“You gonna watch the football?” I asked a German friend the other day.
He looked at me blankly. “Football?” He asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s the World Cup, you know.”
He sniggered then. “You call that football?” He asked.
“Well, what else are you meant to call it?” I said, sulkily.
“Jacinta. That’s got about as much to do with sports as table football does.”
“Awright, awright,” I said. “Nobody’s begging you to watch it. I was just wondering.”
Thing is, I don’t really believe people when they say they think the Frauenfußball is boring. Well, okay, I do a little bit, even though I don’t know anything about football, and only really really enjoy it when it’s, like, some really hot (as in harrrrt) team from South America somewhere – or maybe Turkey – and it starts raining and their shirts stick to them and it gets really muddy and they start slipping over and falling on top of each other and stuff. Mmmmmm. Yummy, yummy, in my tummy, even better than when Arabs kiss each other goodbye on the U8. Mmmmmm. Lovely.
Still, despite my total football-based ignorance, even I can tell the girls are a bit slower at running than the boys. So, I believe the Frauenfußball-Kritiker a little bit. A teeny, tiny, mini bit. It’s a bit slower, and things which happen slowly are a bit boring.
But I don’t totally believe them. You know? Well, not THAT much. Not totally. Coz, like, not even Andrea Dworkin thinks women run as fast as men. Women can’t run as fast as men. That’s just, like, a scientific fact. And nobody ever watches the Paralympics and tuts, disapprovingly: “This would be loads better if they could just, like, get out of their wheelchairs.” It would be rude. So, basically, if somebody really just literally thought the Frauenfußball was boring, they wouldn’t bother mentioning it. They’d be too polite.
What I think is that deep down, deep, deep, deep inside, they’re just a bit jealous. Secretly, subconsciously. They’re just thinking: “Huh! Snot fair! Girls get to have babies grow inside them, and breastfeed, and have multiple orgasms and plus they get to wear high-heels and lip gloss and stuff; they shouldn’t be allowed to play football too! SNOT FAIR!”
Anyway, I’m doing a big feministical experiment on my son, Rico. He’s too young to know that Frauenfußball is boring. He just wants the Panini stickers. It’s working quite well. Also, there aren’t as many teams so you can get your Panini sticker album filled up a lot quicker than for the men. Which, of course, makes it a bit more exciting.
“So, did you watch the football last night then?” my German friend asked me.
“Yeah,” I said. “Did you?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I did in the end. God, it was boring. Come on, Jacinta, you’ve got to admit it. It was pretty fucking boring.”
“I thought it was good,” I said. “It was pretty violent. I like it when it gets violent.”
He sighed thoughtfully. “I suppose it’s because you come from England,” he said. “You guys grew up watching snooker and darts and stuff, didn’t you?”
“Hmmmm,” I said, suddenly having this beautiful Proustian moment where I was transported back to the 1980s, to my grandparents’ bungalow in Harold Wood, where the snooker was always, always on. “Snooker can be really exciting, actually. Especially if Stephen Hendry’s playing. ” Mmmmmm. Stephen Hendry. If only they’d pour buckets of cold water over him every now and again. That would be really fucking exciting.