“BALL! Get a hand on the ball!”
“Hit him hard!”
“Look at the arms on that guy!”
“Groin. Definitely, it’s his groin.”
If you think I’m checking out hunks at the local bar, my answer to you is… I wish. Instead, I’m sitting chin deep in a bowl of cheese dip while men in my living room watch other men wrestle balls from even more men in a masculine manly man game known as The Superbowl. I could take a bath, or paint my toenails, or even treat myself to cheesy romance novel, but I am a sucker for irony and snacks. This all-American Sunday night is chock full of both.
I take breaks from shoveling chips into my chomper only to scribble down quotes and other examples of ridiculousness. I giggle when I catch my dad jerk uncomfortably before high-fiving Tom. To the untrained eye, this twitch could be dismissed as a sign of the sir’s body requesting a cocktail. Poppy gets shaky when glasses get dry. Of course untrained eyes miss all the fun, and I know that pec-led pop as the all-too masculine celebration dance. Yes, grandpa (and millions of men on thousands of couches tonight) used all of his might and will to refrain from chest bumping his buddy in a joyous and remarkably graceful display of victory. I write “It’s like a handshake…for your bosom?” . As cameras scan the green turf and settle on one player patting the tush of a teammate, I jot down “It’s like a pep talk… for your bro’s bottom?” crack myself up, and accidentally draw the attention from the game-viewing crew one sofa away.
Tom: “Oh shut up. You love sports.”
Me: “Well…You’re a liar. I love puppies. I love Chuck Norris jokes. I’d even say I love this here cheese dip. Sports. I no love them long time.”
Tom: “Whatever. We always watched sports when we were dating.”
Me: “Hmmm. About that. I lied. Gosh. Not just about sports either. Remember when I was always wearing makeup and a bra and smelled like flowery perfume? Oh! And I used to cut and chew my food all dainty like! And I And I “loved” talking on the phone with your mom! Wow. I tricked you hard. Deceit Touchdown! It’s good. It’s good! It’s…hurtful? I really thought that one game we watched once was really, really, fascinating? And your mom is lovel…your mom. Does anybody want more snacks?”
Tom: Silently contemplating the false foundation of relationships while developing trust issues.
I watch his eyes dart mournfully from big screen to me and feel bad for a minute. Trying to keep up with the running and passing and sweating of his favorite team while adjusting to the thought of sharing life with a stranger has to be mentally taxing. I offer him a beer, sure this will help, and return to my evaluation of why a man’s game is so hilariously feminine.
1. Three or more of these players look like bulky Pantene Pro V models.
2. Sweatpants. Sweatpants and boxers are dudely ensembles. But tights? Shimmery metallic tights?
3. The difference between football spikes and stilettos? 3 inches, but equally sassy.
4. I’m told a player just jumped to intercept a pass. It looked like a grand jete. Swan Lake with grass stains.
5. Quarterbacks gets pissy when bitches be touching their head. True to girl fight rules of old, you never mess with a sister’s hair or face.
6. Referees respect fashion law and opt for slimming vertical stripes. Horizontal stripes make a girl look hippy.
7. From my vast knowledge of athletics, I can assure you that one team will win while the other loses. The losing ladies will weep to one another like the somber sorority house after a sad episode of Grey’s Anatomy. He just wants to be loved, Meredith!
8. When a player is injured a swarm of concerned staff wearing fanny packs mothers the poor thing. I’ve never broken a knee, but I have pushed a ten-pound human through a pee hole, and it wasn’t that big of a deal. As a hoarse-voiced nurse named Georgia once taught me, you pass that broad an ice pack and get on with it.
9. Football players have perfected what I like to call the Big Lip Face. When charged with a penalty or receiving an unsavory call on the field, these grown men stick a bottom lip out to kingdom come and pout like a diapered champion. The only other humans capable of this defiantly displeased look are two-year-olds… denied of treats…while pooping themselves. Rumor has it the Patriot’s staff stock various wipes and candies in aforementioned fanny packs. Lemon drops for linebackers, while wide receivers prefer watermelon Jolly Ranchers.
10. Women are mostly oblivious to the happenings and goings-on on the grid iron. I am no exception, and have spent many a misinformed minute assuming that the words being barked and hiked and hollered by quarterbacks and coaches alike were some official sporty mumbo jumbo about plays and passes and such. After reading three pages of a bargain-bin book I found on lip-reading (originally purchased to spy on my neighbors and prove they are serial killers) the secret is out. These girls know how to gossip while wearing mouth guards. What for ages we’ve misheard as “Down. Set. Hut” is truly Eli Manning talking trash about that “clown faced slut” of an opposing tackle. Also according to my mouth-watching ability, my neighbors are cooking meth. I think all that meth makes them say weird things like “Banana Drop Kick Lobster” and “Smorgasbord Jesus”. On second thought, they look totally respectable, and I’m starting to think I’ve wasted $2.50 on a bogus book.
#1 million seventeen half: Teammates gather and enjoy spirited chanting before the game. I once clapped my varsity cheerleading squad to claiming the Top Banana award at camp. I dig a little spirit-finger singing. So do teenage girls in pig tails world-wide.
Other ladylike mentions:
Eye Black Stickers: This one time my friend, Betsy, and I put temporary tattoos on our precious little girl cheeks. I’m willing to bet our half-heart shaped BFF face decals were more hardcore, gentlemen.
Crop Tops: Listen, I can understand loving a little breeze on your giant, burly midriff. It’s like nature giving your belly button a kiss. Be they for practice or for sassy fashion statement, there’s nothing manly about wearing half a shirt.
I’m stirred from this blog post by the whopping hoots and fist pumps booming from the couch. The game clock ticks down. I eat another pound of Chex Mix. Grandpa makes some comment about grabbing balls and suppresses the urge to chest bump me or the toddler or the dog. Tom spends commercial breaks reminiscing about that time I used to not eat a pound of Chex Mix.
A teaser for Madonna’s half-time performance scrolls across the screen. I laugh at this newest irony (Madonna is the manliest man in that testosterone-packed arena), and for a moment I am interested in the Superbowl. Will she flex her guns or won’t she? How disgustingly cool would it be if she could make her pecs jump to the beat of “Material Girl”? Will anyone ever tell her she’s not British? Or that she’s a lady? Probably not, I conclude. I’ve heard her stone cold stare can turn grown men into girly, crying titty babies.
If this look at America’s most masculine institution is any indication, sometimes that’s not so much of a feat.