What’s Your Ikea of a Good Time?

21 May

It was inevitable.  Things were getting too good.  Confidence?  Check.  Self esteem?  Check.  A closet (somewhat) full of clothing I actually wanted to wear?  Check.  A solid look in the mirror that didn’t result in an overwhelming desire to up-chuck?  Check.  But the world has its way of balancing things out – what my English professors would call The Wheel of Fortune (and no, not of the Vanna White variety).  And that’s why Sweden exists.

Sweden is where beautiful people from the rest of the world go to feel bad about themselves.  Sweden is where girls go to try to land a gorgeous man with a square jaw, broad shoulders, trim build, and piercing eyes.  Basically George Clooney on his greatest day ever.  Sweden is home to the tall, skinny, big-breasted, blonde, tiny-waisted women that every man besides Tiger Woods would sell his soul for the chance to be with.  Sweden is where said gorgeous men and desirable women pay you absolutely no attention since, considering they have one another as counterparts, they don’t have to.  Sweden is where people are effortlessly fashionable and chic and stylish, and somehow seem to wear exactly what we lowly Americans will be wearing next year.  So if you’re a 5-foot brunette with an ass and a backpack filled with jeans, old t-shirts, and distressed Uggs, you’ll obviously fit right in.  And by “obviously fit right in”, I clearly mean feel like a Mexican in Arizona on the first day of immigrant hunting season.

I must say that I’m surprised the Swedish haven’t taken over the world.  Having perfected the human race, what’s holding them back?  Not only are they a land of beautiful people, they are nice, friendly, and helpful, all speak perfect English in addition to the gibberish that is Swedish, and manage to run their country efficiently and effectively.  Unlike Greece, things actually run according to schedule in Sweden, and they seem to actually understand the idea of a normal workday.  Stockholm is clean, pretty, and well kept, and it takes pride in its past while emphasizing the importance of an advanced future.  So can somebody please tell me why this land of perfection stays hidden in Northern Europe, with nothing to offer the world beyond meatballs, Absolut Vodka, and ABBA?

While I spent three days being completely in awe of these gorgeous specimens, I also spent three days being in awe of Stockholm as a city.  I really didn’t know what to expect from it, having only decided to go there because of the remarkably low price tag attached to the plane heading in that direction.  To be honest, I didn’t even know it was a city made up of islands.  As a result, everything was new, exciting, entrancing.  I spent my days wandering around Gamla Stan (the old town), perusing the shops along Drottninggatan (the major pedestrian street in the city), scarfing down delicious vegan cuisine (thanks to a wonderful tip from an American turned ex-pat and Stockholm local), witnessing the over-the-top changing of the guards, and touring select museums.  Most noteworthy was the Vasa Museum, a museum that is dedicated to, and actually current home to, the Vasa, a Swedish warship that sunk not even a nautical mile out to sea in 1628.  Around the mid 20th century, it was rediscovered and, due to the water’s cold temperature, was completely maintained while underwater.  The ship is almost entirely intact and on display at the Vasa Museum, and without a doubt a must-see while in Stockholm.

But Stockholm wasn’t all greatness and perfection.  True to form, the Wheel of Fortune must keep turning, ensuring balance in the world.  We scoured the streets and skimmed every menu we could find, but found no trace of a Swedish meatball.  When I got up the courage to ask the unbelievably stylish retail attendant who sold me glorified Keds where I could find a nice plate of the famous dish, he laughed and replied, “IKEA.”

So maybe Sweden has the beauty and the fashion and the perfect ingredients for making perfect babies, and maybe they are choosing not to take over the world so that they can keep their secrets for eternal perfection from us lowly creatures, but we have Swedish meatballs at our disposal in America, to be eaten whenever we fancy.  And despite all those secrets they are maliciously hiding, they let slip the biggest one of all: how to build a fully functional chest of drawers from scratch.  Who needs physical flawlessness when you can have an affordable DIY bed set?

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