What can one expect when dating someone who comes from the stronghold of the Vikings? Many Norwegian men are the typical blond-haired, pale-skinned, and blue-eyed males of strong Scandinavian descent but you will also find diverse physical traits in modern Norway.
Above their external appeal, there is a need to understand the inherent traits and habits of Norway to enjoy dating a Norwegian man.
Once you get to know the cultural predispositions in dating Norwegians, you will surely learn to love their ways, appreciate their different gestures, and understand the direction of the conversation.
Here are some major points to ponder on what it would be like to date a Norwegian man (and here is a guide to Norwegian women, in case you’ve landed in the wrong place)
Let’s start at the very beginning:
Norwegian Attraction – a Very Subtle Affair
There will be no amorous descriptions of your beauty or smart pick-up lines. Norwegian men are, by nature, more of the shy and passive type.
Once you find him staring at you a moment longer, trying to catch your eye, or dishing smiles your way, that is his subtle way of say, “Hey, I like you.”
No, they are not ogling nor are they trying to embarrass you – not at all! This might be the time to come up to him and introduce yourself cordially.
Dates – Set them!
Dating is not a big Norwegian thing. There are no gender roles in Norway. Everyone is treated fairly and equally, so the romantic and chivalrous roles of a man are prevalently absent.
Men in Norway tend to avoid situations that will make a woman uncomfortable – this includes asking a lady out – she may not like him and might find it awkward to refuse.
So, many Norwegian men opt to wait until the women show interest and ask them out. So at least show some interest if you don’t want to be the one making the first step!
When setting a date with a Norwegian man, be casual about the process. Don’t compliment upfront that you like his eyes or that he smells good. This might be too much, too soon.
However, you can ask for his number, call him off working hours. Recently, with the surge of dating sites and apps (these are the best ones in Scandinavia), you can search and if he is on one of them, you can also channel your invitation to connect here.
If you catch him staring at you in a party or a pub, they always say try to catch him after a few drinks, but not when he has had too many. That way, he can muster the strength to talk to you while still have his wits about to remember your name!
Set Something Casual
Dinner is definitely not a suitable idea for the first date in Norway. It is only for established relationships, so do not invite your Norwegian man immediately for dinner. Meeting up for a cup of coffee is more appropriate.
Cash (or Card) – Bring It!
Bill-splitting is normal practice when couples go out in Norway. If you are used to the man paying for the entire first date, this is not applicable here.
Don’t be offended though! He is not cutting corners – this is just their way of respecting you as a woman. Women in Norway are characterized as independent and equals to men.
Being the white knight in a galloping horse is actually a bad idea in Norway. After all, they are Vikings! 😊
Conversation No-no’s – Know Them
Norwegians, in general, have a non-confrontational nature so expect your man to drift towards topics that can be interesting yet non-inflammatory.
Do not talk about religion, especially on the first few dates, as this topic is very personal for them.
Inflammatory politics and controversial stances are also some of the subjects you must shy away from. Drama and hysterics just won’t work with them.
– No to Negative Nancy – Norwegians have been raised to strive to look at the brighter side of things. So, in your conversations, you might get chided if you get too whiny and complaining.
You might need to reorient your thinking a bit, but it will turn out better for your soul in the end.
Positivity is reflected in their calm and relaxed nature, which is most likely why Alfred Noble established the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo despite his being Swedish.
– Don’t Pry About Family – Intensely protective of the privacy of his family, the Norwegian man will not consider talking about his siblings or parents as appropriate conversation fodder for the first few dates.
– Try to Learn the Language – While most Norwegians are very fluent English speakers, they highly appreciate individuals who go the extra mile to learn their language.
This counts heavily when you get deeper into the relationship and get introduced to the family members. Knowing Norwegian will get you some positive points.
– Swedish Jokes – You will find conversations peppered with jokes about the Swedish. It might be downright funny and some may border on the offensive.
Just learn to be open-minded and be assured that he is comfortable enough with you to share jokes of an insider nature to it.
Should your meet-up progress into a second or third date, it is not unusual for Norwegian men to invite their dates to stay the night.
Getting intimate is not a dealbreaker nor is it weighed as heavily as it is in other cultures. Don’t misconstrue it as promiscuity or liberalness – they just consider it part of the compatibility test.
If this does not infringe on your personal beliefs, then, by all means, check out if you are matched horizontally – you will not be judged.
If this progresses to a more serious getting-to-know-you, here are more tips that you must bear in mind.
1. Be Punctual for Their Mealtimes
If your date is scheduled for a mealtime, it would help to know that they have 4 – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and kveldsmat.
Dinner can begin at 4 pm up to 7 pm. Because of their long days, dinner is called “middag” or midday.
So, what is a kveldsmat? You can probably explain it easily as “breakfast at night.” Don’t be surprised if you get invited to one!
2. Be Ready for Sandwiches and More Sandwiches… and Butter
Sandwiches or smørbrød can be served all day long in Norwegian meals so get used to it. Another staple is butter which you will find conveniently on the majority of Norwegian spreads.
You will find everything from jams to herring to pair with cheese and butter on open-faced sandwiches. Just remember to make your sandwiches modest and do not go overboard with the toppings.
Norwegians love to eat simply and if you pile up the pålegg (anything that goes on the smørbrød except butter) you might look like a glutton.
3. The Sacred Sunday Stroll
As your relationship progresses, you will be invited to join your date on a Sunday stroll. Mind you, they can hike, explore, and walk the trails, parks, and forests no matter what the weather.
They simply love the outdoors and walking. Don’t worry though. This is a sort of informal tradition practices not only by couples but also families and individuals so you will find lots of places where you can stop for coffee, waffles, and yes, smørbrød.
4. The Skiing Factor
At some point, expect to go skiing with your Norwegian man. He will most like own more than one pair of skis.
People in Norway love their winters and their national sport which – you guessed it! – skiing. Be ready to learn and tumble in the snow.
Hopefully, this is your thing because it is an inevitability if you get into a settled relationship in Norway.
5. The Cabin in the Mountains
While your Norwegian man may love the warmer months, they do love their winters a bit more. Taking a cue from their affinity to skiing, holidays and vacations are often held in a cabin in the mountains.
It may not even involve skiing! Many families, couples, and even single people enjoy communing with nature and spending time bonding in what is dubbed cabin holidays.
It can go as rustic as a basic lodge with no electricity and a well for water to cottages that are luxurious and modern.
Regardless of the accommodation, you can expect hyttekos (cabin cosiness) ambiance and ample time for some quality togetherness.
6. Be Direct and Open-Minded
In the course of dating a Norwegian man, you might find that he might talk very bluntly, bordering on offensive. Take everything with a grain of salt. They do not mean to offend you.
In fact, culture dictates that upsetting someone is not their nature. It’s just matter-of-fact talk that some cultures find to be too frank.
They might ask about your 5-year plan or chide you if you are acting childish. Remember that women are the men’s equal in Norway. You would not want to be talked down to.
Even though your man might live in Hell (which is actually small village in Norway with a stone’s throw of Trondheim’s international airport), getting to know him and his ways better will bring an enjoyable and fruitful relationship together.
Always remember than when dating someone of a different culture, set aside your preconceived notions of love, romance, and dating. Learn their ways so you can bridge the gap. That way, they will also be open to learning more about yours.
Editor’s note: This article was written by my good friend Mary, who spent the past 7 years exploring and enjoying living in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and during this time she had the opportunity to test, first-hand, how the men in this area are. You can check her thoughts on Swedish men or men in Denmark.