Category Archives: People

Why Danes Are Rude Part Deux

By far, the most-viewed post on my blog is Danish People Are Rude. This is funny for me because people have specifically searched for that phrase. Which means that although several people commented saying that, in fact, Danes are lovely, the truth is that they are not known for it. And I think we have scientifically proven that through my blog.

Oh Danes, don’t worry, you are much-loved (if acknowledged at all) throughout the world because of the things I mentioned (good looks, social sophistication, the bright, avant-garde colours painted on your living room walls that you must consider forward-thinking but are, in truth, gaudy). Yes, most people veer to the Swedes. Danes don’t really register on anybody’s radar. Danes are associated with Scandinavia, and therefore also with all the above-mentioned things, but no one really takes notice of them.

My paternal and maternal combination is Canadian and Danish. And those two sources have many things in common. Canadians are to the Americans like the French-Immersion do-gooder is to the cocky, self-assured jock. Everyone knows they’re all kind of one in the same, but nobody pays any attention to the dork. Even if the jock is a jerk, everyone still wants to be his friend. Danes face the same status; official nobodies to the world at large, respected, sure, but ultimately not taken into anyone’s account. Kind of…ignored.

Maybe for good reason? And for good consequence? Personally, I like succeeding in the sidelines. You get most of the same benefits, without anyone laughing at your expense every time you fall. Danes have it pretty good, even if they haven’t succeeded in making much of a mark on the world.

So…rude? I said Danes are rude because they are. And maybe that’s because they have a chip on their shoulder due to being considered the less-polished Scandinavian sibling. They’re just a different breed, and if you live with them long enough you realize they need to be taken with a grain of salt. There. Don’t get mad, my friends. For our part, even if Canadians are thought to be enlightened, inclusive, gentle creatures we are more likely stifled, passive-aggressive, disingenuous martyrs who talk out of two sides of our mouth because we have issues about being overshadowed by our much louder, cooler, popular neighbours. Who knows? We all have our things.


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The Art of Argument

My friend showed me the skit from Monty Python entitled “The Argument Clinic”. It’s brilliant. So many people do not know how to argue. And arguing can be a good thing.

I have talked about arguing in the past, but I didn’t know so many people use a particular strategy. That is, plain contradiction. Saying, “No it isn’t” to absolutely everything without any supporting evidence to back it up. The guy in Monty Python almost ends up going mad because the person he’s arguing with simply says the opposite of what he’s saying.

If I say, “I think A equals B because of C” then I expect my audience to focus on C. Anyone can give an opinion on what A and B are, but answering with, “Well, I think A equals Z” is not a counter-argument.

A similar strategy to contradiction is evasion.

Me: “You say I don’t share my stuff. But I always do. You’re always borrowing my clothes and eating my food. And I never say anything about it. Why would you say I don’t share?”

You: “Laura, you getting in my face about this is really unattractive because it makes your roots stand out and your voice scratchy.”

Me: “But, I take great pride in sharing. You know I am very generous.”

You: “I can’t talk to  you, you’re impossible.”

Me: “How, exactly? I asked you a question.”

You: “I don’t have to answer your question.”

Me: “But you just accused me of something without any proof.”

You: “You’re not generous.”

Me: “But I just told you examples of how I am!”

You: “How can you wear that shirt? It’s hideous. This is what I’m talking about.”

Me: “You’re not talking about anything!”

You: “You really have to get those roots done.”

Do you see what I mean? Maybe people like this aren’t actually listening. What else could their problem be?

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New Buddhists Are Bad

I’ve come to know that Christians are not the only assholes! Man, is that a relief. I have recently spent a lot of time with a man who considers himself a Buddhist. He has not been raised with the religion; rather, he came to it at near middle-age after searching for some understanding of life. And I sincerely congratulate him for doing that. Everyone should seek out the spiritual aspect of existence; it can give you a greater understanding of yourself and bring much peace. And don’t we all need that?

I used to think it was just new Christians who were patronizing. Fifteen years ago, I guarantee I had a patronizing world view myself. The kind of religious person who, when a difference of opinion arises with another person about the deep matters of life, looks on said person with pity. Like, they just don’t have the spiritual understanding to grasp the verity of my position. The person is to be looked down on, albeit with Godly love, and prayed for to receive enlightenment.

But if you’re thinking that your way of understanding spiritual and life matters is the only right way and that anyone who thinks otherwise is pathetic, misled, stupid, or even sinful, you might want to check yourself. You don’t know. I think I understand certain things, and that gives me great peace. But I can’t claim that will bring someone else peace, and I cannot be so arrogant as to assume that I have the monopoly on enlightenment.

Especially if I can’t get along with anybody else as a result.

Yes, I know new religious people can be well-meaning, even delightfully earnest. They’ve just learned something new that works for them. Yay! They want to tell the world about this great new thing! Good for them, I say. I mean, I tell people about my beliefs, too.  Just listen to and respect my way of thinking, that’s all I ask. And I’ll listen to yours.

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My Book & Show-Offs

I’m not much of a show-offy person. This is something most hold as an endearing trait, and few have much patience for the opposite. Especially in Canada, we kind of feel like nobody should stand out. And if you bring attention to something you do well, you run the risk of rubbing people the wrong way.

