Dating the Danes | Something rotten in the state of Denmark

I come from a land of simple people. We don’t overcomplicate life. Our ‘yes’ means yes, our ‘no’ means no, and complexity within the realm of dating is something to be avoided at all costs.

So when I came to Denmark, I was perplexed to enter a world where relations between the sexes are so upside-down that not even Cupid can decipher things. Never have I encountered so many people with the most complex range of dating dilemmas. Allow me to name a few:Men and women over 30 who are still undecided about what they want in a potential mate.

The unclear expectations around initially meeting and getting to know someone … are you on a date or just ‘hanging out’. Treating flirting as a national sport rather than a tool to let someone know you’re interested. Viewing marriage as an historic tradition that has no place in this day or age.

The over-intellectualisation of dating, as in using small, insignificant details to decide whether a person has future potential.  So it leaves me to question: how did all these blonde, blue-eyed creatures come to have so many dating issues? To me it’s obvious – they’ve over complicated the whole thing. Allow me to explain.

Little old New Zealand is a small, isolated island with four million people. We quickly realise that this is the pool of people to choose from, so we just get on with it. Contrast this with Denmark where if a Dane gets tired of seeing too many high-cheekboned women, they merely jet off to one of the many countries sitting right on their doorstep. And so enters ‘the paralysis of choice’.

Secondly, in Middle Earth we begin looking for our significant other at a young age. We decide that travel and education can be done with that significant other rather than before we meet them. In Denmark, however, there are 30 and 40-year-olds running around looking for a spouse, regretting that they spent their 20s on ski vacations with hordes of bollevenner.

Thirdly, our criteria for a potential mate in NZ is simple. They have to be a ‘good sort’, be able to crack a good joke and know how to recite ‘Business Time’ from ‘Flight of the Conchords’. Danes, on the other hand, are on the hunt for mythical humans that not even Nicholas Sparks could invent. This in turn forces them to reject great candidates for the silliest of reasons.

Occasionally I’m asked if electricity has reached NZ yet – surprisingly the answer is yes.  But I do relish how these ‘modern’ Danes see us as 50 years behind because there’s something to be said for that simple old-fashioned way of dating. There’s an innocence, a genuineness and a simplicity that goes into finding that special someone in NZ – attributes lacking in ‘forward-thinking’ Denmark. Because at the end of the day, the most enlightened you can be in this area is to go back to a time where you were unenlightened.