Norway’s Native English Speaking Man Surplus

“Why are their no beautiful girls in England? Because the Vikings came and took them all away….” 

The inside of a pub toilet door 2005

Since moving to Norway 6 months ago, I’ve noticed a number of puzzling phenomena that
perplex. For example, in spite of having generally quite reasonable fashion sense Norwegians seem to have a blind spot with regard to lycra. Instead of restricting the body hugging fabric to the gym and sports it seems lycra is acceptable casualwear for almost any social occasion. This translates  into a reality when at any given moment a large percentage of Norwegians in a restaurant or cinema, will look ready for slalom from the waist down. Meanwhile, knekkebroed, a type of cardboard masquerading as a cracker that Norwegians eat for breakfast, lunch
and Kveldsmatt (supper), has mass popularity that cannot be explained by any logic grounded in the human senses.

        But these are small potatoes, there is one  phenomenon that is of particular interest, not least because it involves me directly.  That is, the native English speaking male (or NESM) surplus  that I perceive to be present in Norway.   I say I perceive because I base this on absolutely no official statistic but rather my own extremely limited experience that there seems to be a significant number of men who moved to Norway to be with their Norwegian girlfriend, but hardly any Native English Speaker Females (NESF) who moved here to be with their Norwegian boyfriend.  I have met exactly none, and a quick poll of my Norwegian friends revealed the same.  This apparent imbalance is especially concerning to me because of those English speaking friends, all are now single.  Upon explaining to them why I came to Norway (for study and for my Norwegian GF) they all gave the same rueful, patronising “just you wait, you are fresh off the boat” smirk  that suggests to me that NESMS surplus has a sad subplot, namely that the relationships that bring NESM  here never work out.   This article seeks to offer a hypothesis on why so many men and not women move to Norway for their Kjaereste.
        After putting the question to my friends, colleagues and classmates a number of possible explanations were proffered (all agreed that there was an NESM surplus) .  NESM’s themselves generally suggested that it was because “Scandinavian women love British men and Scandinavian women are hot” meanwhile Norwegian men suggested it was because British women were “fucking disgusting”.  I couldn’t find a NESF to ask (you see!)  but a few Norwegian females suggested that Norwegian men “Just like to fuck around”.  While obviously these views were  biased, based on lazy stereotyping and in the case of British women downright offensive that did not necessarily mean that they were wrong.  In fact while each different, these explanations could be mutually complimentary.
        After a little bit of research (5minutes on Google ) I came across an article in the Guardian about; a dating website for the beautiful dickheads in the world who are sick of having to filter through ugly people on regular dating websites. only allow you on the site if you are judged attractive enough by the existing members, based on photographs potential members submit to the site.  The results were revealing, 76% of Norwegian females were accepted, the highest in the world, while just  15% of British females were deemed suitably beautiful.  If anywhere close to correct then this could be potentially enlightening regarding the NESM surplus in Norway. Graphically it might look something like below

I would like to say these graphs were hastily mocked up in a mattter of minutes like they appear to be but the sad truth is these crappy graphs took me bloody ages

Actually this graph is wrong, it should say 85% “less so”

