The quote on the headline is straight from my Mum’s mouth. That was her reaction to the delivery I got on Women’s Day in March; a bouquet of flowers and a fluffy bunny. The gift was obviously from my boyfriend but the fact that the card was not signed and because he happens to be a Finnish man, my mum doubted that it could be from him. Because Finnish men do not buy flowers unless it’s your birthday or if they have done something really bad.
At that point I had to correct her, though; he’s a Finnish-Swede, there’s a difference ;)
The same thing happened again few weeks ago when my boyfriend was once again on the other side of the world on a business trip: I got a call that there was a package waiting for me in the office lobby. I waltzed myself downstairs and found a huge bouquet of my favourite flowers accompanied by a bottle of champagne and a slightly more costly packet of handmade chocolates on the receptionist’s desk. She laughed at my shock, and to be honest, I wish I had a picture of my expression then because I really didn’t expect that.
There was no reason for such attention (my name day went by already a month ago), and the comments I got from my colleagues varied between
“Right then, what has he done this time?”
“So, that must have been a hell of a row, he he!”
Now, I have never questioned the motives of my boyfriend sending me flowers or surprising me, but since there was no special occasion this time, and because I got these comments from every direction, I found myself puzzled by the time I got home from work. Could something really have happened on his business trip this time?
But I spent some time analyzing his past and recent behavior and also asked him straight, and I came to the conclusion that he just happens to be smarter than the average Finnish man. Because he actually is ;)
In all seriousness, though, it is a very stereotypical Finnish thing that most often women get flowers if something’s wrong. I have dozens of practical examples of this from close relations. One of the best ones being a relation who at his early adolescence robbed the garden of Turku Cathedral on his way to apologize to his then girlfriend for his previous bad behaviour at 4am on a Sunday. Because it was surely a holy tulip!
So, it often seems that displays of affection require an increase on the level alcohol usage and/or a great experience of regret. The other option is the opposite end where a man never buys you flowers because they are a waste of money. They die soon anyway. Of this I have personal experience:
I had equipped my ex with the knowledge that I wanted a DVD for my 19th birthday present. In the morning I asked him where my present was and he said he got me nothing because he didn’t know what to get. I arranged a scene and sent him to the store to get me the biggest bunch of flowers he could find. And then I went to University with those flowers and had to grind my teeth while everybody marveled at what a wonderful boyfriend I had.
Now, of course I can’t generalize and say that all Finnish men are like that because that would be a straight lie. But having lived in and around Eastern Europe for the past 5 years, where gifting flowers is part of everyday life, I find it hard to comprehend that incapability of a lot of Finnish men showing their appreciation for their significant other just because. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.
A bouquet of flowers is the smallest thing but it brings great joy to most women. Particularly when one receives flowers for no special reason, but just because the other one has had the actual thought of cheering you up. Or why bother with flowers; showing appreciation can be as small a thing as washing the dishes for a change.
That particular bouquet and bottle of champagne was indeed sent to me just because my boyfriend wanted to cheer up my Thursday and remind me of the fact that the week is almost over. This was super-sweet of him because I still struggle greatly with my job and there are more days of misery than there are of… Actually there are never days of achievement and cheer in this job. But the fact that he has spared a thought for me on his busy business trip means the world to me.
Perhaps (= hopefully) I am of such an old generation that the generations after me have already adopted this pan-European habit of showing affection to their significant others without shame or an increase on the level of alcohol having been used.
The point is that taking the people around you into account and showing them that you care is always only positive for you as well as the receiver. So why not do it a bit more. Can there be too much affection?