Football Widow

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It may have come to the attention of some of you that some football – or soccer if you prefer – has just started in Brazil. You may have questioned the tenuous links between M&Ms or Pringles or Volvos and 22 men kicking a ball around in the name of sponsorship and advertising. You may have found various surfaces covered in small piles of Panini stickers. You may have been dismayed at the sight of a fixtures chart appearing on the wall. With the results tracked on it, match by match. You may have sat baffled through Bronx-born Jennifer Lopez’s appearance at the opening ceremony or heard the roar of shock as favourites-to-win* Brazil scored an own goal just 12 minutes into the opening match. Or you may have just watched your husband disappear to Brazil for 16 days in the name of finding out which country (at the moment) has got the men who are the best at kicking a ball about a bit.

In my case it’s all of the above as I am a Football Widow. More specifically I’m a World Cup Widow, but the ‘beautiful game’ can interrupt my life at any time, just more so than usual when it’s a World Cup/Euros year (every other summer then).

* I’m annoyed that through osmosis that I know this. That I know that no matter how many flags festoon pubs across the land England, in Group D, only have a 3% chance of lifting the trophy this time. That I can remember family events based on which tournament Husband was obsessed with at the time. That I would do rather well at naming host countries, winning teams and England’s progress for each of the tournaments of the past 16 years (ie as long as I’ve known Husband) in a pub quiz.

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Thanks, FIFA!

People ask if I’m annoyed that Husband justifies a magnificent holiday just for himself because there’s a match going on somewhere in the vicinity (because he doesn’t even necessarily always have a ticket – he just likes to be ‘there.’) In part, yes. Because it is incredibly self-centred. Fair enough when he was young and responsibility free. But he’s not. He’s spent thousands on this year’s trip, but we’re not having a family summer holiday (again) this year and he moaned at paying £100 for the Lollibop tickets.

Yes, because football is the justification for taking a trip to anywhere in the world, to places that I would like to visit, but he only went to because of the football. A month in Japan would have been lovely. Indeed it was – for him. I didn’t get to go on his 40th birthday trip to New York because there was a football match involved. The beaches and samba and statue of Christ the Redeemer would surely be a sight to behold, but I will probably never get to find out for myself because he will have ticked those boxes.

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Been there, done that. Tough luck, wife.

And meanwhile I’m at home, doing what I normally do, only more so – holding everything together.

Mind you, I’ll have the last laugh when Husband finds himself heading off to Qatar. Can’t say I’d fancy that one myself. He claims he won’t go, but I bet it’ll be like a moth to a flame.

But there’s never any reverse scheme either. I love dancing, but I don’t get to travel the world because of it. I don’t get a trip to Cuba to learn to salsa or to Argentina to immerse myself in tango. OK, I get to travel as far as Nottingham for a show sometimes but it’s NOT THE SAME.

It’s definitely hard not to resent the football and the excuses for husband to skip out on real life. It seems I’m not the only one though:

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And this is without even getting started on the depressing sight that is a grown man fastidiously sticking stickers into his Panini sticker album. The ridiculous nature of the plethora of envelopes that come addressed to his online pseudonym, sent by other middle-aged men collecting them the same.

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Husband claims that he’s collecting them on behalf of Noodles. But this doesn’t explain all the albums he has for the years before Noodles was even a twinkle in the eye.

Me: Noodles will be 6 at the next World Cup. Will you let him stick the stickers in then?

Husband: Yes. Of course!

And yet by the look in his eyes you could tell that actually, NO, he won’t be happy about having an album of the slap-happy sticking of a 6-year-old as opposed to his own meticulously precise alignment. It’s my bet that at the next World Cup we’ll have two albums on the go: one for Noodles and one for best.

‘How much does it take to complete a sticker album?’ was the question on Simon Mayo’s radio show the other week. About £80, if you have people to swap with, apparently, although they didn’t highlight the cost to a relationship. There is surely nothing less attractive than a man obsessing over getting his hands over a piece of paper with Ronaldo’s face on it.

And yet, despite the magnitude of Husband’s egocentrism in relation to his obsession, part of me doesn’t mind. I actually did a goal celebration-worthy little dance of my own as the door shut as he headed off on his trip. A fortnight without him around! Magnificent! Because:

• I’m happier and more relaxed when Husband’s not around.
That’s sad, but I won’t be nagged over my spending, or what I’m eating or how I take care of the children. There will be no ‘We should…’ conversations for a fortnight.

• I can’t be disappointed by him failing to do what he should have done if he’s not here to let me down.

• He won’t be under my feet glued to Facebook ‘working from home’.

• I can apply face creams, paint my nails and spray whatever I want onto myself without him moaning that he’s choking on fumes.

• I won’t discover my towel is damp on the hanger, my chocolate stash has been raided and someone has eaten my tub of olives in the fridge.

• The milk will be found in the fridge, rather than being left to curdle by the kettle.

• I have control of the remote controls.
Well, apart from Noodles’ insistence on day-long Peppa Pig. And the fact that Husband cancelled all the good channels. But still, I can watch Made in Chelsea without shame, rather than a plethora of worthy BBC Four documentaries.

