Any Old Iron…

30 11 2017

There is nothing like the feel of a crisp ironed shirt. Empowering you more than a triple espresso. reassuring you more than a salary increase. On the other hand, turning up to an important meeting with a creased shirt does exactly the opposite. Causing you more anguish than a fresh scratch on your car. Affecting your mind more strongly than than pure alcohol.

Arriving in a small hotel just outside Oslo Gardemoen airport late in the evening, my mind was already prefixed upon the early start for a very important meeting. Anticipating the Norwegian tradition of not having an iron and ironing board in my room, I asked for the strykerom (ironing room).  Norwegian hotels for some bizarre reason don’t provide ironing apparatus in a hotel room. I fear that at some point during the formation of the Norwegian hotel industry, there was a massive national theft involving ironing equipment. The mass effect of the iron theft is still ingrained in the national psyche of Norway. Perhaps it is still spoken about in hushed circles, the survivors of the great iron theft giving emotional support to each other? Or perhaps the Norwegian population simply don’t iron clothes?

The receptionist simply answered ‘Upstairs‘. I asked him again in my bestest Norwegian, ‘Hvor er strykerommet?‘. He answered in English ‘Upstairs, you will see it‘. I had traveled for some hours, and was rather tired so couldn’t be bothered to ask again. Walking to my room I looked for the strykerom, which was nowhere to be seen. Figuring that Norwegians still make fun of foreigners who want to iron clothes, I thought my investigation will continue in the morning and walked into my ice cold room.

Waking up dark and early in the morning, my search for the elusive strykerom continued. Typically they are mysteriously unmarked doors, again designed to keep would be thieves away from the gilded iron. My nose helps in this case, smelling the steam and freshly ironed cotton. Or looking for the queue of hungover guests with crumpled clothes in their hands usually merits results too.

Alas my eyes found the iron before my nose did. Straight out of the 90’s, and in possibly the most weird location for a strkerom. On the top of the hotel stairs, in the middle of the corridor was the iron and brotherly board. In the middle of the corridor, yes you did read it correctly. Now the shame of ironing was no longer confined to a quiet side room, I was in full public view and within hearing distance from the jeering comments from passing hotel guests regarding my ironing prowess. This was true business embarrassment.

Undeterred by the catcalls from passing males, jealous of my mad ironing skills – my shirt was suitably decrinkled. The meeting was a success, I believe purely due to a well ironed shirt. There may have been other reasons for its success, but they are not the key focus here!

Nevertheless the question still remains, why do Norwegian hotels have such an aversion towards in-room ironing? Answers on the back of a postcard to…





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