Tuesday 2 July

8st 12 (vg); alcohol units 5 (bad); Instants 5 (bad but completely understandable)

Hideous week. Only last Wednesday all seemed full of national promise - Jude, Shazzer and I decided to have football's coming home party for semi-final. Tom was going to come as honorary girl but then had to work and made me promise to give full match report. Had minor crisis walking to Jude's, as had to go, past v. high spirited workmen singing "Football's Coming Home". Got in flap about what to do if they whistled, only to find self completely ignored. Tried desperately to tell self workmen have been on feminism awareness course, but could not help feeling crestfallen and unattractive whilst obviously relieved.

Reminded me of when was 15 and walking along lonely backstreet into town and man started following me then grabbed my arm. Turned to look at attacker in alarm. At time was v. thin in tight jeans. Also, however, had winged spectacles and brace on teeth. Man took one look at my face and ran off.

On arrival, confided feelings re workmen to Jude and Sharon. "That's the whole point, Bridget." Shazzer exploded. "These men are treating women as objects, as if our only function is physical attractiveness. That's exactly why the whole thing is so objectionable. Now come on we're supposed, to be watching the match."

"Mmm. They've got lovely big thighs, haven't they?" said Jude.

"Mmmm." I agreed, though did point out that the thighs, though attractive, are also alarming, since one always clings to idea that if one exercised sufficiently would have beautiful thin thighs, but footballers are walking embodiment of fact that this is not true. Was watching interested, enjoying feeling as if part of great national movement, when Desmond Lynham mentioned something about Turkey. "I knew someone who slept with a Turk once," said Jude. "And he had a thingy that was so enormous that he couldn't sleep with anyone."

"What? I thought you said she slept with him," said Shazzer, keeping one eye on the television.

"She slept with him but she didn't do it," explained Jude.

"Because she couldn't because his thing was too big," I said, supportively of Jude's anecdote. "What a terrible thing. Do you think it goes by nationality? I mean do you think the Turks ..."

"Look, shut up," said Shazzer.

For a while we watched in silence, thinking back to games of different nationalities in the past. But then Jude, who seemed to have become rather fixated for some reason, piped up: "It must be very weird having a penis."

I agreed. "Very weird to have an active appendix. If I had one I would think about it all the time."

"Well yes, you'd worry about what it would do next." said Jude.

"Well, exactly," I agreed. "You might suddenly get a gigantic erection in the middle of the Euro Cup semi final."

"Shut up," snapped Shazzer through clenched teeth.

For a few moments, Jude and I fell silent imagining the many penises tucked neatly into shorts as the men ran up and down and wondering what they were up to.

"You know, I think the reason men like football so much is that they are actually rather lazy," said Jude, "but they like to feel that they have achieved a great deal and have a huge fuss made about it."

"Well, that's right," I agreed. "Football fits their requirements perfectly, since they feel that by supporting their chosen on-field representatives, they have somehow, in a mysterious way, won the match themselves."

"Oh, for God's sake!" yelled Sharon.

Next thing we decided we were hungry and had better get our food. Unfortunately, by the time we came back in with it, the game appeared to be over, nil- nil.

"You know, that's very symptomatic of the modem world," said Jude.

"Mmm. It's like hatchback cars." I agreed, "Everything is so streamlined and market-researched that there's nothing to choose between them any more."

"I don't like the name 'golden goals'," said Jude. "It sounds rude."

"What's rude about golden goals?" I asked.

"Well you know ..." said Jude.

"What?" I said. "What?"

"Look, will you two shut up!" exploded Sharon.

"Golden showers," whispered Jude.

"What?" I said.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up," yelled Sharon. "Look, you're missing the penalty shoot-out."

It was all a very bad business and ended up with Shazzer going off in a huff. It wasn't just Jude and I that had annoyed her, I think. It was the result. While realising xenophobia is quite wrong, really, have no time whatsoever for the Germans, with their refusal to queue, liking for sauerkraut, sausages, and other unappetising food, and insistence on dominating us, with the War still fresh in many people's memories.

Next thing Tom rang. "What happened?" he said excitedly.

"Germany won," I elucidated him.

"I know Germany won, but what happened," he said.

"On penalties," I added, defensively.

"Yes, I know they won on penalties, but what happened in the match?"

"Um ..." I said, doubtfully.

"You did watch it, didn't you?"

"Yes, of course. Football's coming home, it's coming ..."

"You didn't watch it, did you?"

"We did."

"So why don't you know what happened then? I don't believe you."

"We did. but we were ..."

"What?"

"Talking," I finished, lamely.

Next, had to walk home and discovered workmen had decamped to outside pub. Put nose in air and decided did not care whether they whistled or not but, just as walked past, was huge cacophony of appreciative noises. Turned round, pleased to give them a filthy look only to find they were all looking the other way and one of them had just thrown a brick through the window of a Volkswagen.

Comments