        Were this correct, what would be the possible effects?  First, a scarcity of beautiful women in a given country would likely cause fierce competition among men for their love, time and vaginas, forcing them to develop extra skills or talents used to win and woo the domestic girls’ hearts.
        These skills,  in Australia for example, might take the form of big muscles to show that you can hunt, gather and defend said women, or in more developed countries; social skills like charm and wit to entertain her.  Consequently if a man is fortunate enough to win the heart of an attractive girl in the UK he is likely to be delighted and try to hang on to her for as long as possible, for the opportunity cost of losing her is high – he will likely have to wait a long time or possibly eternity until he gains a similarly hot girl.
        The inverse is true in Norway.  The Norwegian man has an abundance of beautiful women to choose from; apparently more than any other country.  As a consequence the Norwegian male is complacent and lazy, he has no need to develop courtship skills nor to worry much about suffering a hot woman drought between relationships.  He knows that if he dumps or is dumped by one aesthetically excellent female, the opportunity cost is negligible as another will (quite literally) be waiting around the corner.
        On the other side of the coin, because they are so rare and sought after, the few beautiful British women gets fussy and big headed, they expect more and more from their male suitors and take for advantage of their privileged position.   These girls are generally high maintenance, annoying and frankly too much effort to bother dating, let alone invite back home for the Norwegian male.
        Meanwhile, back in Norway the beautiful Norwegian woman, ignorant of her beauty and used to being messed around by complacent Norwegian men, is particularly susceptible to the charms of NESPs and their willingness to commit to serious relationships and even emigrate to be with them.  This willingness to emigrate is one of the solutions available to the British man tired of their country’s attractiveness deficit, the other of course is to significantly lower their standards.
        This hypothesis explains the NESM Surplus as a function of the relative aesthetics of Norwegian and British women and its subsequent effect upon male and female behaviour, tastes and skillsets.  This pattern I think is increased by other factors, namely ease of communication (norwegian’s speak excellent English so its natural that they’d look to English speakers first) and proximity;  the UK after all is just one 20euro Ryanair “flight” away. I’m not saying that my hypothesis is correct or even close to the truth, its merely speculation that on the surface at least seems potentially compelling.I would like to say at this point  that I am open to a number of critiques, most obviously  that of statistical rigour; study based on statistics taken from and with observations on a sample the size of your exended friendship group is unlikely to win any awards for reliability.   However, there  is one obvious  criticism I would like to pre-empt and  refute now , the accusation of misogyny:WHAT ABOUT MALE ATTRACTIVENESS!!
        The women shout.  Surely that matters right?  Well ladies I have deliberately neglected male physical appearance due to the 3million times per minute variations on the following theme is claimed by womankind around the world: Looks aren’t important for me – its personality that counts 
        Given that only 12% of men from the UK  made the cut and their inflated presence in Norway, I guess that in the case of the Norwegian woman, it may well be true.

About Paul David Beaumont

Occasional journalist, part-time socialist & full time International Relations PhD student. Available for hire - but never in the morning. Academia page:
This entry was posted in Notes on Norway and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Norway’s Native English Speaking Man Surplus

  1. Tuti says:

    Hmmm, while this might be true for British people, I have noticed that many Norwegian men are married to other foreigners: thai, russian and others. Many Norwegian men I have spoken to said that Norwegian women were hight maintenance and very bossy ( a stereotype I guess).I agree that Norwegian women are very pretty and attractive but they tend to have one night stands just as much as the guys do so I do not understand what they are complaining about. I have moved here for my boyfriend.

  2. Scandinavian women love British men…Norwegian men “Just like to fuck around”.
    Seriously? British men are angry, red-faced creatures in ill-fitting sports clothing (despite not having indulged in sport since leaving school without any qualifications); British men irritatingly quote Monty Python irritatingly (the double “irritatingly” is to indicated that the fact that they do it is irritating and the manner in which they do it is irritating); British men pride themselves on their ability to drive; British men give loutish renditions of “I Love You Baby”; British men see destroying renaissance sculpture as a sensible reaction to England being knocked out of the World Cup; British men are “proud to be British” without ever being able to explain what “being British” means”; British men are a shower of cunts. I don’t think Scandinavian women love us. I don’t imagine that when Scandinavian women engage in delicate masturbatory strokings that images of Bernard Manning, John Prescott, or Chris Moyles flit through their minds. As to the comparison with the promiscuous nature of Norwegian chaps this is odd. British men would fuck around like Bonobo apes pumped with viagra and Red Bull, if only they had the opportunity. The conclusion is therefore that Scandinavian women are attracted to British men because British men are too ugly to be unfaithful. So, like women writing to death row inmates on the basis that the only time that those in prison will be unfaithful is with rugged men in shower blocks, the Scandinavian women resign themselves to British men.

  3. Alex D says:

    [warning: pseudo-intellectual waffle ahead]

    Mate, I’d add a few more qualifications to your inferences in general, and make explicit the “at the margin of the distribution” interpretation that you presumably assume the reader is intelligent enough to appreciate (and without which the generalisations would be a tad crude, to say the least) but the provocative social dynamics that you hypothesise seem entirely consistent with the evidence as you present it (although that doesn’t mean that it is ‘good’ that you’ve publically expressed this possible truth – certain nationalities may indeed find it a bit upsetting, especially on a naive interpretation!)

