THERE’S AN UNSPOKEN RULE in Danish society about privacy and the public sphere. Danes believe that everyone has the right not to be bothered in public, and that they should be able to go about their business free of awkward exchanges, unsolicited greetings, or general inconveniences created by others.
This silent cultural norm is something I began referring to as the Privacy in Public Act (PIPA), and slowly learned that stepping out of line in public is one of the easiest ways to provoke anger in this flock of stoic Scandinavians.
Research was gathered over 18 months of daily life in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Some of the following strategies were immediately obvious to me, while other conclusions were drawn after long periods of observation, inadvertent social faux pas, or passive-aggressive provocations.