So you´ve heard about kalsarikännit. This is the next level.
I´m writing this post in English, because we Finns already know all I am going to say, although only some of us understand enough as to take pride on it.
#Kalsarikännit has been somewhat trending in Twitter ever since the Finland Promotion Board published the emoticon of it in its This is Finland -page.
I am not a fan of emojis, but whatever promotes Finland or our wonderful language, I can dig.
Recent story on Chigaco Tribune Feb 16 has done another good job in enhancing the visibility of kalsarikännit for the English speaking world.
I was about to forget the topic, but today I stumbled on this article on Facebook. (I don´t want to mention any names, but thanks, Noora, for sharing!), and understood kalsarikännit still needs some clarification.
The definition of kalsarikännit in This is Finland -page goes like this:
”Kalsarikännit= The feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear – with no intention of going out.”
I´d like to add to the above, that I would not classify kalsarikännit a feeling, but a state. (I´d also remove the dash while at it, after all the not going out is not an afterthought, but an intention.)
The feeling while doing kalsarikännit undestandably varies, depending on who you are, what, and how much you drink, do you actually drink alone or in company, and how life is treating you in general.
Contrary to the common misconception, it is possible to have company while doing kalsarikännit, at your place or theirs. This company´d have to be close friends, of course, preferably of the same sex, and because one is not at one´s best appearence doing kalsarikännit, they maybe should not be potential partners.
Old schoolmates, army buddies, old and established partners, or laid-back relatives all work great for the purpose.
In the age of the social media, you can choose to be social alone if that´s your thing, in the privacy of your home: just open the TV, find a most popular show airing at the moment, and join the party via your favorite social media!
Just as well you can choose not to be social, but lie on the sofa listening your favourite music or playing solitaire, to give out a few suggestions and gudelines here.
I´d like to point out that kalsarikännit is not always planned. A very popular way to go for kalsarikännit is by accident. Can happen to anyone!
One can actually be planning to go out, to meet friends or go to a party, but starts drinking at home, keeping it up until either finds out he´s too drunk to leave the house,
or that he really didnt feel like going in the first place, and most importantly, is having more fun in one´s own company.
What to drink
Beverages that work well are wine (I tend to go for basic reds such as Cabernet, shiraz, and my latest crush Cab. Franc),
scotch (Talisker, Balvenie, Macallan, when I can afford it, which is never, and all that start Glen- something or other),
possibly cider, cocktails are one, albeit unorthodox possibility, even bourbon could work for those with no taste buds – the sky is the limit,
but the classic kalsarikänni beverage is beer.
Ask any Finn. Might be because you can drink it quite a lot without getting wasted.
Finnish beer is very good by the way. I´d drink it if my stomach agreed.
You can choose to eat as well or just stivk to drinking, both are quite acceptable, but you´ll feel better later if you eat something.
Let´s open up on the versatility and flexibility of the Finnish language.
Kalsarikännit is not the greatest word ever, as some poor non-Finnish-speaking individuals claim in Twitter, nor is it the greatest word in the Finnish language: It is ONE of the great words in the Finnish language, there are plenty more, and they don´t all involve getting drunk or being antisocial.
I cannot stress this too much: the Finnish language is one of the most convenient languages what comes to inventing either compound, or totally new words and expressions.
(I am concious of the fact that my knowledge of the languages of the world is limited, and therefore will not claim that my mother tongue is the only such languge.)
The Chigaco Tribune asks of kalsarikännit:
”Is it a noun? A verb? Does one kalsarikannit, or does one take a kalsarikannit? Who cares, frankly — turns out my house has been a temple to kalsarikannit this entire time.”
Well, I CARE, therefore I answer:
one can equally kalsarikännit (=kalsarikännätä is a verb) OR take kalsarikännit (=ottaa/repii/riipaisee kalsarikännit, a verb + a noun). In Finnish this is a question of preferences: choose whichever you like or which tastes the better in yout mouth saying it. I prefer the latter.
The verb (kalsarikännätä) as the noun (kalsarikänni) consists of the words känni (drunkenness) and kalsarit (underpants).
Känni is sort of a blanket term for drunkenness, as are humala, juovuksissa olo, or the more official päihtyneisyys (intoxication).
