Monday, April 18, 2011

Swedish Rules: The Sun is Out! Take Off All Your Clothes!

There is no doubt about it – spring in Sweden is a wonderful time of year. After months of darkness, dampness, and cold, Sweden errupts in green. The clouds clear the sky. And we are reminded that there is indeed still a sun at the center of our universe.

And let me tell you – I think even the newest Swede on the block runs out of the house to celebrate.

I get that this time of year, you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. I do, too.

But already, I can tell you, my neighbors are out sunbathing in their skivvies.

Maybe it hit 70 degrees today – tops. But probably more like 65. After work I spent the day walking around in a nice lightweight long sleeve shirt and a pair of pants. It was comfortable. I could even roll up my sleeves after awhile. But I didn't decide to dig out my bathingsuit from the storage box in the attic.

But the people living two buildings down from me? They were using the age old trick of lying around in your bathing suit next to a well-positioned wall, to limit the wind. It's ambitious. It's brave. And to me, it is still one of those crazy 'assimilation into Swedish culture' steps I am not willing to take.

Many of my Swedish friends say crazy things this time of year like 'We don't need sunscreen, the sun isn't that strong up north.”

Whatever. I turn into a lobster if I use anything less than SPF 50 practically anywhere in the world in June. So I'm not taking any chances. I'll be that super-pale woman on the beach come June (if we manage to have any beach weather days in June) and I'll be OK with that.  


  1. Yeah, I knew it was spring when all my neighbors were in their yards in their underpants!

  2. A few years ago I saw a couple of oncologists talking about this on tv. According to them, sunburn is the natural warning signal that you have been in the sun too much and sunblocking ointments only disables this warning. They don't protect against dangerous radiation.

    The correct way to act was to go inside when you start feeling discomfort, or wear clothes.