Hooray for us, hooray for England being so super at playing football, hooray for not being horrendously humiliated in front of the rest of the footballing world AGAIN, hooray for three lovely goals, hooray hooray etc etc yippee.
So we won a game of football. A simple statement. A game of football was played and, fortunately and rather unusually, won. But I’m not sure it is that simple. Having spent last night in a pub filled with lots of men, I think we women have been underestimating the psychological strain involved when a man watches football. It is a tumultuous roller coaster ride of emotions.
Even before the game started, there were men outside the pub pacing up and down the pavement, frantically smoking, scraping their hands through their hair, wiping their moist brows, as though they were all waiting for their wives to give birth to their first child. They weren’t. They were just waiting to watch some football.
You know when you are telling a man that you are going out tonight and that there is some food in the fridge and that you’ll be home around half ten and almost immediately his face glazes over and he’s not really looking at you but at a point just to the left of you? He’s lost concentration. It happens in the blink of an eye. Yet during the football, they have to concentrate. If they take their eye of the screen for
something irreversible and dreadful will happen. So they never take their eye off the screen. Ever.
It’s all plodding along nicely. The footballers are kicking the football about on the field. Kick kick kick bounce bounce bounce. We’re all having a nice time. Then the ball starts going a little too much in the wrong direction. This is when the fear kicks in. It grows and spreads, like a virus, to their very soul, as the ball edges ever closer to the possibility of an enemy goal…
And it either has a good outcome – the ‘I literally couldn’t be more relieved if someone told me my house had burned down and then said it actually hadn’t burned down at all’ outcome:
– or the ‘Nothing worse than this has ever happened to anyone ever in the entire history of the world ever and I may as well just kill myself immediately’ outcome:
Usually follows from the aforementioned emotion. They cannot accept that the enemy has scored a goal against our boys. There were some startling displays of male anger in the pub last night.
There was the ‘Shout swear words very loudly at the television’ type of anger:
The ‘Rant amongst yourselves about how such a gratuitous act of sporting injustice has definitely ruined all our lives’ type of anger:
The ‘Go very red in the face, look incredibly affronted, and shout FUCK every now and then, then stomp off to go and have a cigarette or have a word with yourself in the toilets’ type of anger:
The ‘Sit silently with arms folded staring evilly at the TV and mentally bombing the country of the enemy team’ type of anger:
Better than sex, better than food, better than a room full of naked Cameron Diaz lookalikes smeared in sour cream and lying on Bugatti Veyrons, the goal is a million orgasms all stuffed into one beautiful emotion. For a few minutes, man love is boundless. It becomes permissible to dry-hump each other, to go in for a quick manly snog, to display infinitely more joy than they displayed at their weddings, the births of their children, promotions, birthdays, Christmas, paying off the mortgage, anything. This is elation like no other.
And we wonder why they come home swaying and slurring and bleary-eyed, or why they get arrested for stumbling into roads or wandering the streets in their pants – you see they’re not drunk, they’re merely exhausted by the incredible psychological and emotional joyride on which they have been taken.
So next time, remember, they’re not just watching football. They are never just ‘watching football’. They are living through 90 minutes of torturous emotional madness, all going on inside their little flushed heads.