I will not give you every word of the fInnish language on being drunk, bacause I probably dont know them all [SIC! I´m just a human]. There are plenty, although probably not as many as our reputation as heavy drinkers would suggest.
Then again, there are a lot synonymes for snow and death in Finnish as well.
(Majority of the words concerning snow are not really synonymes at all, but names for a certain type of snow, or snowing. Death has not so many degrees, so those really are synonyms.)
Anyway, in order to specify in Finnish HOW drunk one actually is, you´d either have to add a noun or an adjective to those words, or choose another entirely, such as one of these:
- To describe a state of being mildly drunk, hardly drunk at all, like maybe one´s had a few over dinner:
hiprakka, seitinohut ranskalainen (a gossamer-like French-type afternoon ligh intoxication), huppeli, hönö.
- for a regular/medium-size känni you could go with one of these terms:
päissään/juovuksissa olo, kekkuli, jurri.
- when very, very drunk you might opt for one of these:
lärvit, nakit silmillä (wieners as one´s eyelids), soosissa (in sauce), perseet, perseet olalla (asses on ones shouders, umpikänni, kommandokänni (commando drunk)
People invent more as they go along. For example, a popular practise is to pick a person everyone knows, someone who is generally known to have been very very drunk, if only once, and start using his name describing a highest level of drunkenness. Say we have a friend called Kotivalo, who was (too) drunk at his sister´s wedding, and everyone (present at the time) saw and knows that. So the next time someone else is, or plans to be, in an equal state, this could be described as doing the Kotivalo (ottaa Kotivalot). Get it?
Let me tell you about Kalsarit (singular kalsari)
This needs clarifying, so: Kalsarit are not just any old underpants! They most definitely are not panties, briefs, nor thongs (God forbid!).
Kalsarit (a plural, as in underpants in English) originally refers to men´s long underpants worn during wintertime, especially when pakkanen (pakkanen is when the temperature outside descends to minus degrees centigrades).
Now, many Finnish people – myself included – use the word kalsarit as a synonym for briefs and such in their spoken, informal language, but that´s just because they started it as a joke, and just got stuck to the habit. I know this for a fact.
There exists in a Finnish language another quite interesting underpant-concept called tupletit (translates more ot less as ”doubles”). Because I happen to live in the south of Finland, and because the climate happens to be changing warmer, I probably would not know anything about tupletit had I not been a salesperson in a men´s clothing store back in the 90s.
Tupletit is a set of regular, short underpants hidden inside the long men´s undespants. The more north you go in this beautiful but freezing country, the more practical they get. Ingenious, isn´t it?
I remember reading some years ago an article on Finnish men´s high quality of sperm.
CAN this be mere coincidence?
A female equivalent for kalsarit are usually tights, leggins or sweatpants, by the way.
In the summertime it can be briefs and a bra – or nothing if it´s really hot (= in Finland that equals 22 C or more) and one has, say, a large window giving south.
On the practicality, morality and joys of kalsarikännit
Alcoholism is no stranger to Finns; everyone in Finland knows, thinks he knows, has known, has been, or is an alcoholic. That of course is no laughing matter.
Still, practised responsably, preferably not on a daily or even weekly basis, kalsarikännit works as an effortless way to relax and enjoy one´s life, without having to think what to wear, how to style one´s hair, or whether one should go for a smokey eye or a more natural look with one´s makeup. The older I get, the longer it takes to leave the house.
Kalsarikännit is a lot cheaper than bar-hopping (the booze in Finland ain´t cheap, guys),
and saves one the agony of waiting for a taxi in a line at 4 am freezing one´s tits or balls out when there is pakkanen. Remember pakkanen?
When you catch a Finn unawares and on their free time, we really are kinda relaxed bunch. Just as we go naked in the sauna with just about anyone, we can either decide to be on our own, and get drunk on the sofa wearing kalsarit, or other informal attire, or find ourselves in that situation by accident and be quite happy and content at the turn of the events.
Did I make myself clear? Any questions?
It´s Saturday night and my son´s away with his granny. This means I am free as a bird.
I´m single, so could go out and mingle, and dance the night away. Or go see a movie.
Then again, the weather´s awful, it´s almost raining, not even a proper winter, it´s school holiday so most people are out of town, and my voice is gone so I really cannot hold much of a conversation with anyone. What could I do?