January 27, 2007 10:46pm
The other day while sitting in our lunchroom at lab, a few other people there and I were having a conversation about skiing. We discussed downhill skiing, cross-country skiing (two of them had acquired cross-country ski-gear over the Christmas holiday), skiing in Stockholm, skiing in Germany (that’s where the two of them were from)… we talked about basketball a little bit, but skiing seemed to me to be the focus of our conversation. Then the fourth person in the conversation, a sweet Swedish girl in her mid-twenties, chimed in with a question directed at me, “Are you allowed to have sex before games?” What?! I thought I had misunderstood her. Maybe she was saying something about the number six? After all, to say “six” in Swedish, one says “sex.” Raising my eyebrows and looking a bit confused (well, more like totally confused), I asked her if she could explain what she was asking. Sure enough, she was asking if we (my basketball team) had any rule forbidding us to have sex before a game. Interesting. I had never heard of any sort of thing like this. And, quite honestly since a situation like this will not occur (and certainly has not occurred) any time soon, I had never given it any thought at all. She went on to explain how she had dated a hockey player for a while and that his team had a rule against having sex the night before the game (“to insure a good night’s sleep,” she added). It was a funny little conversation we had… the four of us “researchers” sitting in our lunchroom discussing sports and sex. Well, it was only awkward for a millisecond, and then the conversation became quite funny. I told her I would ask my teammates and get back to her. This little conversation didn’t last long, as we all had work to get back to, but the story is a glimpse into one way I’ve experienced some of Swedish culture. People don’t always say much, but sex – as both a topic of conversation and I presume to think the act, so-to-say, itself – is quite well accepted and talked about with relative ease. Anyway, just a funny story. Oh, and to answer her question: no, our team has no such rule. In fact after doing some brief research by talking to my teammates, they seem to have concluded that the rule may be common among professional men’s teams, but not written up in contracts of women athletes. Interesting.