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View Diary: How We Do It Over Here: Iceland vs. America (129 comments)

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  •  Yep. (8+ / 0-)

    Alcohol plays a major social role here.  Despite the cost, people drink a good bit, although generally concentrated on the party nights.  And there's no social stigma to hookups, for either gender, so they're quite common.  Until someone hooks up with the same person several times in a row, wherein they're pretty much de-facto dating and then sleeping with someone else would be frowned upon.

    I think the a lot of the reason alcohol is such a part of the culture is that it's seen as an excuse to do behavior that people would normally be too uncomfortable to do around those they know.  You're almost never surrounded only by strangers here, no matter where you go*+ - there's always at least someone you know when you go out, and odds are, you know a large chunk of the people there.  People are really afraid of embarassing themselves, but if they're drunk, it's seen as an excuse.  So people often don't talk about their feelings in public unless they've had something to drink, don't usually hit on people unless at least a bit drunk, don't generally dance unless at least a bit drunk, etc.  It's still kind of weird seeing some awesome band rocking their heart out on stage and everyone forming a ring 3 meters from the stage and just standing there, hardly moving... then applauding and cheering like crazy at the end of each song, but returning to a stone-faced silence before the next song.  You don't want to be the first performer up on stage!  You want someone else to "hita upp" for you while the audience has a bit to drink.  But then late at night the party scene is pretty crazy, people go pretty wild.

    *+ - Random example, I was hitchhiking, coming back from Borgarfjörður Eystri (about as far from Reykjavík as you can get), and chatted with the nice couple of sheep ranchers who picked me up.  I mentioned that I was a computer programmer and they said, "Oh, do you know Smári McCarthy?"  Yeah, he's a FB friend....  ;)  It's that sort of place.

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