The Swedish Gentleman

Source: "The Swedes"

As a young man, I was told

That a man should always walk between a woman and the cars

That a man should always open doors for women

That a man should walk women home at night

When I got to Scandinavia, women told me

They could open doors themselves

That I should not change side of the sidewalk

And thought I was trying to get in bed with them when walking them home at night

Genders relate differently in Sweden

Perhaps for good reasons

Gender-based politeness gestures common in so many countries

Often empower men

Putting them in a position of control and authority

Genders are equal in Sweden

It makes gender interactions simpler

Swedish men often do what is most practical and efficient

 It helps to prevent conflict

Ensure equality

And everyone is happy


Many Swedish women prefer that men do not open doors

They feel that a man opening a door makes them inferior 

Swedish men adapted to this new reality

To make Swedish women happy


The way Swedish women react to foreign gallantry varies 

Especially with age

I adapted to Swedish women

Off all ages

So they feel comfortable around me 

Gender-based politeness norms are less common in Sweden

And it is considered as a good thing

Politeness means something different

When you come from a place where men and women

Have more defined roles

Where gallantry is central to gender interactions

Where men are raised in a masculine role to care and protect

Where women expect these behaviors from men

Adaptation to Sweden may not be easy

Swedish expectations may be confusing

"The Swedes" explains expectations and perceptions of gender roles in Sweden

And how to explain it to foreign visitors and newcomers


By Julien S. Bourrelle

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