I get the bed to myself.
Again, this will be scuppered by Noodles. But he sleeps better in my bed than I do in his. And he sleeps better when he’s not sleeping alone. Whatever, I’m going to sleep far better than when Husband is here.

• There’ll be no shouting at the telly as the World Cup matches are aired.
When will men realise that the players and the ref CAN’T HEAR YOU! And I DON’T CARE! So keep it to the confines of your brain. If you really need to share, turn to Twitter.

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What makes men think that they, as lay persons, would know better than all the professionals involved anyway? And if that is the case and no one knows better than the man down the pub, how can the players/managers justify their massively obscene wages? In which case people should just boycott the system and stick to Sunday morning football at the local rec. No? Unwilling to do that? Then SHUT THE F**K UP!

So, ultimately, although I resent him having his solo adventures, actually the hardest part of being a World Cup Widow will be when he’s physically present but tuned out from family life in favour of those football-chasing men on the telly.

I have a plan though, (But more of that another time.)

In the meantime I’m going to make the most of him being away. Just wish luck in 2 weeks’ time.

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14 thoughts on “Football Widow”

  1. “slap-happy sticking of a 6-year-old” – – I don’t know why but this was truly the most hilarious line for me! And also why oh why would anyone (let alone you?) covet a tub of olives in the refrigerator? I owe you a huge apology. You invited me for the nicest blog tour, wrote such a sweet description about me and I’ve not responded. Yet. I’ve been fielding some real life curve balls. And I don’t even play baseball OR football, so please don’t get revenge on me? Missed your other posts and will be catching up!
    Steph

    1. Oh, don’t worry, Steph. I hope everything is ok your end, or at the very least it all sorts itself out soon. I’m sure you’ve got the ability to knock those curve balls out of the park. And I’m there with a metaphorical giant foam finger cheering you on all the way.
      Thank you for the compliments. You are too kind (even if you are very wrong on the olives front).

  2. Hello fellow football widow. Though it’s the sons and their friends all watching it at our place and in the process eating me out of house and home that bugs me more. But having grown up in a football worshipping family I’ve never known any other way.

    Btw, you read my mind again, there’s a similar draft in my folder, lol.

    1. Ah, I hadn’t thought about future repercussions if Noodles becomes indoctrinated. Although there’s something less sad about 2 or more people shouting at the TV than just one bloke by himself.
      I may just make my excuses and leave the country for a break of my own when that point comes. Unless a sports announcer tells them that I’ve gone they’ll probably not notice anyway.

  3. Great blog- I hear you! I am current serving as an NHL widow (beard, yelling, screaming and all). I honestly wish he will move in with his fellow fanatic friends for the next two weeks.

  4. Maybe you can give him a taste of his own medicine. Next time Strictly is on you should shout at the contestants over their twirls and chassets and what-not and then swear at Len Goodman when he doesn’t rate them the way you want him to. 😀 and maybe you should go to Argentina. Not only would the country be lovely, the dancing spectacular and you’d feel glamorous to the bone, knowing you’re getting your own back would make it 5000% better 😀

    1. I sort of do do that with Strictly (when I can’t fast forward through the judges’ comments because I KNOW that I’d only be thinking the same as Craig Revel Horwood). But I tend to do it through texts to Mel, rather than out loud to the telly because I prefer to actually have some acknowledge that I’m right, as opposed to just supposing so. 😉
      As for Argentina, I’d need the same disposable income as Husband first…Unless you want to buy me a VERY flash present for my next birthday. 😉

  5. Let me just remind you that although one football-obsessed man has left the house for two weeks there’s still another.

    Who will take time off work to watch it.
    Will go round his grandparents for a probable nine hours to do it.
    All while not bothering to help with Teddy in favour of tuning out of the real world and shouting at the television.
    Will listen to football podcasts well into the night, to which he wonders why I don’t go to sleep at the same time he does.
    Will collect panini football stickers religiously. Spending more than £80 (of guess whose cash), and fawn over the players while spewing random “facts” about them (like I care) and the team and how “good” they are (surely kicking a ball around isn’t that hard! Even I can do it sometimes and I HATE it).
    … And trading cards too.
    Will write up match reviews and talk to himself like he’s a referee. And talk back to the commentators with phrases like ‘I know right’ and ‘I get what you’re saying’ so is speaking, but is actually saying nothing at all.
    And lastly, will not give a toss about how much I shout about getting priorities wrong, or the pointlessness of the damned sticker book, or the volume of the STUPID FOOTBALL PODCASTS EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

    And why does he get away with all of this? Because it’s the World Cup, that’s why.

  6. I am not particularly fond of football myself. 22 men running after a ball and then kicking it away as soon as they have it, sounds a little pointless to me. Also, they get way too much money for this. They make millions just kicking a ball around while my elementary school teacher walked around in second hand clothes because she couldn’t afford new ones.
    Will he read this story over there? Although he’s over there watching football, he’s missing out on some quality time with a great woman.

    1. Thank you, Arthur.
      I agree with you on every level. Football is pointless and also obscene in the money involved. Not to mention corrupt, if all the stuff about Qatar is true.

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