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Nielsen Rating (or the wrong place to make male friends)

17:48 : I arrive at Weis Stue in the center of Ribe. I’m wearing a tan blazer, a blue neck tie with a Wall Street dimple in the knot just like I learned how to make when I worked down there.

17:52 : I sit down with 3 gentlemen, 2 of whom are quite advanced around 80. The 3rd was around 50. We three sit before the doors to the dinner meeting open.

17:53 – 17:54 : Same as above only bits of small talk.

17:55 – 18:03 : a gradual flow of elderly men arrive, shake hands with each member already seated, mumble their names to me, as I am the “new guy”.

18:04 : Ole Hansen, the president enters with a notebook and a carousel for slides. I note that he is the only elderly man with ebbing hair. The rest have full bodied heads of hair. This impresses me and gives me a deep pain in my stomach, as I have already begun to recede. Perhaps I will some day become president of the Ribe Rotary Club. Perhaps the recession is a symbol of wisdom. Wisdom is the strongest criterion for baldness. I mean baldness is the strongest criterion for wisdom. Actually I mean that wisdom and baldness together are strong criteria when vying for a nomination for the Rotary Club presidency. The polls are right. Age connotes wisdom. Bald is the new brain.

18:08 : A large man wearing fat framed glasses in a navy suit holding an hp Pavilion and an electronic projector enters and introduces himself as Hans to each and every man with a handshake. Disappointment covers Ole’s face upon seeing the laptop and projector, rendering his carousel useless. Ole goes flaccid.

18:12 : A tall man with a Freddy Mercury mustache gaily claps his hands Sevillano style and an ancient man grumbles, “it’s time to go eat”.

18:15 : The tall, hairy upper lipped man introduces the evening’s courses and then takes a seat.

18:16 – 18:58 : Conversation. Confusion.

19:01 : Ole says a few words and introduces the evening’s guests, Hans and myself. I am merely an observer, but the crowd needs to know what the hell a yankee is doing amongst vikings.

19:03 : A man gets up and reads an excruciatingly long essay about How men should behave.

19:17 – 20:12 : Hans Nielsen speaks about his childhood playing handball and football → to his rise as master butcher → all the way to his role as commander and chief of Un-named supermarket in Ribe.

20:13 : Mr. Nielsen asks the audience to ask questions. Nobody speaks. Tentative applauds meet a frowning and defeated Hans.

20:22 : I go elsewhere and get a Guiness before heading home.

Nielsen Rating (or the wrong place to make male friends)


Ribe, Denmark

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