Avkastning is Swedish for Romance

(And before you Google-Translate-Happy folks correct me, yes, avkastning is actually Swedish for returns. But the reference will make sense if you just stick with me…)

Being in the appropriate setting absolutely influences my underlying mood and mindset when it comes to just about anything. When events happen outside of their expected context, it can be either pleasantly surprising or awkward; an enjoyable juxtaposition or a jarring contradiction.


When it comes to dating, settings and expectations have an extra strong impact on my reactions. They help me internally define what I should be prepared to deal with.

With romance, I have always felt like I have an on/off switch.

I am either in an “open to looooooove” mental state, or I am in professional-business* mode. Now, changing gears is not particularly difficult, but my overall romantic awareness may be lacking if I wasn’t already of that mindset.

*Not this kind of business.


Bars and nightclubs… getting hit on there is pretty typical. As previously discussed, I am not shocked to get hollered at on the street, no matter how ineffective it may be.

It’s not an unheard of situation to be approached at the park or while working at a volunteer event. I have heard tales of people meeting at the grocery store or at the gym. These can even be GOOD places to meet someone. Shared activities, a non-threatening location, and easy outs if one of you isn’t feeling it.

I actually dated a guy that I met on a street corner. It was during a St. Patrick’s Day parade, so the whole street corner thing hopefully doesn’t sound nefarious. It wasn’t.

I think most women carry an internalized radar, alerting them that they are in a higher “potential to be approached” zone.* Just one of those awareness things, neither good nor bad.

*Where things like this happen on the regular.


Places I don’t expect to get hit on?

Let’s see; waiting for jury duty, clothes shopping, on a plane or train, at the dentist or post office or bank. Basically anywhere having to do with money or health or travel is not conducive for centering my mindset on Romance.

Another unexpected place to get hit on? The Ikea Returns Department.

Yep, that happened. I pulled number 273 while he was 276 and the line was squarely stuck at 264 for a solid twenty minutes.  Long enough for us to chat and set up a coffee date before my number came up.

And this is where he went just a little bit wrong. (Yes I know, ladies are impossible and judgmental and hypercritical, etc, etc. Not the point at this moment.)

I should probably be flattered that he wanted to keep chatting for a bit after we had made plans, but we were still in the Ikea Returns Department. I had other plans to get back to and was also aware that all our fellow returnees were watching our little tete-a-tete.

Not a whole lot of ready entertainment while waiting to exchange a SMÖRBOLL.

*Potential for awkward conversation increasing exponentially….


Here is how initial meet-cutes are supposed to go, guys. Make a connection, talk enough to get a feel for each other, get her digits and set up a date, and get out. Save some mystery and conversation for that date you just scored.

I may love me some Ikea, and I really really do, but the whole industrial-chic, Swedish flag infused warehouse vibe just isn’t my idea of romance.

I don’t want to have our first date right then and there in Ikea.

Perhaps continuing our conversation over Swedish Meatballs would have been the greatest date ever in all of the history of life. Sonnets and ballads would be composed about our sweeping, epic tale of true love. Maybe in a year we would get married where we met, surrounded by SMYCKA, FYRKANTIG, ÅTRÅVÄRD and our loved ones. My custom dress would have been the talk of the town for years.

You may say that I am not a romantic. That I am not spontaneous enough. But that’s not really true. I have been. I can be. Deep down, I am.

I was just out of context.

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