Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sweden Part Deux: Lecherous Norweigan Dude

So, we last parted on the frizz-inducing patio overlooking the tennis court where George Bush the elder once played...

Finally it was time for dinner to be served. Well, I'm just a naive idiot in not realizing I wouldn't be seated next to my husband. But, not only was I not next to him (or even within speaking distance of any of the 4 people from his company) but I was literally at one end of the table and he was at the other. WTH people?

The hostess gave some speech about it being Swedish custom to mix up the seating so you get to meet people. Hmm, wasn't aware that was known as a Swedish thing necessarily...

So, there were 18 of us and the dining table was just wide enough that you could not converse with the people across from you. It was kind of like chocolate behind glass--you can easily see the treat but cannot get to it.

I was seated with an older gentleman from Norway on my right and air on my left. I much preferred the company of the air, and as the night dragged on, I kept trying to unobstrusively scoot my chair more to the air side.

He seemed pleasant enough in the beginning, but I shortly sussed out that he was some kind of embassy-hopping gigolo. He was quick to inform me that he has now been to dinner at 5 different embassy residences (his favorite was the residence of the British ambassor because it was the most beautiful.) He is one of the owners of a steamship company and blah blah blah. I did my job and held up my end of the conversation but I didn't retain much of what he blathered on about.

All the while becoming more and more alarmed as he had literally 4 glasses of wine before the main course was even served. But hey, since he also ate 8 pieces of bread (I am not kidding) I figured that was sopping up all the alcohol.

The appetizer was delicious: Smoked salmon with creme fraiche (fancy sour cream) with a fried potato slice garnish. Good thing I like seafood because dinner was halibut (absolutely fabulous) with one of those cute little baby carrots that still has the top on, an artichoke heart, some unidentifible yellowish long rectangular vegetable?, and cream with a little bit of mashed potatoes added and a whole lot of garlic.

Usually, I don't eat anything with garlic at these type of things so as not to offend my dinner companions. Screw it. I practically licked it off the plate in hopes of driving Mr. Norway away. As dinner progressed, so did his wine consumption: At least 2 full glasses a red wine to go with the 4 glasses of white he'd already had, plus I don't know how many cocktails beforehand.

This caused him to begin placing his hand on my arm, or uh, the vicinity of my arm as he seemed to miss quite often and brush my boob or thigh. I kept looking down at my cleavage (although not as much as he did) to ensure the sticky tape was still in place.

Then he proceeded to tell me how he was the president of some stag club (no women allowed!) that got together once a month to get drunk and tell dirty jokes. Fascinating dinner conversation, I was so impressed. The name was something like The Cod Club. Um, what do you say to that??

Thank the Lord he would also talk occasionally with his dinner companion to his right (remember, I had air on my other side which was just fine). She was a lady from Hong Kong now living in Minnesota and she, too, seemed normal at first.

Now, she said several times she was from Hong Kong, but Mr. Norway somehow missed that (or was just an idiot) and kept referring to her as Chinese. At one point, we were talking about Las Vegas (Ms. Hong Kong saying how everything including the women were fake, me commenting on how extensive the shopping options are, Mr. Norway wondering if you could just "buy," so to speak, a woman off the street), when Mr. Norway turns to my cleavage and blurts out, "You know, the Chinese are big gamblers."

Seriously, the high point of the night. Ms. Hong Kong glares at him and says huffily, "I am NOT Chinese." You go, girl.

Dessert sucked big time. Some pear-flavored "froth," a 1 inch square of dry, tasteless sponge cake, and 1 whole teaspoon of pear (again!) sorbet.

Finally dinner was over and I could escape Mr. Norway. Then it was coffee in another room where I could actually stand next to my husband.

The next morning, husband announced that if I still wanted to replace the wooden balustrades in our staircase with decorative iron ones, I could go ahead and do that. Uh huh, that's what I thought.


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