- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > World

The joys of being an Estonian wife

When the great Estonian chess maestro Paul Keres was asked how come he never won the world title, he said: "I was unlucky, like my country." But Estonia is not always unlucky at sport...

10 July 2003

For better or for worse, we human beings are naturally competitive beasts. Whether we're hurling a pumpkin or tossing a dwarf, going for an Olympic old or just Going for Gold with Henry Kelly; whether itís a game of Pictionary in the parlour or stuffing 400 cigarettes in your mouth in the memory of Roy Castle; whether we're waging a war or spreading a religion. In any area of human behaviour, there will always be some of us who need to show everyone else that we're the best.

Usually men of course. Almost always in fact. Go figure.

Last weekend saw the finals of this year's Wife-carrying World Championships in Sonkajarvi, a small town in Finland. Rather misleadingly, the contestants do not necessarily have to be man and wife. In theory they could even be siblings. Although that might be a little off-colour. A man however, must carry a woman. He must carry her through thick and thin over a 250-metre assault course. He must sling her over his back like a slaughtered gazelle and race through the rapids fighting off bees and bears and wildebeests. Why? Because he's a fucking berk, that's why.

Legend has it that like so many classic competitions, wife-carrying kicked off in the 1800s when horny Finns used to - get this - carry off other people's wives. To rape them. And 8000 people turn up to watch and applaud this shameless re-enactment.

Indeed, the 'sport' has become a hugely anticipated event at various venues throughout the world. Apart from the inherent evil in the whole shebang, it is notable also that the established world leaders in wife-carrying are Estonian men. No-one, it seems, can carry a nominal wife through water and in sickness, over fences and in health quite like an Estonian man can.

Pioneers of the now classic 'inverted' hold - where the womanís legs are over the manís shoulders and her head is up his arse - Estonians have been storming to victory since 1998. This year in Finland, they claimed both gold and silver. This was also the year that, suspiciously, a second competition was introduced. It was almost identical to the first, except that the couple had to be properly married, and the wife had to be properly carried, piggy-back style. Classic wife-carrying you might call it. And the winners? Why, Estonians of course.

How proud they must be.

Wife-carrying in the USA:


Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free

Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

© The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved