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Boys Will be Boys


Every transfer window, it’s the same thing. Grown men all over the interwebs drooling and gossiping and speculating and fantasizing about which player will go here or there. They talk about swaps that would make a sporting director split his pants laughing, only they are dead serious about their fantasies. Sometimes, I think that in their minds, their little fantamercato dreams are their reality. Certainly they believe every rumor they read, never considering the source or even its plausibility. It’s real. It’s all real, even the conflicting rumors. I know I’ve certainly seen that level of commitment when they start posting lineups with their choices (often with players not even in their proper positions, mind you,) they even start fighting with one another. Over nothing. None of it ever happens. But that doesn’t stop them. Boys will be boys.

"OMG, OMG, OMG!!! He still loves Milan... I know he's coming back, I just know it! OMG!!"

But if you replace the names of the players and sporting references with the names of teenage boys and dating references, these “grown men” may as well all be a bunch of 12 year old girls. Like the ones who write their first name with the last name of the boy (or celebrity) they have a crush on… over and over all over their notebooks. In fact, statistically, these girls probably have a much better chance of marrying their crushes, but that doesn’t stop these “grown” men from writing their fantamercato 11 over and over again everywhere and even discussing and arguing with other grown men about it as if it were real. And also the most important thing ever.

Simply replace “I am going to die if he looks at me again, he is so dreamy” with “I am going to die if we don’t sign Messi, he is so brilliant.” Maybe instead of a One Direction poster on the wall, these men have a Milan scarf or a poster of their favorite player, but the behaviors are the same: drooling, gossiping, speculating, and fantasizing about things that will never happen. With money never being an object. And of these mercato men and preteen girls, only the specifics of the dialogue and the depth of their voices are different. Why do grown men act this way?

"Witsel loves me, He loves me not..."

But then it hit me one day when I was being asked online yet again : “How old are you?” “Can I see a picture of you?” “Where do you live?” “Do you have Facebook? Instagram?” “Are you single?” “What is your bra size?” Yeah, I get these and many, many, many other non-football or Milan related questions all of the time on Twitter, email, or even the blog and other forums. And unless they’ve heard my podcast, they don’t even know if I am, in fact a woman. These men online, most of whom I know would never have the guts or possibly even interest to talk to me in real life, hit on me with the bravado that only a screen and a keyboard gives them. Nevermind that I am merely writing and talking about Milan and football, not posting a Tinder profile or something. Just like their transfer fantasies, it’s never going to happen, but that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Just swipe left, boys. It's a football blog, not a dating app

What is it about men that gives them so much false bravado and false sense of reality online? That they would indulge in such pointless repartee about things they have no control over? And what is it exactly about a woman who loves football that makes these men so brash and quick to flirt? Because they have no actual interest in what I have to say about football. Especially once I brush aside their advances. Kind of like how quickly they’ll move along from one transfer rumor to another. Or like how a 12 year old girl moves along from one crush to another. Sure, there will be the angst and the imaginary dates transfers, but at the end of the day, whether it be fantamercato or ‘let me hit on this woman who loves football,’ everyone goes home empty handed. All of that internet bravado, all of that time wasted, and no one’s fantasies come true. Just like most every 12 year old girl I’ve ever known. But hey, boys will be boys.


This post inspired by the music of The Smiths’ “Miserable Lie”


Our next match is
il Derby della Madonnina
Milan vs. Inter
Sunday, January 31 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)