Not much time to post right now, but I’d like to commemorate the Norwegian national holiday Syttende Mai (May 17th) with a re-run of this post from an old, dead blog I used to write. It’s about Vikings and gay marriage, which at the time seemed certain to tear the fabric of marriage in shreds. Hmmmm, maybe they were wrong about that one, huh?
Originally published May 17, 2004:
Does this axe make me look fat?
This morning I woke up with a burning desire to sail somewhere, eat salted cod, and beat up an Englishman.
That’s right, boys and girls, it’s Syttende Mai (May 17th), when the descendants of sturdy Norsemen celebrate Norway’s independence from Sweden. That independence was forged somewhat amicably, so instead of fireworks, we celebrate with ungainly displays of competitive eating followed by the famous “Man-Milking” contest.
But I live in Massachusetts, where today’s news was dominated by gay marriage. I had forgotten all about that, and was in for a hell of a morning when I left the house wearing my best fur and a wig of long, flowing blond locks. Luckily I was able to retreat back up the stairs before the menacing mob of screaming, red-faced Christians could get their compassionate hands on me.
The whole conflation of the two things made me think. The Vikings, as we all know, spent a lot of their time on boats. Those boats did not accomodate women. Those men — who after only a few days had already rowed halfway to England — probably found themselves often in need of a footrub, or a backrub, or at least a mojito. All I’m saying is that there’s a good chance that a good number of them staved off the cold with a little man-snuggle in the aft quarters.
Lars: You want to see my new helmet?
Halgeir: Let’s do this.
It’s probably no surprise, then, that the people of Scandinavia are the most open and tolerant in the world. And they can still kick your ass.
So let’s all raise our mugs of grog (or, in my case, plastic cups of aquavit) to Lars and Halgeir: May their marriage be blessed by Odin, and their children strong as elk.