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How to talk about soccer with men

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Be patient and don't get frustrated. It's not their fault.

As the sportsy and intelligent person that you are, you are most likely aware that there's a World Cup being played in Canada right now. I know, it's Canada, but that's for another time. Anyways, you're probably one of those people who are in the habit of watching these types of sporting events with other humans -- whether with a spouse or in large/small groups of friends and fellow supporters. And in those settings, there's probably a few guys, dudes, males, boys, etc. there.

The truth is that guys see soccer differently -- their brains are not wired to understand the nuances and intricacies of the sport. Because of this, you need to be careful when watching these games with men.

For example, while you're more concerned about the tactics of the USWNT and the controversy surrounding the selection process, guys will be too busy thinking about how they look. In fact, that's pretty much the only reason they watch the games -- to salivate at the players.

See, since men's minds are not developed enough to comprehend the sport as a whole, they can only appreciate the simplest things on the surface of what they're watching, like women's appearances. And even then, it's such an overload for their brains that they can't properly function while the strip-tease thoughts race through their minds.

You have to draw a line with these men. The TV is yours during the World Cup. They won't understand the importance of sports to you and how the emotional roller coaster ride from pure unbridled joy to crippling despair at the blink of an eye is worth it. Instead, he'll want to watch some manly show like a re-run of Entourage or another episode of The Big Bang Theory. Make it clear that this is unacceptable.

Speaking of the emotional aspect, they will almost certainly try to diminish the significance of the game. Don't be too angry, men are naturally less intelligent than women and the concept will be too hard for them to grasp. So, you will hear things like "it's just a game" or "get over it," or a suggestion that your team will do better the next time. They won't understand the anger, disappointment and sadness that will be swirling inside of you when your team's defense is sliced by a perfectly weighted through-ball. Try not to break up, divorce or abandon them; they don't know better.

These males in your life will also be full of questions. There's nothing wrong with that, it's the only way to combat ignorance. Have patience with them. They will ask you the players' names, what the positions are, what the World Cup actually is and of course, the most dreaded inquiry of all: what is the offside rule and how does it work?

The truth is that only one person in the world knows that: Sian Massey-Ellis. It's admittedly a complex rule. With all the thoughts about explosions, big trucks and sex in the brain of a man, it would be too difficult to even begin to try to explain it to them. Don't get too upset with them and don't just send them to the kitchen to make you a sandwich.

There are a few more things that they won't understand. When your team concedes a penalty or a dubious foul, they won't be able to comprehend your need to see the replay. They'll assert that the decision has been made and there's no need to fret about it. They'll laugh at your keeper diving the wrong way and stand bemused at you as you break the remote when the replay clearly shows that the referee made a bad call.

They won't understand that the ref is an asshole. They'll want reasons why you believe this, they'll even suggest that you don't know the ref and that he has made calls against both teams. Innocent, naive men, the ref is always a blind bastard. Those are just the rules.

Men will also try to distract you and invite you to hang out with their loser friends on important game dates. The semi-final will be two hours away and all of a sudden he'll remind you that you promised to go and watch his stupid softball team play a meaningless game against a team that is clearly much better than them, and that you have to sit there cheering him on even though his team can barely even hit the ball. You have to make it clear from the beginning that soccer comes first. His softball team isn't going anywhere anyways.

The best way to avoid these issues would be to initially set a rule that the men can only watch the games with you if they remain silent. They are to be seen, not heard. Patience is a virtue but it can only go so far before you lash out. Once they start with their ridiculous soccer opinions, it will be hard not to look down and admonish them. Just look at some of these:

Ridiculous, but what more can you expect from men? Sports just isn't their thing.