I’m not sure why we hate show-offs so much. Maybe it’s linked to not being truly happy for other people’s successes. Because if we’re not happy for someone it means we’re mad we don’t have something ourselves.

When I was in Grade 8 we did a gymnastics rotation in gym. Each girl had to come up with a floor routine. I had done gymnastics for years and although I wasn’t fantastic, I was probably better than everyone in my class. I could do flips and walkovers and I was really bendy. But you know what I did? I performed a lame-ass routine that didn’t showcase any skills at all. I didn’t want to bring attention to myself. How pathetic.

A friend of mine is always saying what a disservice it is to not bring attention to your strengths. And he’s right. We don’t have to be arrogant about it, we just have to be appropriately proud of our accomplishments.

I have written a book. It is very hard for me to put it out there for everyone to see like this. Not only does it give readers a glimpse into my mind, but it opens me up to be hugely criticized. Some people will like my book, some people will dislike it. I just hope people understand how much work it takes to finish a book, and how embarrassing it is to put something subjective like this out there.


To buy the book, click here (for Kindle users) or here (for other ereaders).

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Women Can’t Out-Do Men

I’m not sure men can hack being with an accomplished woman. This, if they are not very accomplished themselves. There has been much said of celebrity couples whose relationships end when the woman is more commercially successful than the man. We’ve all heard of the curse of the Oscar. The Seal/Klum relationship is the latest, and there have been many others.

At its core, it’s probably a good thing men are so affected when they are not the primary providers. I believe men are conditioned, whether innately or socially, to provide for those entrusted to them. Even if both parties make similar incomes, men know the responsibility ultimately falls to them, even if just in theory. I’m sure there’s a lot of research on this, and I haven’t read it, but it probably has something to do with the fact that women traditionally take on more responsibility within the home, particularly with kids, and therefore men have to take something on, too. Say what you want about equality, but relationships and families are rarely squarely equal, so I believe this broadbrush picture has merit.

It’s good when men feel the burden of taking care of their partner and family. They should feel that burden. And although women want to have their own successes, to some degree we all want to be taken care of. Or, to know that the option exists if we need it. It’s a huge emotional support.

However, feeling this burden should not result in the man throwing in the towel, purposely sabotaging his relationship, and making like the partnership isn’t working when really what’s not working is his own ego.

Sure, it may be uncomfortable for some men to be financially inferior to their wives. 99% of the time they’d probably wish the situation were reversed. But a confident man would just take pride in his wife and enjoy the benefits.

I wonder how many men would truly be fine with that, particularly in cases where the difference is so great?

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Saying Stupid Things

My sister used to say I need to filter what comes out of my mouth. I don’t take offence to this, as I know I’m prone to voice things in contexts that are not quite appropriate. For example, I am what some would call a religious person and in religious circles, if you say it’s okay to masturbate people will look at you like they want to have a shower. And then they will avoid you. Maybe some topics aren’t for all audiences.

I don’t want to talk about masturbation. My point is that sometimes my tongue gets me into trouble or makes me feel like I’ve failed. Everyone’s heat rises when they feel slighted, patronized or outright treated badly. Mine tends to spike, then I speak, then I think, then I am disappointed. Because even if I’m justified, I feel like I should be more zen or something.

I have learned how much life can suck if you voice every crappy thing that happens. You know what? When things are crappy and you can’t change that they’re crappy, there is only one solution. DON’T THINK ABOUT IT.

You can, and maybe should, talk about things for a time to your favourite  sounding board. I mean, we relate to people by discussing both the good and the bad in life; there is some emotional benefit to doing that. But the old adage that it’s good to get absolutely everything off your chest so you don’t bottle things up and explode later on is just not true. Because the more people you talk to about a crappy thing, the more you’re thinking about that crappy thing, and the more those negative emotions associated with that crappy thing overtake you.

When thoughts of shitty stuff creep into my head I have to just get them out. It’s the only thing that works. Because sometimes circumstances will suck over which I have no control and no amount of positive thinking is going to make them better. It’s not about avoiding anything, or being unrealistic. It’s just about keeping them away until time does its magic.

It’s tempting to go on and on and on about everything we’re feeling and thinking. But it’s idiotic, and I don’t want to be an idiot.

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Of Cars and Men

I got in a minor car accident recently (which was not my fault) and it got me thinking of the ballsiness of men. I mean, I think of this topic fairly often in general, but this incident renewed my interest.

Women like men who are ballsy. No matter the woman, ballsy equals confident and you can never go wrong with that. Now, I know you can’t feign confidence, so if you don’t have it you likely need to read some self-help books. (Seriously! There’s nothing wrong with bettering yourself or going to counselling! We all need it sometimes.) And we all know that when any person affects confidence it’s embarrassing.

Of course, there is at least one circumstance in which it’s endearing for someone to be awkward. See, if a man seems unsure and I can tell he likes me, I think it’s cute. Not that men want to be cute; I have actually heard they would rather be called anything but. However, to me he is cute and I am delighted. I don’t trust a man who is too charming.