  4. Chrissy Anne says:

    Though the facts on that dating site are interesting to read, from personal experience I have to disagree with the overall point here, I am one of those British females marrying said Norwegian in Norway and down the road lives a friend of mine (Also from England) living with her Norwegian partner, two streets over lives an American girl married to her Norwegian partner…You can see my point here. Perhaps you just aren’t finding these women around you but I know of many couples with English women and Norwegian men and I only know of one (Two if you include yourself.) that is the other way around.

    • Chrissy, I think I have an explanation for our different empirics on the foreigner imbalance. I investigated your blog (very nice btw) and discovered that you live in a “tiny Norwegian village”. I live in Oslo. I don’t know if you were counting a lot of friends in Oslo, I have heard a few people say that there is a surplus of women in Oslo because they move to the city in disproportionate numbers compared to the men. I don’t know if this is true but it might explain why your village is full of Norwegian men with foreign girls and explain why Oslo has the inverse. Unfortunately it also undermines my attractiveness hypothesis – basically looks becomes a red herring, when Norwegians need a mate and can’t find one in Norway you import from any country that isn’t Sweden.

  5. ikkenorsk says:

    with the risk of jumping into this conversation late (i am american, so i suppose that is to be expected), i might suggest, with little to no empirical data to support, that while norwegian men are attractive (perhaps empirically? i lack the beautifulpeople,com opinion on this matter and leave verification to the professionals), their slightly less forward approach toward dating/fornication might lead foreign women elsewhere. i would be curious to see the percentage of british (or american/canadian for that matter) females who have shacked up with “warm climate” mates, given these men’s (potentially highly suspect) surpluses of verbal affirmation. i refrain from drawing further conclusions (except to myself, of course), but will confess that norwegian males’ simultaneous attractiveness and elusiveness has ranked, albeit low, among the deciding factors of my moving to this country. whistles and grunts just aren’t my style.

  6. Mia says:

    I think the answer to this is very simple and dull. Women just tend to be more family-centred, more attached to their parents and siblings, and the idea of moving to another country for a guy does not seem worth leaving the immediate family behind. Having lived in two foreign countries myself, I’ve noticed how the women living with their foreign spouses abroad seem to have one thing in common. They have nothing to look back on, they come from broken families or do not have any siblings. Or alternatively, like myself, are struggling to come to terms with the fact that their sisters are so far away and they can’t meet their mother regularly, which might eventually lead to the couple moving back to the home country of the woman.

    I also think, even though I must apologise beforehand for the generalisation, that men generally do not find the lack of communication in a relationship as problematic as women. Why is it that there aren’t throngs of Western women marrying men from Thailand or Russia? Because we like to talk and discuss and have long conversations about everything and the language barrier is certainly not a minor obstacle.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Another NESF (Brit) that moved to Oslo for her Norwegian boyfriend here…

  8. Funkiem says:

    A viking came and took me away…

  9. Lærerinne says:

    More! 🙂

  10. Popsickle says:

    Very interesting read.Of course we all have different experiences and different social groups have different behavior.

  11. Andrew cote says:

    The only other canadian I’ve met here is another canadian guy who moved here for his girlfriend. *(do we count as NESM’s?)

  12. Kat says:

    Maybe they hear your accent and run away from you?

  13. Wonderful post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?

    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

  14. Dalia Berland says:

    I’m a Norwegian woman and also a scientist. The argument is flawed. You have not considered that most women left single to date and willing to use online service happen to be Norwegian versus most beautiful British women perhaps being snagged by men in England or unlikely to date online. A dating site is not representative of a population I’m afraid.

  15. Gillian Attwood says:

    I am a British lady looking for a Norwegian man the men that I have seen online thus far are very unattractive even a paper bag would not improve their looks ,Maybe I should try Sweden!

  16. thyra10 says:

    So why do Norwegian women leave their NESMs? Could it be because they realize that he only picked them for their looks? That would be my guess after reading this blog post.

    (Non-Norwegian woman who moved to Norway to be with a Norwegian guy because he was kind, smart and funny. His good looks weren’t even an added bonus because … who cares?)

  17. Anna says:

    Quite late to the conversation, but would also be interested in learning more why so many of the relationships with NESMs fail. What do the men do in Norway, do they all find jobs in their respective fields?

  18. Good banter. You should have an affiliate link for flights because i am booking one to see for myself

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s