One of my favorite little quirks about Swedish newspapers is, undoubtedly, the Undenbedes ads. There is an entire section of Swedish newspapers devoted to Swedish people saying things like ‘Do not show up at my house on my birthday, I will be in Thailand’ or more simply ‘Please don’t come to my house on my birthday.’
I was afraid, with the arrival of the internet, this mysterious section of the newspaper would disappear. But so far, it has not.
The undenbedes ads make me wonder all kinds of things like:
Who are these mysterious people who show up uninvited and without calling on your birthday? Where do I get me some?
Who would show up uninvited to your house on your birthday and NOT know that you have booked a birthday trip to Thailand?
Do they not call their friends and find out what time the birthday party is, but do check the newspaper to see if a party is on at Sven Svensson’s house?
More importantly, would they leave the gift on your doorstep?
Is this a senior citizen group activity? Aka –‘What are we going to do this weekend?’ ‘Wait, isn’t Sven turning 87 this Sunday? I bet he will have some cake!’ ‘Oh, good idea Inga, let’s order a taxi and invite ourselves to his party’ ‘Brilliant, then we can save all of our cinnamon buns for the weekday fikas instead’ ‘And we can regift this old embroidered wall hanging and pretend like we made it and didn’t buy it off of Ingrid’s estate sale’
I hope one day I have so many Swedish friends that I will need to uninvite them to my birthday party via the local newspaper. Oh who am I kidding, I cannot resist a great birthday party and would be thrilled if any Swede showed up at my doorstep without 2 weeks of advance planning
But can I also admit that I believe there is a large group of Swedish thieves that thrive on the undenbedes ads as well? ‘Hey look, Joakim von partypooper is going to Thailand for his birthday. According to the registry his birthday is Nov. 5th, he lives at 4 fågelgatan, and his income is xyz. Looks like we have a place to be on Nov 5th, don’t we den of thieves?’
So, um, you are all welcome to my place on my big day as I will most certainly not be in Thailand.