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     Volume 11 |Issue 25| June 22, 2012 |


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Football VS Love

Aasha Mehreen Amin

Strange things happen when the international sports season comes around. The male population, perhaps everywhere, displays some characteristic symptoms of nightly transgressions. They come to work dopey-eyed, can barely stay awake through the whole work day, take odd naps at odd times – say 8pm in the evening! They may snap at colleagues at work but when they come home they are on their best behaviour.

After years of conflict with irate wives who have been awakened in the middle of the night to the roars of crowds cheering and the errant husbands glued to the screen as if in a trance while munching away on forbidden chips, football (and other sports) fans, the male kind have found the way to have the cake and eat it too (not that they haven't done a good job of that most of the time anyway).

They have devised several ways to watch their matches that are aired at ungodly hours (Bangladesh time) – with a bit of charm, ingenuity and determination.

Apart from the lucky ones whose girlfriends and wives are just as ardent, if not more, fans of the sport, which of course has nothing to do with those chiseled physiques and movie star looks, most men must find ways to watch the games without rocking the marital/romance boat.

One man who knew he couldn't get away with turning the TV in the bedroom at four in the morning with his cranky wife who would wake up at the sound of a feather dropping on the floor, decided the only way was to sweetly request his elderly mother if he could possibly watch the game on her new flat-screen TV. Feeling sorry for the son, she agreed. Strangely, the man claimed that he didn't even have to wait for the alarm to go off. He just woke up five minutes to four in the morning and stealthily crossed the hall and sheepishly knocked on his mother's door, giving his mother's attendant the fright of her life. But most fans will tell you, this man included, that it is not much fun to watch a scintillating game of football with the volume down really low and having to bite down the spontaneous wallop of joy at every goal scored by the favourites or expletives to vent out at the blatant fouls and unfair penalties.

In case where the only TV is in the bedroom and the wife insists on having the mosquito net spread out and tucked in but grudgingly allows her spouse to watch the game – with the volume off – the scenario is similar. But at least it's better than being banned from watching at all.

It goes without saying, though, that many women have made the mistake of coming between a man and his favourite game or worse, driving them to psychosis by interrupting them at some crucial do or die moment in the game with questions like: "Does my face look fat if I tie my hair or should I leave it the way it is? But won't that look a bit messy?" For those men who have suffered for years and still continue to stay in the marriage, the amount of silent venom and resentment have piled up and may create a bomb in the form of ulcers or high blood pressure. If it is a budding romance then there are possibilities that it will be nipped in the bud by the furious boyfriend who can foresee a future of despondent-TV sports-deprived existence.

Yet there are also those who are far too clever to have to lose brownie points with the wife or paramour because they chose to watch the game. They have found ways and means to keep everyone happy. Sending the wife on a holiday with the children to visit relatives abroad, giving unexpected, lavish gifts to the girlfriend, volunteering to attend dinners given by in-laws, insisting on entertaining the kids while she goes to the parlour, happily getting the fridge fixed – the opportunities to please and make the significant other more open to all night TV watching, are many.

It is of course hard to have so many variables working to one's advantage. But sometimes the sheer passion for the game ushers in unexpected blessings from dear Providence herself.


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