Do men really love women who love sports? Yes!
Or so the big, fat liars say.
Exhibit A: An e-mail pops into my box a couple of weeks ago. Don’t take this the wrong way, the guy said, but chicks should leave guys alone with their sports.
“Guys I know use sports as an escape from the outside world,” he writes. “Women have their escapes, and very few men wish to join in those activities (makeup, clothes, shopping). Let us have our escape, as long as it isn’t criminal.”
Exhibit B: I’m standing in front of a TV in a bar outside of Chicago. It’s the first round of the NBA playoffs. A guy to my left speaks up. “Who you rooting for?”
I shrug. “Nuggets, I guess. I like Andre Miller. And I don’t like Sam Cassell.”
“No one likes Sam Cassell.”
“True,” I say, laughing. “Who won the early game?”
“Bucks. Michael Redd scored 40.”
“Wow. The first round’s been pretty good this year. Usually it sucks.” He’s impressed. “You know about basketball, huh?”
Another guy farther down the bar jumps in and starts chatting me up about the Lakers-Suns series. “You’re, like, my dream girl,” he said after a few minutes. “I have Bulls tickets for tomorrow. You want to go?”
And they say women can’t make up their minds. Please. Guys like a girl who is a sports fan. Or they don’t. Or they do, as long as she doesn’t look, you know, too butch. Or as long as their buddies all have other places to be during Game 114 of the Cubs’ annual calamity tour and it will keep them from watching a night of Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy. Or as long as she doesn’t know more than they do about sports – unless, that is, she can help them win their fantasy league. Then she can know more. As long as she doesn’t tell the other guys in the league because what’s more embarrassing than your girlfriend spotting Chris Shelton’s upside before you do?
Confused yet? Yeah, no joke. I once dated a guy who was a kinda sports fan. He kinda liked hockey, he kinda got into college football, he kinda played baseball (well, OK, slow-pitch softball). His kinda girlfriend – me – upped his sports cred like nothing else.
He loved showing me off to his friends. “She knows all about sports – ask her anything,” he’d say, proffering me like a shiny new sports car. And their faces would light up and they’d start talking to me about the N.L. East and Kobe Bryant and tell my boyfriend how lucky he was to have such a cool girlfriend.
Flush with his studliness, he totally agreed – until his friends started planning boys nights out to watch the game and wanted Trish to come, too. Then it wasn’t so cool. It would have been much cooler to have a girlfriend who was watching the Food Network and practicing making crepes instead of watching ESPN and practicing making free throws with his two buddies.
Yet guys still insist they love a girl who knows a zone defense from a Zone diet. Trust me – I asked them. A lot of them. But there seems to be a fine line there, the line between knowing enough and knowing too much. One guy at work helpfully broke it down: “I’ll explain what an infield fly rule is. But I don’t want to have to explain why the guy is walking to first after four pitches.”
I imagine the female equivalent goes something like this: “I want my boyfriend to look good, but I don’t want him using my flat iron and $90 eye cream to do it.”
In other words, knowing the basics – good thing. Anything beyond that, you’re venturing into dangerous territory.
Listen, times have changed. The days of women keeping busy in the kitchen while the menfolk gather around to watch pigskin are over. The lines are blurred. Men use moisturizer – whether it’s their girlfriend’s or not – and women can shoot a basketball. Girls like a guy with soft skin. Shouldn’t guys like a girl with a soft jumper?
Some of them do. As one guy said when told of Mr. Exhibit A’s argument, “I like going shopping and watching sports. Can’t you like to do both?”
Now that, my friends, is an enlightened man.