In general, Danes are not gossips, particularly about the sex lives of people they know.
It’s partly the Danish fetish for privacy, partly the basic acceptance of all things sexual, partly the lack of naughty excitement about all things sexual.
Danish politicians, for example, don’t have sex scandals. French politicians have sex scandals. American politicians have sex scandals. Danish politicians have tax scandals.
They could be bedding down every night with a chimpanzee and the Danish media wouldn’t touch it.
This essay is from a series I wrote shortly after I arrived in Denmark. The line drawings are my own.
To truly know a country, you must get to know its people. Not just ordinary people, the butcher and the baker and the sulking lady at the sausage stand, but its famous people.
On this basis, I am integrating very badly. I simply cannot tell Danish celebrities apart. Of course, the Royal Family and their troubles are familiar to anyone who stands in line for groceries, but the others all blend together for me in a sea of teeth and hair.
It’s confusing and isolating, being outside the local currents of fame. Magazines run in-depth profiles of Danish actresses disclosing their new, intimate secrets when I don’t even know their old, intimate secrets. The Big Brother celebrity house looked exactly like any other house to me. And out in public, I have often witnessed the Danish people around me are getting very, very excited by someone who looks to me like a well-dressed bus driver.
I’ve tried to catch up. Recently, I did what thousands of Danes do every week – I bought one of the supermarket gossip magazines. (At least, I hear that thousands of Danes buy supermarket gossip magazines every week. I never see them reading them. In cafes and other places where people can see them, they always seem to be reading the very smallest print in the highbrow newspaper Information.)