backwards through the crowd with the assurance of a good dancer. Because it was so crowded, we kept on running into people. I muttered ‘Excuse me – excuse me – excuse me -‘ in Swedish but then stopped because no one seemed to care and because Gustav was giving me a strange look.

‘Why do you keep telling people not to bite you?’ he asked in English.

I blushed crimson. Philip and his mother are training their new dog and so I’ve picked up a rather strange vocabulary in addition to the usual hello-excuse me-please-thanks: go lie down, roll over, calm down, don’t bite. Evidently, my command of even those few words was shaky at best.

Relieved to find he spoke English, I explained myself and I asked him about Logdans. He said in Stockholm, where he’s from, it’s seen as a total hick thing, but it’s still quite popular up here in countrybumpkinville. It should be, I said, it’s loads of fun.

‘You should come back, then.’

‘But it’s the last one of the season.’

‘You should stay for the next season.’

I need to get out of here before that becomes too tempting.

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *