The virtue of being a romper (hygge for the great unwashed)

(Hey, thanks to everyone who has read this blog over the last ten weeks. All 15 of ya. I am going back to Ireland on the 17th so I’m going to write this one where I slag off the Danish and then one tomorrow where I explain all the profound and life changing things that I now know that I did not know before and then that will be it.) 

If you’ve had access to the internet and hold political sentiments that lean vaguely to the left, you’ve probably ran into the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced ‘bananas’).

Apparently, it was the subject of 200 think pieces in 2016, which is exactly 200 times as many think pieces that were written about how nice a person Paul Daniels was.

He's only looking after that rabbit for tax reasons

He’s only looking after that rabbit for tax reasons

What it is, if you’re not familiar, is a Scandinavian concept of comfort specific to Denmark. But not the sort of comfort you get when you put the heating on, or when you win £2 on a £1 scratchcard.

This is a different, more special type of comfort.

Through the unexplained machinations of the universe, it turns out that the Danish are actually superior to the rest of us as human beings because they like fannying about indoors with the fire on, wearing socks.

And, in this year when openly hating another culture for unspecified reasons has been pretty much okay-d, I think it is fair to say: Fuck you Denmark.

For one thing, according to this really long article in the Guardian, in Danish culture the idea can have as much to do with exclusion as it does to do with cosiness – and has been used as an anchor by Denmark’s People’s Party to push for a version of their country that doesn’t allow just anybody to come to the soiree.

You know, a Denmark that takes valuables off of refugees.

A group of refugees being totally 'Uhygge'

A group of refugees being totally ‘Uhygge’

The must have been too busy drinking mulled wine to check if there was any historical precedent for doing something like that.

Secondly, the ‘planned fun’ vibe of hygge gives me the heebie geebies.

On face value, this is a picture of a group of friends having a nice time by the light of candles and filament light-bulbs.

"We are having an above average time!"

“We are having an above average time!”

But if you want to label it ‘hygge’, and then imply that this is hitting some sort of predetermined standard for simplicity and happiness, then – I think – it becomes super creepy.

No longer is it simply a happy group of people having a nice time; now it feels rather more like having stumbled into a Max Mosley-esque Nazi sex party.

All body parts, catch phrases and discipline.

My third reason and main reason for whinging about this is that we all have our own hygge, don’t we?

In sports-underdog classic Cool Runnings there is a bit where Derice, the protagonist and defacto leader of Jamaican bobsleigh team, attempts to replicate the techniques and methods of the highly-ranked Swiss bobsleigh team – much to the annoyance of his teammates.

Taking him to task his best friend and the film’s comedy turn, Sanka, says:

“All I’m saying, mon, is if we walk Jamaican, talk Jamaican, and *is* Jamaican, then we sure as hell better bobsled Jamaican.”

This is a great Christmas film by the way, if you're looking for recommendations.

This is a great Christmas film by the way, if you’re looking for recommendations.

By this flawless logic, should we not hygge Irish?

Maybe I’m a dreamer, but is going to the pub on a Thursday night for four pints not hygge?

Having a petrol station that functions also as a bar, pet shop and newsagents, is that not hygge?

And is telling the chemist that you’ve got dental pain and can’t afford to go the dentist so they’ll give you the type of Nurofen that has codeine in it, is that not hygge?

And what about Northern Irish hygge? Like being able to swear during the first sentence of a conversation with a stranger. Or asking someone for a fight as a means of ending an argument.

So there, why would you want to aspire to be anything like the world’s ‘least corrupt country’ (read: ‘least craic’).

(By the way, ‘romper’ is a word specific to the local lexicon of Derry. Yeeeeah, it doesn’t really translate into English. It is more of a feeling. A sort of attitude…)


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