Cultural Differences

If you read my previously blog titled ‘Taking One for the Team’ you will have recalled my evenings plan for a quick sauna. After enjoying a quick workout in the hotel gym, I use the word gym because I was struggling to think of any other word, however not sure that one cross-trainer, a rowing machine and some free weights really does the word gym any justice at all.

I have been a frequent traveller to Sweden and in particular this hotel, I am sure there are better hotels but with its location from the Train Station and the 10 minute walk to my office, its just fits well with my routine.

In the years that I have frequented the hotel ‘gym’ and sauna I have been fortunate throughout that I haven’t had to share these facilities. I can only imagine the humility of 4 people working out who would use what equipment would we each wear a wrist band and have an allotted time on each machine before having to move along, a little like speed dating but in shorts and all sweaty……I can see this idea catching on.

However this evening was to be different, after enjoying the tranquillity through clearing my thoughts after another painful day in the office struggling with the complete lack of energy or even drive from the local Swedish team, there was a knock on the glass door and a gentleman wearing a towel asked if it was ok. Now, although I am a regular at such facilities I was unaware that I had the authority to refuse entry – so without hesitation I allowed the gentleman entry through a cheeky smile and gave him the big thumbs up. Seconds after I immediately regretted both the smile and the thumbs up – this must have been code, without hesitation he removed his towel flung it on the floor like in some dramatic sex scene and proudly sat down next to me his naked body just inches from mine. At this point I would like to confirm that I wasn’t naked, had no intention of getting naked I was wearing my perfectly good and appropriate swimming shorts – not some outrageous Bermuda short style, plain back and from Speedo.

Moments later I was asked if I like it HOT – I am sure my parents have warned me previously about such situations, but at 37 years of age for a split second I was worried, very worried. I jokingly responded that we are sat in a Sauna so yes I like it hot – I smiled and winked…why the fuck did I wink, what was I thinking off, (this has happened before with the winking) always in an inappropriate moment.

He laughed, smiled and proudly confirmed that 3 of his colleagues were about to join us, then he winked…..well done son, well played the chances of him having the same winking issues I have is very doubtful. So, let’s get this right, a naked man is sat next to me, another 3 naked men will be joining us shortly and he just fucking winked at me.

It didn’t feel right – now I don’t want to come across as sexist, but if this was your typical Swedish Blonde lady – I’m not sure I would have felt the same, maybe I would have embraced the culture a little more …..who knows!

I quickly made me excuses and left with my eyes straining to ensure that I don’t wink as I leave or even make any eye contact at all.

I arrived home late yesterday evening after a short delayed flight, but returning home knowing that you have missed bath time and bedtime stories with your son is heart wrenching, always wanting to sneak into his room to watch his sleep is no longer allowed after I received a lifetime ban from my wife for my consistent misunderstanding of the word QUIET – and apparently If he is disturbed and wakes up I shouldn’t start a conversation and interact with him, honestly you can’t just ignore a child…..can you?

Tomorrow I have my company medical a 2 hour probing and touching examination, now after the experience in the Sauna this is turning out to a be a week I am looking forward to forget.