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That’s What She Said


So a little personal rant for your Monday, from a girl. More specifically, me. I had written a similar piece for another blog about a year ago that was never posted, so while I am recovering from holiday delights to write a proper post, enjoy a little estrogen.

A future football fan

Sandwiched between 2 brothers, I had to cope with the fact that my dolls would eventually become some kind of science experiment and that I shouldn’t climb trees in dresses (your legs get scratched up.) As I got older, I naturally found it easier to hang with the guys than with the girls. I mean I loved to wear skirts & dresses, I did all of the obligatory female domestic things like sew and cook and clean and babysit. But other than a couple of close girlfriends, I found most girls to be shallow and petty and cruel. Guys were less complicated (good), funnier and more laid back.

So when I later fell in love with football, I figured it would just come naturally to dwell in this male-dominated community. I was surprised to find just how hard it can be.

Let’s start with some of the scientific differences… Women and men literally see differently. Men are more likely to see that brush of a handball or the slightest contact in a questionable foul situation. Whereas women are more likely to catch something happening off the ball or on the sidelines because our scope of vision is less precise, but wider in breadth. So she is not stupid for not catching the handball, and you are not a moron for not seeing the sub that’s warming up on the sideline. Different, not stupid.

Men are logical and tactical and analytical. Women are emotional and verbose and see the big picture. So when you have a discussion with a woman about the beautiful game, remember that you will not only have different viewpoints, but different experiences. And if you want her not to talk during the replays of the goals, you should also not talk to her through the interviews with the players. Likewise, just because she is not spouting stats and scores does not mean she loves the game any less than you. She’s just wired differently than you, and that’s not bad or wrong. Her argument about the ref is not the call itself, but maybe the motivation behind the call. Just different, not less of a fan.

Count the number of female fans in this Scudetto celebration picture

Men are supposed to be non-verbal. But without fail, when I try to watch a game with men, male fans from the casual to the devoted will start talking incessantly to try to explain the game to me. Not to the other men in the room, just me. The assumption that a woman can’t understand the beautiful game just because she lacks a particular appendage makes the men in question…umm…well, you fill in the blank. It’s 2011, it’s okay to give a girl the benefit of the doubt. (because she might even know more than you!) Different, not less knowledgeable.

Similarly, as a woman, I am often not allowed to have an opinion of my own. Especially if it is not a popular one. Whereas a guy can state an unpopular opinion and take a little ribbing and then it is dropped, when I state an unpopular opinion, every guy in the room has to tell me what my opinion is and scorn me for thinking that my own opinion could ever be relevant. I mean retro can be cool in some aspects of life, but definitely not this one. If I respect your opinion, is it really that hard for you to respect mine? Different, not wrong.


Respect covers a lot of areas. For example, not all female athletes or sports fans are lesbians. Nor do we all look like or act like WAGS. These assumptions are not so much urban legend as they are a neanderthal brain malfunction. Female football fans and athletes come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Also, please don’t always send us to the kitchen during the game for more drinks or food. Some of us like to watch the game, too. And if your intentions are what science says they are, your chances of achieving the desired objective with us goes down significantly with each request to serve you refreshments. Why don’t you break the mold and go get us a drink? And maybe some chocolate? It may pay dividends later. Different can be very good for you.

I have never met a gaggle of female football fans, maybe someday I will. So to gather and celebrate one’s love of the game, a girl usually has to hang with the boys. This is fine when she’s single, but when she’s in a relationship, it becomes anything from uncomfortable to taboo. Boys don’t have to give up hanging with the guys, but girls do. And if she is foolish enough to find a guy who doesn’t watch football or doesn’t love it as much as her, then she becomes her own one woman fan club, a lonely club to be in.

Admittedly, being a female football fan can gather a certain level of intrigue from some guys. Many men are willing to “embrace” a female fan in one way or another. On the surface, they think it’s cool that you’re really into football and sometimes express positive interest in a female fan that they would not necessarily express in just another guy. But this is usually fleeting, because if a girl knows a lot about the game, expresses an opinion, won’t fetch drinks, or can no longer hang out with the guys because she’s “taken,” then she actually becomes “less than” one of the other guys.

So let’s review: Women are different, not stupid. They can be every bit the passionate, knowledgeable football fan that you are. She deserves to watch the game, enjoy it, and still be respected in the morning. Don’t judge a fan by her curves, she may insult you and definitely won’t sleep with you. If you are having a hard time talking to a girl about football, close your eyes and pretend she’s male. Whatever it takes. Just try to say the opposite of what you would normally say in this situation.

The one time a girl can be just one of the boys

No man is an island, but a female football fan often is, at least in many parts of the world. She is always fighting to be respected and taken seriously by the boys, and castrated from the other girls by their contempt for sports and other things that are not shopping. She can’t find a football jersey that fits decently over her strange, bumpy body, and likely has no one in her life that understands her plight completely. She can hang with the boys until she is in a relationship, after that, she is often somewhat isolated in her fandom. Her only solace is that at kickoff, she is part of a community of millions of fans all over the world. And even if it’s just for 90 minutes at a time, she’s right where she belongs…


Thanks to all of the guys in my life who treat me as an equal and make it easier for me to deal with the few exceptions!


This post inspired by the music of No Doubt