The last time I got into a fender bender, I tapped a man’s bumper and we pulled over to the side of the road. The man who got out of the car was about my dad’s age, easily 60. We exchanged information and he said he’d get his car inspected. A few days later he called me to say there was no damage. Then, pausing weirdly, he finally  joked that since I’d put him to all that trouble the least I could do was have dinner with him.

Good for him!

Now, I was 29, but I looked young that day. I had just been skiing and my hair was in pigtails. I could have been 19 for all he knew. So…yeah, questionable. But I was still impressed. 

I have turned down more offers than I have accepted – we all have, I think – but I have never once turned a man down and thought, “Oh, geez, this is embarrassing for him.” I think more of him, like he’s doing what a guy should do. So, yeah, good on him.

And good on that 60-year-old.

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Never Say Never

No, I’m not a Bieber fan, though I can guarantee if I was 20 years younger I’d be all over that.

Really, I think more people should say never more often. You know, have some tenacity about things. If you say it out loud you’re more likely to stick to it, because otherwise your very word is at stake.

As such, I would like to say 6 things that I would never do. These things are not just a matter of theory; I have had the opportunity to do otherwise and have made the decision not to. For example, I won’t say I would never have an abortion. I’d like to think I wouldn’t, but I haven’t been put in that position, so I’ll leave it.

  • Live in Denmark again. Exotic, right? Okay, you try it for a few years. Tell me what you think. (Love you, my Danish friends…)
  • Cheat on my partner. Even entertaining the notion is a real pussy thing to do. So is putting yourself in a situation where you could find yourself in a position to do it.
  • Paint my finger nails. I’ve done it before when I was a kid, but now I can’t get past the long list of horrendous chemicals in polish. I mean, you suck your fingers on occasion, right? It’s also because I don’t like the look on me. On other people, fine.
  • Wear Earrings. I had my ears pierced when I was ten, and fainted. Then they got infected and I vowed never to wear them again. I can’t even hold earrings. Actually, I don’t wear any jewellry. Once again, on other people, fine.
  • Smoke pot or tobacco. The former is embarrassing and something best left to the one-off party or 14-year-old boys. The latter I’ve tried in the past when inebriated, and is grossly unappealing.
  • Say there is no God. Not because I’ve been taught the opposite my whole life, but because I’ve seen God in ways I can’t explain. Life doesn’t make sense to me outside of this fact.

Anything you know you would never do? Or would you never say never?


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To Boob Job?

My sister and I often say that our hands are 20 years our senior. Like, if someone just saw our hands and not the rest of our bodies they might presume us middle-aged. Both of us suffered from eczema off and on since we were kids, but more than that, our hands are just DRY.

I once had someone say that if they only saw a portrait of my face they would assume the rest of me was chubby. I kind of thought that was funny until I was running in a race in gym class and my classmates told me later that my cheeks move up and down when I run, like someone facing a wind machine.

About a decade ago, a middle-aged woman gasped when she saw my bare legs and asked me what had happened. Had I fallen? I looked down, confused, until I registered that my knees looked bruised because my skin is so mottled.

One person, who shall remain nameless, once asked if I would consider getting a boob job. Not, like, a question of principal, but just whether I wanted bigger boobs.

People always tell me I look very ERECT when I run. Must look ridiculous, but I think I do it to keep all my lanky appendages from flailing, thus making me more aero-dynamic.

I do love my body. I would change a few things, you know, if God was asking. Also, if I got to make everything perfect my sister and I would have considerably less to laugh about . That counts for something, you know?

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Sucking It Up

Seems to me I’ve been doing too much naval gazing. Typically, if something bad happens to you, or even something really good, you’re so wrapped up in your own pain or joy that you can’t be bothered with anything else. Either scenario is annoying in other people, and now I’m annoying myself.

Regardless of whatever happens in your life, the grace period is only so long. For some events, the grace period is longer because the event is that much worse. But every grace period does end. As empathetic as we are, we can’t keep feeling sorry for someone else’s hard time. At a certain point, we don’t know what to say anymore. We’ve said everything and we have no more sympathy to extend. It’s not that our compassion runs dry, it’s maybe that we expect every person to have the ability to get over it. [Understand, I’m not talking about catastophes.]

That’s crass, isn’t it? If somebody at work stole the Canucks doughnut my friend bought me and I bitched and spat about it FOREVER, someone certainly should tell me to get over it. But you can’t say that about painful things.

I’ve generally lived as though I can make things as good as I want to. I find if I wallow in self-pity I have the potential to get nasty. Like yesterday, my dad was going on about how he couldn’t care less about recycling because pollution is all a conspiracy and the government is lying to us and damn that Al Gore who preaches one thing and then hops on his private jet…etc. I went OFF on him, which was not only not called for but really disrespectful. I mean, I still don’t agree with him and I’m irked by what he said, but come on. What’s wrong with me?

I heard someone recently say that you’re happiness is directly related to what you always think about. I have to start thinking about other things. I have so many good things in my life, why am I thinking about what I don’t have?

People can be asses but that doesn’t mean I have to be one. Sorry, Dad.

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