Friday, June 11, 2010

Footballnormativity

Back from work in Belfast. My plane home was delayed by four hours. "You should have walked home" said my Dad.

I spent far too much time in taxis while I was there. Being anti-social, I always try and strike a balance with taxi drivers between friendly enough so that they don't hate you and unfriendly enough so that they don't try to talk to you the entire journey about stuff they are interested in. I can have such conversations, but they are rather draining and afterwards I feel like a lie down.

However, I got it wrong with one taxi driver, and he mistook me as a social rather than an anti-social. The conversation quickly went downhill (at least for me - he was having a great time). At one point he said "Ah, I bet your wife hates that!" This is an example of what queer theory calls "heteronormativity" - the universal assumption that everyone is heterosexual. I just grunted.

But before that he did something even worse than heteronormativity. He started talking to me about football - and not even in a tentative "do you mind if I bring this up" way, but in a way that immediately assumed that I knew everything about football, that I must divest at least a couple of hours a day to keeping up with the outcomes and highlights of all the different matches going on, along with the movement of all the different players and managers around the world. Again, I just grunted and made some general comments, as if I was early Artificial Intelligence computer program ELIZA.

But what I really wanted to say was "I wish you wouldn't assume that every man who gets in your taxi likes football. I think it's the most boring subject on the entire planet. Guess what - not everyone is exactly the same as you. Now let us continue this journey in silence."

This isn't an isolated incident. It happens several times a year with men I have just met. It would probably happen more if I wasn't as antisocial. So I've coined a new word for it - footballnormativity.

Enjoy your World Cup you normals. Gah!

2 comments:

Old Cheeser said...

I'm totally with you on this. As one of my fellow blogger said: "Footie fans - you can shove the World Cup up your arse!" Mind you, that could be pleasurable experience, if you're into that kind of thing...

Lost Boy said...

Even people who know I am 'in the gays' and don't have an interest in football ask if I'm following the World Cup. NO. 'But it's the World Cup; everyone watches that.' NO.