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When the Expectation Becomes the Norm

Nour Qassim Derweesh - Authornour.qassimderweesh@osqledaren.se

Sandra Kåhre - Photographersandra.kahre@osqledaren.se

Most meals can be ready in 30 minutes or less, so no matter how much time you have, you can enjoy a home cooked meal prepared in no time! Go to hellofresh.com and use promocode “2SAMHET” to get 16 free meals and…

Okay, that’s enough. I've gotten one too many HelloFresh ads, so I might as well try it. I mean, people keep raving about how great it is and I don’t particularly love cooking all the time so it’s only logi—the smallest portion size they offer is for two people?…are you fucking kidding me?!

In Swedish there’s a word called “tvåsamhet”. If you translate it, Google will tell you that it means “duality”. And it does, technically speaking. Tvåsamhet is much more than that though, it embodies the concept of being together as two (två), the very concept our society has been built upon for thousands of years. Tvåsamhet is a pillar of monogamy, which is in large part still the majority of the world’s societal structure.

As most of you know, it hasn’t always been like this. I mean, the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” comes from somewhere, right? Historians date the start of monogamy back to our primate days, when we changed from “promiscuous mating” to a more structured mating system. If we combine all that history with the various religions and practices around the world, it’s not so difficult to imagine why the idea of tvåsamhet is so central to our lives.

At the end of the day tvåsamhet is nothing more than the expectation of monogamy in our everyday life. We even have the word sambo in Swedish which refers to two people in a partnership living together. You get the idea I’m sure.

If we broaden our horizons and think about how every other aspect of society is connected to tvåsamhet and monogamy, you’re bound to find a pattern. A popular one is the idea of “The One'' existing for each and everyone of us.

We are all apparently bound to eventually find the right person to spend the rest of our monogamous lives with. Tvåsamhet is the end all be all. Most if not all types of media direct us to the idea that tvåsamhet is the end goal. We even have a political party here whose whole ideology revolves around “preserving tvåsamhet”.

There’s of course less serious things connected to tvåsamhet like family discounts, cheaper hotel rooms - how many activities are advertised as things you have to do in a duo (movies, theme parks, museums, vacations)? The expectation of tvåsamhet is so ingrained in our society that even services like HelloFresh don’t offer a singles’ option! Like what the fuck, why?

We can even ignore the aspect of “end all be all''. Let’s assume that you, the reader, is going to end up in a tvåsamhet like the majority of the world. Completely fine, but what about student life? A lot of students are single and have no tvåsamhet for the moment - so what if I want to subscribe to HelloFresh? Food for two people doesn't fit me. This is one of the less major examples, I can of course eat the second portion for lunch. But you get the gist!

There are serious effects to all of this too: think about the housing situation in Stockholm for example. There’s simply not enough places to live for the people that live here, and that crisis has extended to the student housing crisis. Now, what if you’re in a tvåsamhet? The two of you can separately stand in line for the student housing queue despite planning to live together. The probability that you find something is greater when you are two people searching for separate places at the same time. There it is again, tvåsamhet giving an unfair advantage.

What’s the end goal here, reader? I don’t necessarily want to see people who abide by tvåsamhet be punished, but rather that the visibility of something other than the choice of tvåsamhet be elevated. For singles’ sake, HelloFresh! Offer a meal choice for 1 person - that’s visibility.

Reader, I’m not pissed, I’m just frustrated and tired. Life is hard as it is, should tvåsamhet really have so much influence over how I can live my life? Do I really have to eat the same thing twice in a row?

Publicerad: 2022-12-23

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Ansvarig utgivare: Benjamin Javitz
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