On the weekend (and sometimes during the week) the beauty/fashion/celebrity and generally sarcastic tone of my Twitter feed is diluted with the chitter chatter of the football persuasion.
If you have a Twitter account, it’s quite probable that you’ve seen the name “Juan Mata“. In fact, replace “quite probable” with “you’ve probably seen his name more times than you’ve seen Beyonce’s backside during her Grammy’s performance” and you’ve got it about right. If you’ve been living under a rock, he’s a Premier League footballer. On January 24th, Jose Mourinho (the well dressed and rather attractive manager of Chelsea) confirmed that the club had accepted a transfer offer from Manchester United. Before the deal was done there had been wha seemed like 300 years of speculation and boy, did my timeline show it.
(In his “Dear John” letter to Chelsea he signed off “a big hug to all of you” – imagine hugging THAT. He makes me want to rub my face against his bearded goodness)
“SICK OF SEEING ALL THESE TWEETS ABOUT FOOTBALL” tweeted one girl on my timeline (who will remain nameless)
I personally wasn’t complaining about Mata tweets, he’s Spanish, he’s a footballer, he’s very attractive and he wears a suit well. What is there to complain about? I’m actually considering donning a Man U shirt and getting my ass up to Old Trafford.
Some girls don’t like football. I for one know quite a few girls who have nothing but disdain for football. They can’t stand the thought of men who play football let alone those who follow a certain team and get whole heartedly involved in it.
I’ve always been fairly tolerant of football “for a woman” (a guys words, not mine). I know there are girls who can’t think of anything worse than spending a Saturday afternoon watching football but its always been a sport that I’ve been brought up with. Many a Saturday afternoon would be sat at my Nanna and Grandad’s watching the football results come in.
“Accrington Stanley… one, Plymouth Argyle… nil”
Sky Sports News was more or less a permanent fixture on the TV when I lived with my ex. Couple this with ditching soaps for midweek matches on the tele (COrrie can be TiVo’d after all), 3 trips to Wembley (where I got to witness David Beckham stretching), showing the “girlfriend support” of his local club and the obligatory “acting like you know what he’s talking about and nodding at the correct moments” just to show that you care about something he supports. Of course, donning a football shirt during any international tournament is a given and lets not mention one of my most treasured Christmas presents – a Man U football shirt with Beckham on the back which I received WITH LOVE FROM DAVID BECKHAM on Christmas Day. Well, that’s what the gift tag said, so I’m taking it as gospel.
(probably the moment I fell in love with David Beckham, and that’s my shirt. SWOON.)
I often think that the het up football Twitter testosterone calls for the (attractive) members of my Twitter timeline to strip to their waists whilst I cover them in baby oil and let them wrestle out the whole “my football team is better than your football team” thing.
Men get a little bit fixated on football, lets face it. As soon as the season starts you may as well kiss weekends with your fella bye bye as he partakes in the ritualistic routine of screaming at the TV, accumulators, working out table positions (no, you won’t find that in the Kama Sutra) and hop skipping and jumping “to the ground” at any available moment. I learnt pretty quickly that when it comes to men and football, women need to just suck it up and accept that on match day, you could more or less walk in front of the TV in your highest heels with your boobs out and he’d probably lean around you to get a better look at the latest throw in.
I’d even put money on it that if you were to don the shirt of his preferred team bra less with a cheeky hint of nipple showing, it’d still make no difference.
So why the fixation on 22 sweaty men running around a pitch for 90 minutes in the hopes of getting a ball in the opposing goal?
“Why” can be broken down into two reasons. The first is pretty simple: men watch football as entertainment. Secondly, well this is where it gets a little more difficult “deep”: men watch football to meet deep psychological needs and desires – SEE, I’ve been telling you that men are pretty complicated beings.
Male Bonding: football has been to numerous generations somewhat a right of passage. During their adolescent years they may learn to play football with their brothers or their dad. Whether it’s having a kick around in the park, playing for a Sunday league club, going to their first game or watching the match in the living room, there’s a consistant closeness formed with their father of father figure. It can also create the basis of a connection with other males: friends, colleagues and eventually their own son (or daughter).
Venting of Aggression & War Mentality: we’ve all heard the football chants, if there isn’t a massive dose of venting in those I don’t know where there is. A football match is two opposing sides going to war, not just the players but also the opposing supporters. “Local derbies” as they’re known a match between two teams of the same city, county or region (we’re talking Man U v Man City, Everton v Liverpool, Stoke v Vale) are always big news within local communities. They’re not necessarily bigger than winning trophies, but a derby triumph can be the next best thing. To go up against your closest enemy and have the ability to rip into an opposing team with your fans singing a little bit louder and players fighting a little bit more for the “honour” of winning it: this is where the footballing passion can be at it’s most aggressive. There’s even blogs and YouTube channels primarily set up for fans to vent their footballing aggression *cough* views.
Escapism and Social Interaction: For a few hours at the weekend the normal mundane everyday life issues of money, working or the stresses of education are put on hold and football becomes the focal point of 3-6 hours of that day. This provides a positive reinforcement, no matter how temporary. It offers a source of escapism from the world of adult responsibilities and provides a man cave of some sort to retreat into to recapture that boyhood exuberance and enthusiasm from childhood. And if your team loses? The prospect of the next match or righting a match in which “we woz robbed” provides a much needed “something to look foward to”. The post match conversation in the pub, via text or even over Twitter meets a mans social needs. Where women can sit for hours talking about a wide range of subjects/emotions, men tend to be pretty limited in their topics of communication and football offers a common topic of conversation for men to be passionate about.
So there we have it, a small insight into the mind of your football fan man and why saying “it’s only a game” when his favourite team loses or why insisting you watch Don’t Tell The Bride instead of his favourite team may leave him a little less than happy. It may not be “your thing” but then again he may not understand why the new NARS “Narcissist” palette makes you weak at the knees or why you’ll forego eating good food for weeks just so you can get your hands on the latest Michael Kors watch.