Stockholm Tinder Stories : année de la victoire

In this new series of “Stockholm Tinder Stories”, Felix Douglas Olsson narrates the adventures of his alter ego, Mr. Mec.

Unrepentant skier, often solitary, Swedish polyglot, Mr. Mec is not looking for love, but romance finds him more often than not. In skiing as on Tinder, Mr. Man is a rare and lucky aesthete. 

He was standing in an elevator in an unknown building, in a part of town far from Söder. The mirrors were tall, the buttons polished brass. Each floor was represented by a number carved elegantly in the metal in a sort of Old-English font not unsimilar to that of the tattoo on his right arm.

Beside him: His host, the inhabitant of this building, whom he’d just met an hour ago at Riche – one of Stockholms classic bars, which he did not frequent very often: He was, like everybody else, rarely leaving Söder.

She’d suggested they meet there since it was so close to her quarters, which was good because she did not have much time to hang out. It was her 25th birthday, and she was to host a group of her closest friends at her apartment later. 

Her hair was gold, her skin honey, her eyes a pale, baby blue. 

– “My friends won’t believe that I am bringing a Tinder date to my birthday dinner. But whatever. Besides, you told me you’re an excellent cook. Worst comes to worst, I’ll just banish you to help the staff in the kitchen” 

The staff. It had been evident from the get-go that this girl was living in a different universe than him. The Gucci handbag, Hermes scarf, Armani suit (the Tinder date took place during her after work hours) and of course the black Centurion Amex. In fact, the only thing they did seem to truly have in common was their love for skiing and ski culture. She was cute in her way of mispronouncing names of famous french ski resorts, and she’d been quick to let him know that she had skied “the Agi de Bidi.” 

– “I’m only here because you insisted I should come” he responded. “Should you suddenly decide I’m too ugly, I’ll be down the stairs and on my bike before you have time to tell me” 

– “Oh, stop it”, she replied. “Relax, it’s time to have fun”, she said as the elevator doors opened directly into the foyer. 

Penthouse. God damn. 

The flat was located at the very top of the building. Slanted, whitewashed ceilings. Large, exposed, wooden beams running the length of the vast, open apartment. The foyer opened up directly into the large living room, at the end of which was a beautiful kitchen where a dark haired chef in his 50s was dancing around pots, chopping boards and stainless-steel bowls. 

The floor-to-ceiling windows covered the entire southern side of the flat, giving onto a stunning view of the water, of Djurgården, and beyond: Söder. 

At a large, rustic wooden table in the middle of the room her friends were waiting. 

They all looked shocked to see him, but the confusion quickly gave way to amusement: He got the feeling he was not the first young dude she’d brought to face this crowd. 

– “So this is the reason you’re late”, one of them said, amused. 

– “Everyone, meet Monsieur Mec”, the host announced. 

– “Monsieur Mec just returned from a five year trip to France, where he was exiled working as a chef, waiter, bartender and every other imaginable position within the restaurant industry. Or so he’d have us believe”, she continued.  

– “Monsieur Mec, meet the girls” 

 – “Enchanté”, he said.

 – “It’s time for drinks!” someone yelled. 

 – “Yes, but instead of the usual sparkling, I think we should honour Monsieur Mec with some red. He spent all afternoon talking about how autumn has left him uninterested in chilled drinks, and thirsting for boozy cocktails and Syrah.” 

He smiled warily. He had not intended to be in the center of everyone’s attention like this.  

– “Grab something from the cupboard over there, will you?”, the host said to one of the girls.  

– “I rarely ever drink red, so I am not sure what’ll be in there, and I honestly don’t care. Never could tell the difference between Grenache, Mourvèdre or Zinfandel anyway.” 

Quickly, one of her friends returned from the kitchen with a dusty bottle. 

– “This looks okay, I think. I just grabbed it because it seemed to be one of the older ones in there”, she said. 

The host tossed him a wine-opener. 

– “You open it, Mec, the girls are thirsty!” 

His jaw dropped open when he saw what was being handed to him. 

– “Girls…” he said. “Woah, chill… Do you have any idea what this is?”, he mumbled. 

