Dating the Danes | Fascinatingly frustrating

I was at an event the other day where around 70 Aussies (and three Kiwis) were in attendance. After a couple of ‘good Aussie beers’, an older gentleman began chatting to me.

“I can image Danish men must be quite a phenomenon for Kiwi women,” he said. “I mean I was recently back in Australia and it made me realise what a bunch of yobos we are.”
I replied: “Yes you’re drunk on fascination for approximately 18-20 months and then you sober up.”

The Danish band Alphabeat once sang “we live on fascination”, and I’ll be the first one to admit I essentially lived out this particular line for the better part of my early 20s.

I distinctly remember falling prey to this at 19 when I got my first hit of ‘Dane’.

I revelled in the fact we were similar enough to both laugh at Ricky Gervais, yet different enough that we could spend a riveting 30 minutes debating if Crunchie bars were better than Toms Skildpadder.

But since then the fascination has been slowly etched out − only to be replaced by frustration.

Now I’m sure anyone who’s dated a foreigner can relate to this one way or another. That initial opposites attract phenomenon that has you gooing over the way they dance around the Christmas tree, or how they find it absolutely hilarious that you wear jandles (flip-flops) in wintertime.
But as the fascination turns to frustration, you end up thinking things like: “I’d rather make a bonfire with that Christmas tree than dance around it one more time” or ‘If he comments on the jandle thing again, he may just get slapped with one.’

In my youth I genuinely believed these feelings of fascination would never leave me − that I would live a blissful life of intrigue and wonder. But with age (or just frustration) comes reality. And when I felt my feelings receding, I found myself simply left with a human being who just happens to be from a country less pretty than mine.

We all know that fascination is fun, exciting, intoxicating even, but it’s not something you should base a long-term relationship on. Fascination is an appetiser, but it’s not the main course.

So last week when I met the 22-year-old American version of myself and she told me her number one goal is to find a Danish boyfriend, I simply said: “Enjoy the Danes. Be fascinated. Appreciate that they sleep-talk in Danish while you wonder if it’s about you. Let them try and convince you that Bornholm is as pretty as New Zealand. But don’t intoxicate yourself with fascination. Because when you suddenly sober up and begin to get bored with their perfect blue eyes and in-depth knowledge of Viking history, you’ll realise that you can’t ‘live on fascination’ forever.”

I should know. There’s a reason I write ‘Dating the Danes’ not ‘Having committed relationships with Danes’.