Susie Rushton: Now for male bonding, part 2

Share
Related Topics

Right. That's the election done. The next round-the-clock, fully tweeted, heart-stopping silly season event to hit the nation will soon be upon us, and it too will be a largely male affair. But that doesn't mean that the half-interested girl (or guy, for that matter) has any excuse for being uninformed, and with a month to go before the first game I've actually found myself looking forward to the World Cup.

I don't pretend to be on top of the details, or even who all the players are in Fabio Capello's initial selection (am I supposed to have heard of Leighton Baines? Of Michael Dawson?). It's the stuff around the edges of this carnival of testosterone that keeps the fairweather four-yearly spectators like me engrossed. So here's the half-interested girl's guide to the big event...

England manager backlash: Excitingly, after a controlled beginning, Capello this week dropped the ball, allowing the sports press to let loose. His crime? Launching an online scoreboard called the "Capello Index" that would rate players directly after the game. Fab saw a money-making venture; everybody else condemned it as divisive. A few more "blunders" and we'll be in Turnip Head territory.

Wags: Initially, Fabio banned players' wives and girlfriends from the England training camp, charmingly calling them "a virus", threatening to deprive us of the pap-shots of competitive handbag-jousting last seen in Baden-Baden in 2006. The presence of Abbey, Carly, Coleen et al threatened to undermine Fab's prescription of "ping-pong, looking at the TV and reading books" for the players during downtime. Thankfully, he has relented. This year, watch out for the Swags (Super-wags), a new variant who were famous before they started bedding a footballer.

Injuries: Players may look muscular and draw a fine salary to keep their bodies fit and strong, yet it's remarkable how delicate these poor lambs are. A "turned ankle" that your grandmother would dismiss can, for these men, escalate into a melodrama to make Giuseppe Verdi blush. At the World Cup, the more useful the player, the more likely it is he will be poleaxed by such a scrape.

England fans: Aren't as entertaining as they used to be. Expect high praise all round for St George's Cross-painted fans who show remarkable restraint as they sit through several games of football without "going on a rampage".

Gary Lineker: The crisp-hawking, oleaginous, spray-tan abuser will be all over your television for a month, as the BBC's anchor for the event. How is it that one can feel violated just by looking into his eyes? Escape to Adrian Chiles on ITV.

Best-looking teams: It's early days, but going by past performance in this category, I'll be closely watching France, Argentina and Algeria. England don't have a hope.

Scottish friends: The World Cup can be a very connective time, when one finds oneself talking about sport with complete strangers. Before discussing any of the above, just check your interlocutor isn't from north of the border – they really couldn't care less.

Penalties: Is there any moment of agony more sweet than watching a sweaty man in an England shirt nervously jogging up to a stationary ball? There is not. To keep spectators in this heightened state, our players make sure to never, ever practise taking penalties beforehand. Penalties are also the reliable exit point for England's progress through the contest, when I summarily switch support to a team of more handsome men (see above). As I said, I don't let myself get bogged down in details.

It wasn't supposed to be like this

A Tory PM – voted for by me? It wasn't supposed to turn out like this. On Tuesday night I slumped on the sofa watching David Cameron glide into 10 Downing Street to take the job he has believed to be rightfully his from childhood, if we take the word of friends who report that his nickname was "Prime Minister".

Yesterday I watched him make an oddly romantic speech with his new deputy, Nick Clegg, as birds chirruped at an outdoor press conference. And I felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders.

To my regret, the Lib Dems managed to inveigle a vote from me last Thursday. Little did I know I was forfeiting my right to cat-call a Conservative premier for an entire term. In my defence can I plead that my head was turned by a feisty female candidate in a yellow rosette who, while she didn't have a hope of winning the seat, seemed to represent a spirit that I liked. I'll also admit I was impressed by Clegg's performance in the debates, agreed with his amnesty for immigrants, his party's plan to break up the big banks, along with a few other policies somewhere to the left of the Labour manifesto.

Perhaps I wanted to give Labour a chance to regroup. Instead I may now have to spend five years living under a Tory PM that I, however inadvertently, helped bring to power.

You've been framed

Who knows if it is true that the Queen's parting gift to Gordon Brown was a picture frame from Smythson, the posh stationery shop of which Samantha Cameron is creative director? In any case now Sam's in the role of First Lady, heads of state around the globe can also expect to be receiving girlie pink passport holders in finest calfskin, or gilt-edged "cellar notes" books on official visits from the British PM from now on. Smythson products, in my experience, have a rich sheen and are very expensive but turn out to be quite useless on a day-to-day basis. He won't want to, but it'd be quite fitting if Gordon put a picture of Dave in his new picture frame.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

 

Political satire is funny, but it also causes cynicism and apathy

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch