Monday, August 17, 2009

Festen

Er, not the movie, which I watched last night (in Danish with Danish subtitles, *ugh* but I only had to hit pause a few times to ask my Dane what all had happened/what was said, like the first speech, which must be understood in order to get what is going on for the rest of the movie and had vocabulary that we don't learn in Danish class, you know, words like, "sexual abuse" and "inappropriate fondling" and I must say that the thing that disturbed me the most about the movie, and the movie is SUPPOSED to be disturbing, so it's okay to be disturbed, was not the dark family secret that was revealed in the first five minutes but the fact that the guests CONTINUE THE BIRTHDAY PARTY as if NOTHING had happened! But the good thing about this movie is that you realize that yes, there are more Danes out there who get how f#cked up their culture can be and aren't afraid to point it out in a very disturbing way.)....

Er, yeah, so like I was saying before I interrupted myself. The birthday party I went to over the weekend ended up being quite bearable, once everything got going (or I had just enough to drink, I'm not really sure on that one). First of all, we were met with vodka mimosas at the door, so I had something to hold on to while I trotted behind my husband as we did the go-around-and-say-hello-introduce-yourself-to-everyone thing. This is a danish thing that I find very hard. I mean, what's with all the hand shaking? It means I have the embarrassing moment where I say "hej" and introduce myself to someone who is all "Dude, we met last year, I totally remember you!" and I'm all, "Oh, yeah, sorry about that, how's it going?" and then have to sidle up to husband later and be "um, that lady there in the green skirt - *panicked whisper* WHO THE HELL IS SHE AND HOW DOES SHE KNOW MY NAME!!??" This is why following behind my Dane has it's advantages, he'll introduce me as his wife to people we don't know and he'll chat with the people I am supposed to remember and thus saves me from embarrassment for a while.

There was a lot of the gentle racism inherent in Denmark, where people were incensed on my behalf that it takes so long for me to get a visa, seeing as I'm one of the good immigrants and I married a real Dane (they don't use quite those words, but there is plenty of discussion on how I ought to be given preferential treatment because of who I am and who I married without using the words "white" or "Christian" but we all know what we mean - I usually will try to say something that will point out that it's an unfair system for EVERYONE and that I don't think I should have preferential treatment, but sometimes it's just not worth discussing with someone who is obviously just making small talk with you until the next round of appetizers float by).

Seating was arranged but the dining was buffet, so you could get up and stretch your legs when needed and eating wasn't inturrupted by speeches. Those came after we had plenty of food in our bellies to absorb the wine. Still cannot understand people when they are giving speeches. Too fast, too many references to things that I probably ought to know, but don't, lots of jokes that I just can't get, oh well. Sat with folks who were great at chatting with me in English with a bit of odd Danish from time to time.

Later I got into a lovely discussion of religion, politics being something I steered away from so as not to get into trouble. But religion is okay. Especially when you discuss it with a Danish minister and so can do weighty subjects like Lutheranism vs. Episcopalianism and the place of religion in America vs. Denmark. Hey we were drunk, okay? And I am a nerd and a freak who knows too much about too many things that I never get to talk about with people who also know too much about the same esoteric subjects.

After the food and the toasts we got to dance. I love to dance. We danced from about midnight until 5 am. The midnight meal was served around 3 am, but because it was Danish hotdogs (hotdogs with remoulade, pickles, and dried onions) I couldn't stand anywhere near the table. That stuff smells AWFUL. I started gulping water at that point, realizing that I needed to start sobering up and in the hopes that it would keep me from vomiting. It worked on both accounts, but I still had to avoid the dining room at all costs. But I love dancing with Danes. We all suck. We dance like a bunch of idiots and it's OKAY because we all SUCK TOGETHER. And it's one of the few places where you can see men singing the words of Abba or the soundtrack to Grease outside of a gay bar. In fact, dancing with Danes reminds me a lot of when I used to go to gay bars in California. No inappropriate touching, no getting hit on, and lots of people dancing their hearts out.

Many thanks to Patti for texting me and I hope the drunk text I sent at 2 am or something did not wake you up. I was darned proud of myself for being able to type on the phone at all.

All in all, it was a good party, as far as Danish parties go.

6 comments:

  1. I didn't get the drunk text until the next day, so no, you didn't wake me as I don't take my phone to the bedroom!

    I have to hand it to you, you lasted far longer at this event than I have ever lasted at any party - 4 hours is usually my breaking point, at which point I started hinting to my Dane that we need to find a polite way to excuse ourselves before I hurt someone.

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  2. *lol*
    I find the hand-shaking and trying to remember everyone's name tedious. Last time we went to such an event I just went "Hi everyone!" and waved and it was my non-Danish husband who pointed out that I was the only one doing that - and then he insisted I teach him correct etiquette at parties. So there we were, shaking hands and doing introductions much to my dismay. ;)

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  3. it does sound pretty bearable indeed. there is a movie called festen about inappropriate behaviour and birthday parties? i have to check this out.

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  4. You are a credit to your demographic! Kudos.

    I hear you on the handshaking. Over the years, I have tried every ploy imaginable to avoid it but there really is no way short of social suicide in this society. It is for this reason that I embrace swine flu season, for it presents a unique opportunity to refuse a handshake without causing too much offense.

    I know, I know. I'm sick in the head. ;)

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  5. My danish friends told me that danes are the'sit in a pub and drink type' and laughed how indians dance anywhere. One time a friend went with the danish guys to a club and saw a group of 10 dancing VERY weird like they were in painful spasms. She joked that they may be danes and was met with NO WAY, danes dont dance. Sure enough they turned out to be some danish teachers on a work trip!I could deal with shaking hands, it gives me time to register the face and names. My boys north copenhagen friends are all about hugging and 2 air kisses.I always forget their faces and their hair gets stuck to my lipgloss.His other non north copenhagen friends just hand me a beer, I remember thier names and faces.

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  6. I tried to watch Festen... Really I did...But it was just to intense, with insest and all, even thought I had to read the English subtitles...I dind't finish it and erased it from the DVR. THe brother that was abusive to his wife really bothered me,and the cursing
    was too much. I enjoy the Swedish movies I've seen more.

    Neither Benny or I drink much, He enjoys a beer or two but as he is diabetic, One is usually the limit, and no one in Denmark ever offered me a margarita, and I don't drink beer. They seemed fine with that.

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