Goodbye hygge, hello pantsdrunk
FOR decades now, we've had a strange obsession with Scandinavian countries.
How is it, we've been asking from the other side of the world, that these places can go months without sunlight yet still be responsible for bringing us Lego and Ikea? What do these genetically blessed, sartorially suave Nordic mortals know that allows them to consistently top happiness and quality of life indexes that we don't?
Is it their lauded healthcare, childcare and education systems that keep the smiles on their faces, or is it something more?
For a while there, it seemed that the answer to all this smug joy had been found in hygge - a Danish trend that relates to the feeling of warmth and cosiness one gets when surrounding oneself with high-end Scandi furniture, a colour-coordinated bookshelf, and oversized merino sweaters. Add a roaring fire, purebred dog, and mug of cocoa to the mix and you're truly living the hygge hashtag lifestyle.
Like all modern trends, coffee table books, blogs and podcasts on how you too could reach this superior level of social media nirvana became rife.
And sure, it may have cost a small fortune to buy into the hygge echelon of enlightenment, but the promise of being the Instagram post you wanted to see in the world was now just a filter away. With the right hygge mentality, Nigella-esque stews simmering in Le Creuset cookware, blonde timber floors with sheepskin rugs, and candid shots of a half-read paperback opened on crisp cotton sheets, could all be yours to share in your feed for the gratification of others.
The real problem with hygge, though, is that it requires a fair bit of effort.
Redecorating a house, styling countless photographs, figuring out what hygge summer fashion will work in Australia's heatwave-prone climate is just, well, not all that relaxing.
Which is where Kalsarikännit - or Pantsdrunk as its English translation is known - comes in.
The Finnish answer to hygge, pantsdrunk can be best described as the feeling of getting home after a long day, peeling off your clothes, having zero plans for the night and cracking open your drink of choice. Throw in some snacks, lie down on the couch, ensure the remote control and your phone are within reaching distance and you've got yourself the ultimate pantsdrunk scenario.
It's essentially the antithesis to hygge, which is precisely why it's so great.
Finnish journalist Miska Rantanen, who has written a book on the phenomenon explains, "Pantsdrunk doesn't demand that you deny yourself the little things that make you happy or that you spend a fortune on Instagrammable Scandi furniture and load your house with more altar candles than a Catholic Church. Affordability is its hallmark, offering a realistic remedy to everyday stress."
He continues, "one does not post atmospheric images on Instagram whilst pantsdrunk. Pantsdrunk is real. It's about letting go and being yourself, no affectation and no performance."
It is in shutting off our quest for aesthetic happiness and being comfortable within our slovenliness, Rantanen argues, that we will find the kind of happiness and contentment so many of us are searching for.
And like all trends, there's the risk that one can overdo it. Sleeping in the loungeroom over making it to bed is surely a pantsdrunk no-no, as would be, say, living exclusively on a diet of Uber Eats or spending all of your designated leisure time on your phone.
But lying on your overpriced Scandi-inspired sofa with a cold drink and no pants on? Now that's true nirvana, hashtag or not.
Katy Hall is a RendezView writer and producer.