Another week, another Scandinavian lifestyle concept to really rub salt in the wound of how poorly you're looking after yourself compared to our friends in the Nord. Come now, don't be a spöillespörte; it wouldn't be a Friday on the internet without one.
Another week, another Scandinavian lifestyle concept to really rub salt in the wound of how poorly you’re looking after yourself compared to our friends in the Nord. Come now, don’t be a spöillespörte; it wouldn’t be a Friday on the internet without one.
First there was hygge, the Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”. Pronounced “ugh”, hygge was on the Oxford Dictionaries’ 2016 ‘word of the year’ shortlist, and had something to do with buying a great deal of potpourri, loading up one of YouTube’s many eight-hour crackling open fire videos and building a pillow fort with your dog.
Then the floodgates opened. There was lagom (Swedish, something about moderation), koselig (Norwegian, more cosy), famntag natur (Swedish, going outside) and, who can forget, götchä (team effort, meaning ‘neatly rebranding a vague, cute old word we’ve had for years in a way that will trick British interiors brands into promoting us.’)
But bear with us, because the latest self-care phenomenon, this time from Finland, is one even the most un-hygge among us can subscribe to:
Päntsdrunk. It means drinking at home, alone, in your underwear. And that’s it.
There’s every chance you’ve already engaged with the concept, or planned to this evening. In that case, congratulations, you’re living the Finnish way. In Finland, where they call it kalsarikänni, the idea is so accepted (promoted, even) that the country’s ministry of foreign affairs mentions it in an animated guide to the country’s culture.
“The feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear – with no intention of going out,” it says. Think of Homer Simpson and Jim Royle as päntsdrunk pioneers.
(The next word in the same guide, incidentally, is joulutorttu, meaning “the feeling of having one too many.”)
Päntsdrunk is now being explained to Westerners in a new book, Päntsdrunk: The Finnish Path to Relaxation, by real-life Finnish author Miska Rantanen. In it, he says the Finns began drinking at home in their smalls in order to cope with the long, dark Nordic winters.
During those frigid months, no right-minded local can be bothered to put 43 layers on and go out to see friends, so they stay at home, with one layer on, and drink. If it works for the Finns, who the UN recently announced had toppled their Norwegian neighbours to be the world’s happiest people, it can work for us.
You might have found hygge too smug. You might have been confused by lagom. You probably never bothered clicking on the thing about famntag natur. But give päntsdrunk a go. Scandi living might be for you after all.