Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finnish jokes -- who knew they existed?

There's an old joke that runs something like this: "What's the difference between a Finnish introvert and a Finnish extrovert? A Finnish introvert looks at his feet when he's talking to you. A Finnish extrovert looks at yours!" If you think gags like these are just peddling stereotypes, you're probably right. But most stereotypes develop for a reason and many people would argue that there's more than a grain of truth in this one. Others would say it's patently untrue; why would a Finn be talking to you at all?

Perhaps the finest precis is the (true) tale of a foreign girl who married a Finn. Bemoaning her husband's cool and incommunicative nature, she pined for more affection. "I have already said I love you," said the husband. "If I change my mind, I shall tell you so."
--Nigel Wallis, Helsinki: A Bradt City Guide

1 comment:

Sophist said...

I heard another one recently that capitalizes on not just one but TWO stereotypes about Finns.

A Finn and a Swede run into each other at a hotel on the border. The Swede produces a bottle of Aquavit and suggests that they share a few drinks. They down three or four shots, and are getting pretty relaxed, when the Swede says, "Ah, Aquavit - such a nice way to spend an evening."

The Finn admonishes the Swede, saying, "Come on, what are we doing anyway??? Talking or drinking??"