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  • Writer's pictureSweet Tea

More Spanking, Rice, or Both?

As someone who lived and worked abroad for a decade, international spanko culture really tickles me fancy. A Fetlife friend of mine, Alef, recently imparted a wee tidbit that made me squeal with delight. If you’re a Fet user too, you can read the entirety of his personal essay, Spanking in Norway, for a more in-depth explanation, but I’ll sum up bits and pieces here for our purposes.

Apparently in Norwegian, the word ‘ris’ (pronounced something like ‘Reese’ if you can nail a Scottish ‘r’ in that lavish Sean Connery way,) refers to both rice and spanking. ‘Ris’ in reference to rice is an imported usage, mimicking the French ‘riz’ and German ‘Reis’, for example. In terms of spanking, however, it was shortened from ‘bjerkeris’, the Norwegian word for a bundle of birch twigs. According to Alef, there are birch trees all over Norway and for centuries, the birch was so commonly used for corporal punishment in homes and schools that ‘ris’ gradually evolved into a generic term for any kind of spanking, even the smacky OTK variety.

Now, as y'all already know, I am not a proponent of non-consensual corporal punishment in real life. Quite the opposite. However, the implications of this linguistic morsel make me incredibly giggly. Imagine dining at a Norwegian home and hearing your host ask, "Would you care for more spanking?" ("Vil du ha mer ris?") Ahahahaha! The only downside would be answering with an enthusiastic “Yes, please!” and receiving a heaping bowl of rice rather than the option we truly desire.

As ‘ris’ also refers to birch trees found out in nature, the word tends to turn up in reference to buildings and other locations. In Oslo, for instance, you can visit the Ris School and the Ris Church. (My eager spanko butt would be planted in those pews every Sunday. Hallelujah!) You can also ride Metro Line 1 over to Ris Station. Additionally, as most Norwegian surnames are taken from the names of old farms where certain crops were grown, the word ‘ris’ often appears in last names. If this applies to you and we ever meet in person, please forgive me if I blush and fail to address you with a straight face. It’s almost as bad as the first name Fanny in English. I can’t deal with it at all. It kills me.

“I’m really sorry, Fanny Ris, but can we call you something else??”

I honestly don’t know how spankos in Norway get anything done. Terms like ‘brand spanking new’ cause me more than enough fluster here in America. I’m not sure how I’d deal with walking through town surrounded by the Spanking School and the Spanking Church and boarding the subway at Spanking Station, but they seem to make do over there somehow.

Many thanks to Alef for this fascinating info. I encourage you to read his essay, as it’s got some awesome descriptions of spankings portrayed in Norwegian film and literature, along with other tasty details. In true spanko form, he remarked on a recent post of mine,

“We have so many things in common across the borders, but then there are also local traditions that add flavor, some of them based on culture or language, and others based on natural resources. I have seen English spankos discuss at great length how to get hold of a birch rod, but if I turn my head ninety degrees where I sit, I see more birch trees than I can count.”

Now we all know what to buy each other next time we’re up in Scandinavia shopping for souvenirs. Norwegian wood is famous for more reasons than we thought!

Enjoy your rice, spankos.



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