– “Hopefully a tasty beverage that you will be serving us now. Come on, we’re ready to get this party started”, one of them laughed. 

In his hands he was holding a dusty, dark bottle. The label was elegantly simple. A golden V was at its head, circled by a shiny corona obsidionalis similar to what Julius Caesar wore on his royal brow. Below, a four digit number signifying the vintage. 1945. Année de la victoire.

– “Fuck… Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change” he mumbled. 

 – “Monsieur Mec… Are you okay? You’re sweating.” the host remarked.

He struggled to find words. But when he finally did, they were the words of a shepherd trying to guide his unknowing apprentices to illumination.  

– “Ladies… First of all… Get out of your heads that this is just a wine. This is a piece of history, a work of art. This is one of what may well be the very last bottles of 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild Année de la Victoire. This wine was bottled when the likes of Churchill, Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt walked the earth. It is from the days when the Third Reich fell, when the Allied Victory blessed the world with peace after six years of total war. If we are to open this, it needs to be done with respect and sincerity. This is not something to be consumed with food, but if we are to drink it we should do so thoughtfully and slowly. There is forgotten knowledge within the curved walls of this bottle. It was conjured by druids and wizards of the wine-world, whose knowledge is all but lost to the world today.” 


He lifted his eyes to face the girls.  

They were all staring, a mixed look of amusement and wonder in their eyes. 

– “Okay, cowboy”, the host finally said. 

– “Let’s have it your way. We’ll wait with the canapés and the food, and give this red of yours the respect you say it deserves. On one condition. The contents of that bottle, divided between the six of us, is not going to make for very large servings. You may have your little moment of historical revery here, but I say we make it a short one. Instead of sipping the shit slowly, savouring every moment in fear of that awful point in time where all has been drunk, I say we all count to three and down that fucker with one swoop of our glasses. The girls have been thirsting for shots, anyway. Deal?” 

He looked at her in disbelief. He could tell she was being serious. Did she have no regard for history? The contents of this bottle… The years kept in storage, what the world looked like when the grapes were picked… 

He chuckled. Say what you want about the rich, but they were an interesting bunch. 

– “Fuck it”, he said. “Let’s do it.” 

They all gathered close. Six glasses were placed in a neat, tight line. He opened the bottle, which made a satisfying sound that echoed in the apartment. 

He poured with great care, dividing the contents of the bottle equally between the six of them. 

– “Are you ready?” the host smiled at him, at the girls.  

 – “No sipping this shit now. Everyone pound this shit in as few gorges as you can.” 

He shook his head, the idea was absurd. Still, he was about to experience something most people would never get to. 

They raised their glasses. 

– “1… 2…. Chug it!” the host cried. 

He closed his eyes and filled his mouth. The world dissolved, re-shaped. Black, chocolate fields opened before him. Raspberry skies, red, velvet flowers. In his heart, a door opened onto a narrow alley, which led to a candle lit courtyard. Someone had set a table there, with a vase of roses on top. Years passed, but he did not age. He was running very quickly up a hill, not becoming the least bit tired as he ascended. At the top was a lonely tree, a chimpanzee with the head of an elk sat cross-legged at its peak. 

– “Welcome”, the monkey said. “Do you know what this place is?” 

…He opened his eyes. 

Around him, everyone were staring into the emptiness, shocked. 

– “Jesus”, someone said. 

– “Damn… That was better than heroin”, someone else. 

The host said nothing. She just slowly got to her feet and walked over towards the cupboard from where the bottle had previously been brought. She produced a golden key from her pocket and stuck it into the lock of the adjacent cupboard. 

She turned the key, to the sound of a distinct “click” which echoed through the apartment. 

Before opening the door, she stopped and turned to face the party. 

– “Girls… Monsieur Mec. I suggest you all clear your schedules for tomorrow. We won’t be having a normal party tonight, and we won’t be making the switch to gin & tonics or champagne anytime soon..” 

She opened the door to the mysterious cupboard and took a step aside, letting them face its contents. 

Inside were at least 50 bottles of what they had just drunk, each one bearing that golden V and those profound words. Année de la Victoire, Mec. 


written by Mr Mec.

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