That Nordic Cast: The Quest For The Bronze Godsby Shawn Baker
“All stereotypes turn out to be true. This is a horrifying thing about life. All those things you fought against as a youth: you begin to realize they’re stereotypes because they’re true.”
– David Cronenberg
As much as I hate it, I give:
I am a stereotype.
Yes, I have the Viking blood in me, and that carries with it all the leaden, chilly personality attributes you’d expect.
I have zero mid-range in my emotional spectrum, so I’m either white hot or ice cold about everything. I constantly ruminate about the meaning(less) of life, and ponder how I’ll die, hopefully on a battlefield torn apart by the dogs of war or self-slain by my own hand when the Huns break through the gate and amass to violate me. I can cry stoically and majestically on cue. I sleep very little, and lightly at that. My ear is automatically tuned to female Scandinavian singers with that gorgeous lilt to their voices that makes them sound like they’re about to burst into tears. When I first beheld Max von Sydow’s grave, sorrowful visage in The Seventh Seal, I thought Wow, I finally know true love. I’m forever in a state of feeling overheated, and could happily sleep in a snow bank like a Newfoundland.
I’m working on accepting all that.
Yes, the Nordic disposition may be a heavy load to bear, but the affect — that sturdy, broad look of the body and noble, well-formed cast of the face — is, I must admit, nice compensation. I lucked out genetically with a natural, easily-maintainable musculature, cool blue eyes, full lips, and baby smooth skin that I never tan because I loathe the sun. A former boyfriend of mine used to playfully handle my wrists and ankles and muse “You have good, thick bones, my fair-haired warrior.” Sure, I get envious of dusky Hungarians and babe-like Italians with facial hair and deep, dark eyes, but at the end of the day, I’m surprisingly OK with being a human icicle.
We Norsemen bring our own charmera to the table.
It could be that I’m just too close to the topic to be objective, but I feel like the Nordic ethnicity has more mythological signifiers attached to it than others do. There are all those great Norse myths full of giants and dragons to draw on. I get the feeling of being displaced in time almost daily — of wanting to just hurl a man over my shoulder instead of chatting him up, of longing to solve my problems at the end of a cleaving blade. To get out and run free.
It must be in the blood. Racial memory.
As a child I always got this giddy urge to fight and plunder when I would read Conan The Barbarian comics, and I have a Cimmerian philosophy wherein I worship no god in particular but sometimes find myself bargaining with the universe with the proviso “If you do not listen, then to Hell with you!” I get easily frustrated with technology and modernity in general, and I swear when I hit my critical mass the urge to grab a spear and drive through the offending object comes over me.
At any rate, the whole cool, distant, aloof blond sex god thing in porn is immortal, and though my eye tends to wander toward swarthier men, even I indulge in a little tundra action when the mood strikes me. If Italians, Spaniards, and Turks are earthy and robust, then Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians are ethereal and sylph-like, and it’s kind of a kick to see a sculpted, grave paleface brought down to earth and laid low with his legs in the air. Scandinavia’s divided in that way, known for its people’s brooding temperament and famed red light districts sex scenes, which basically describes my brain at any given time during the day.
As bunko as the whole Aryan master race thing obviously is, it still doesn’t stop people from believing that there’s some lost valley full of Dolph Lundgrens that pureblood whites are derived from. If Aryans existed, then they would’ve dwelt in what we now call Southern Europe, Persia, and India, meaning they’d have been olive-skinned and dark-haired. Indo-European, really. The mythical blond Atlantean race concept seems to be a mash-up of Helena Blavatsky and H. Rider Haggard — equal parts historical revisionism and wish fulfillment, in the same way that I think that if Jesus existed he probably wouldn’t look like Matt McConaughey after a month without a shave.
It’s fun to imagine in a Yor — The Hunter From The Future sort of way, but really, how many white supremacists, nazis, and Klan grand dragons have you laid eyes on who actually embody that ideal? Blonde women tend to be cast as very mythic and symbolic compared to more earthbound brunettes, and the same is true of Nordic-looking men. They’re embodied as Doc Savage, Flash Gordon, He-Man, or Thor — more G.I. Joes than real world firemen, cops, or private detectives, and in lost worlds, white (and usually British) men solve all the problems. Was anyone especially shocked when it was revealed that Norwegian spree killer Anders Behring Breivik had sought out cosmetic surgery in order to carve himself into the idealized fantasy warrior of his dreams? I imagine that many is the man who goes under the knife with this beauty standard in his mind.
Thor’s hammer is a unwieldy tool indeed, and can blow both ways.