Faculty house talk about Iceland

Today I gave a lecture at something the folks at PLU call the Faculty House, which is actually a private house where the faculty members often gather to have lunch during the weekday and beer after work on Fridays. Once a month on Wednesdays, they ask a faculty member to talk about something that might be of general interest, and I was asked to talk about Iceland. It was only a 20 minute talk, and I mostly gave my opinion on when to go, what to see, and where to stay (basic recommendation: Sept./April, see the churches and lighthouses, stay in a hotel in the countryside).

Some people in the audience had been to Iceland before, including a geologist, the university pastor, and the university archivist, and the latter had roundly disagreed with my assessment that the Blue Lagoon was over-rated. As they were in the midst of eating lunch, I told them I wouldn't go into details about why I don't recommend the Blue Lagoon, but I did hint that it had to do with hygiene.

Another person in the audience had told me a few days earlier that he was looking forward to hearing my talk, and getting some hints about good bars to go to in Iceland. So I think I rather disappointed him as well, in my description of Reykjavík nightlife. I started off positive enough, talking about how it doesn't get started until midnight and goes until 4am or so.

But then I got to what I really wanted to say, which was basically to protest the now infamous "Have a one night stand in Iceland" ad campaign. Now, I do not consider myself a sexual prude, and there is nothing wrong with two mutually consenting adults enjoying each other physically, experimenting and pushing the boundaries, letting loose and living out fantasies. All of that, however, has to be, in my mind, a means to an end, and not the end in and of itself. The purpose of all of that expression ought to be genuine, intimate, and evolving knowledge of another person, and oneself. The opportunity to get to experience another human being--naked, vulnerable, joyous, unguarded--is sacred.

For people to go into nightclubs with no expectation of forming an honest bond with another person, with no capacity to allow that knowledge to grow, that to me is just wrong. One night stands happen by accident, when two people give it a try and both agree it didn't work out, they shouldn't be premeditated. I've known Icelandic women who meet some American at a dance club, and honestly expect that the guy will keep in touch with them, even go and try to visit them in the States, only to find out their intention was never anything other than to play a funny game. 

Well, anyhow, the point of my blog is not to lambaste some person who fell for a silly marketing ploy and didn't have the strength of character to transform it into something more.

My point is to say that after the lecture, I got some good questions about the history of Iceland and Iceland's economic reform.


Jono said…
Sexual escapades are more for the young who are just trying to get an understanding of how things work. Most get it out of their system at some point, but I am sure some (men mostly) never do. Long term relationships, whatever their construct, are much more satisfying in the longer term. There are a number of people in Iceland I would like to meet that I only know through correspondence. Hopefully on the next trip...

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