Until a few months ago, Manchester was just a drab, cold airport I was stuck at, having missed my return flight from Paris to London. Today, Manchester United (Man U, for the afflicted) is a looming presence in my life—usually something that competes for my time with my object of affection—and wins!
I guess it is one of those functional disorders of dating an alpha male (and enough has been written, some by me, about the lack of them in this universe).
Although, by his own classification, the beau is a simple guy with minimal obsessions —Kingfisher beer, XL t-shirts, mutton do pyaza, Final Fantasy II and Manchester United (not necessarily in that order), it isn’t really as simple as that.
I sense the first alarming signs when “watching a Man U match” is deftly planted as one of those ‘fun things’ you can do when you are together.
Ok, I can deal with 90 minutes of testosterone overdrive, I tell myself. I have no idea what I am walking into.
Next, weird things happen. I leave restaurants with my bladder full (on my own accord) just so that the significant other can catch a few more minutes of the game. I apologise for not carrying football listings in my paper. I scream, “Die Chelsea, die! ” or worse, “Glory, glory, Manchester United” at the TV with the passion of a soccer (sorry, football) fan. I find myself looking at sports pages to find out when the next match is, wondering when one could really have quality time with the beau. Turns out, they are always playing, even if they lose. I don’t get it. (He does try to explain the complicated logic of the whole thing—what was that again?)
I soon resign myself to the fact that Man U will always have to be factored into our lives, and any rendezvous (or lack thereof) would depend on whether or not Man U was playing that night.
I find myself in a strange place. I try to get us to watch Fever Pitch (superb adaptation of Nick Hornby’s classic) in the hope that Drew Barrymore would speak my mind to Jimmy Fallon, and the message would get across. But the americanisation of football (book) to baseball(movie) doesn’t quite work in my favour. And then the power goes off, and that’s a sign, I think..
So then, I go on this spree of knowing my enemy. A few days ago, I solitarily watch the whole game of AC Milan Vs Man U (he misses it, and is peeved at being suspended 30000 feet up above during the ‘biggest game of the season’). With much trepidation, I text him the score. I write, “We lost”.
We? I used the royal ‘we’ for Manchester United? Me, who has never subscribed to the collective pronoun? I need to see a shrink.
Anyway, I am ensconced in the glory (!) that since the “biggest match of the season” is over, life will be back to normal. Little do I know that every match is the “biggest match of the season.”
May be I’ll turn into one of those people who writes letters to agony aunts saying, “I lost my man to another man… make that eleven men..”