Monday, July 5, 2010
Saturday was my mate Paul’s 40th. Poor bastard. His face mirrored the conflict clearly tug-of-warring inside his head. “Christ, I’m turning 40… It’s OK, it’s not that old. You’re a man on top of your game…. Christ I’m turning 40…It’s OK, it’s not that old…etc”
I know this because I had the same look on my face when I turned 40. Look at the photies and it’s as clears as day. Actually most days it’s still on my face. Anyway, besides the fact that were both now in our 40s, Paul and I have few other things in common.
One, we’re both keen mountain bikers (except he’s really good), we both have an affinity for alt.country/new folk music (I remain for ever grateful for the introduction to Midlake and Fleet Foxes), and our spouses are both artists. In fact they share a studio.
So there we all were at Speedway Café celebrating Paul’s birthday. Even though I’m a sports writer by trade, I only had half an eye on the soccer (it was the Ghana-Uruguay quarterfinal). Mostly I was talking to my mates, many of whom I don’t see as often as I should.
When Diego Forlan scored his great free kick, us guys were like “wow, impressive goal… you know I still haven’t heard the new Wilco album, pass the peanuts.” Suddenly though, my attention was caught by the conversation behind me. It was a knot of woman – the wives and partners of us men folk. And they were talking animatedly about the football. And one of them was my wife.
Cue textbook double take.
In a more subtle kind of way, I leaned in closer. Was the FIFA World Cup’s influence so great that the majesty of football had finally become a topic of interest to these women? And remember, these women weren’t just any women. These women are the stylish, arty, highly intelligent types. The types who us blokes still can’t believe find us dufuses (dufi?) attractive. These are the same women who usually don’t give sport the time of day, and only allow us to watch so much of it as an act of benevolent indulgence.
And what were they talking about?
*Woman 1: “Another great goal by Diego.”
**Woman 2: “Yes, isn't he so talented... and so strangely attractive.”
***Woman 3: “Hmm yes. Strangely attractive.”
Suddenly I’m not enjoying the football so much any more. Nor feeling any better about being 40.
*, ** & *** In the interests of self preservation, not even North Korean noodle torture would make me divulge actual names.