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Editorial
The Amazingly Accurate Relationship Checkup

The Amazingly Accurate Relationship Checkup

Published June 24, 2011

The Icelandic dating scene might at first seem like one gigantic free-for-all. But as any sociologist worth his salt will tell you, even the most anarchic system follows its own set of rules, however obscure they may seem.
While it is true that Icelanders have more sex partners than most people, or so surveys would have us believe, it still remains a fact that not everything is equally permissible. One may well go home with a different person every weekend, without the stigma that might accompany this in more conservative countries. This holds largely true for both genders, even if there might be some remnants of the old idea that what is OK for a man is somewhat less so for a woman.
Relationships here usually do start on a night out, whether the people involved know each other beforehand or not. Alcohol is usually involved. Chatting to someone while sober is usually seen as an act of desperation, while being exactly the right amount of drunk usually does the trick. Exactly what the right amount is, however, might be the subject of some debate.
IT ALL BEGAN SO WELL…
So, assuming you have managed to stay acceptably drunk until closing time, neither too much or too little, and you have followed your Icelander home. This is where it gets tricky. While changing partners may be no big deal, Icelanders are actually more willing to jump into a relationship than most. There is little of the month long ordeal of wining and dining and other dating games until things start to get defined, as one might find in continental cultures.
If you go home with the same person two or three times in a row, it is usually assumed that you are having a relationship. At this point, seeing other people is frowned upon and might easily get you into trouble. Dating various people until you make up your mind is a sign of bad character, while sleeping around with different people every weekend is fine as long as you avoid repetition and the unspoken promises that this would entail.
COUNTRY-WESTERN WISDOM
This might seem confusing to some, but everything has its reasons. Icelanders get married late, if at all. People are therefore not usually going out with the ultimate goal of marriage in mind, which would call for a more thorough selection process. Icelandic relationships are, on the whole, easy to get out of. While breaking up is always hard, as country-western singers have long know, there isn‘t much stopping, say, a mother of three leaving her man if she gets bored with him. Single motherhood carries its own burdens, to be sure, but there is very little of the accompanying stigma that one may find in more southern climes, and the family will usually pitch in when help is needed
Icelandic relationships are on the whole easy to get out of, if so desired, and people rarely stay together purely for economic or social reasons. Perhaps because of this, and also because of the rumours prone to spread in a small town, adultery is relatively rare. If it takes place, it happens while on a drunken night out, almost as if by accident. While not accepted, this still carries less stigma than a long-term extramarital relationship would. An affair stretching over years—or even a second family, as certain French politicians are famous for—would be almost unthinkable here. Not to say that it can’t happen, anything can, but mostly, we have our own way of doing things. If you want someone else that much, you can just leave.
So, in the immortal words of Count Dracula (who should always be quoted in a relationship column): “Our ways are not your ways”. Have fun with the locals, love them if you can, but be respectful of the culture, however strange it might seem at first.



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Editorial
We Care A Lot

We Care A Lot

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Hey, check out the above photo. Who are those people? I’ll tell you: I’m in there, along with our designer Hrefna, along with our former interns Parker and Rebecca (currently visiting from abroad to do some writing), along with our current interns Tom and Saskia and Elín and Melissa, along with our listings editor Gabríel, along with our journalist John, along with the ghost of what should’ve been (always lurking in the background, him). Behind the camera is the lovely photographer Matt Eisman, who set up shop at our office over Airwaves, where he’ll be shooting some of our favourite

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Editorial
So Long, And Thanks For All The Cheese!

So Long, And Thanks For All The Cheese!

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For someone who is used to having an entire aisle at their disposal when they run out of toothpaste, Icelandic grocery stores can seem, shall we say, a little mundane. Of course when it comes to toothpaste, all that choice is perhaps excessive. Ever since I started spending considerable amounts of time in Iceland, this ‘paradox of choice,’ and what it might mean, has been on my mind. As I noted in my 27th editorial a few years back: there’s Crest, there’s Colgate, there’s All-Natural, there’s Aquafresh, there’s Arm & Hammer, there’s Oral B, there’s Sensodyne, there’s Mentadent. There’s gel.

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Editorial
You Probably Just Want To Read About The Eruption, Huh?

You Probably Just Want To Read About The Eruption, Huh?

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The biggest news from Iceland these days is undoubtedly the eruption. Of course it’s not everyday that a volcano erupts. But it’s hardly a once-in-a-lifetime event either. Holuhraun is actually the fourth Icelandic volcano to erupt in the last four years, and it’s been hurling lava for nearly a month now. Sprawled across three seats on a half-empty flight back to Iceland shortly after the latest eruption began, I found myself wondering if it was an unusually slow day for travel or if the eruption was scaring people off. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption certainly showed the world that our volcanoes are

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Editorial
Halló, I’m Back!

Halló, I’m Back!

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I went on a vacation last month. It was wonderful. I left the country. I spent very little time sitting behind a computer. I stopped following Icelandic news. I browsed our website and Facebook a few times. It was really wonderful. I tuned out (and all but turned on, tuned in, dropped out). To say that nothing much happened while I was gone would be an understatement. The Icelandic media seems to be in shambles (turn to page 16 for the scoop on that). The office ate Thai food last print week (we usually subsist on burgers and pizza). They

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Editorial
Free Pink Street Boys Album! Free Editorial! Free Love!

Free Pink Street Boys Album! Free Editorial! Free Love!

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Here is a short editorial, inspired by the late, great Bill Gates and his vision, which continues to warm our hearts and our thighs through our pockets, via sturdy, glowing Gorilla Glass: Here’s to the volcanos. The eruptions. The shaking moneymakers. The ones who remind the world that, yes, we exist. While some may see them as extremely dangerous and not to be trifled with, we see them as tremendous opportunities for market expansion, advanced brand awareness building and vast merchandizing profits. Because the people who are arrogant enough to shamelessly exploit potentially catastrophic events, are the ones who make bank.

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Editorial
I CHOOSE TREASON

I CHOOSE TREASON

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I just signed up to become a founding member of Fylkisflokkurinn (“The County-Party”), which has the stated purpose and sole platform of campaigning for Iceland to re-join Norway and become its twentieth county. I was the 573rd Icelander to do so according to the would-be political party’s website (fylkisflokkurinn.is), while the Facebook group that launched it currently lists over 4,600 members (many of them very enthusiastic!) and counting. Proponents of Iceland’s independence might call me a traitor to the country that bore me—they might even go so far as to accuse me of treason. And I won’t lie: I felt

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